WordPress Themes Directory Now Requires All Themes to be Translation-Ready

photo credit: . Entrer dans le rêve - cc
photo credit: . Entrer dans le rêvecc

WordPress made great strides in 2014 towards improving internationalization for the global community. WordPress 4.0 streamlined language management in the admin and brought language selection to the installation process.

In the State of the Word address this year, Matt Mullenweg highlighted the importance of internationalization to the project when he said, “If WordPress is going to be truly global, truly inclusive, it has to be fully available for other languages.” He also announced that fully localized plugin and theme directories will be available in the admin as of 4.1.

This week the WordPress Theme Review Team updated its guidelines to require all new theme submissions to be translation-ready. Theme authors submitting new themes to the official directory must ensure that all text strings are translatable. This also applies to any updates to existing themes.

Tips for Making Your Theme Translation-Ready

The WordPress Theme Review Handbook doesn’t yet contain a section with information about preparing themes for translation. However, you can find all the basics on how to internationalize a theme in the WordPress Theme Developer Handbook, which is still a work in progress.

The internationalization section also links to a number of videos and tutorials in its resources section. Many of these will be helpful in walking theme developers through the process of preparing themes for translation:

If a WordPress theme isn’t translatable, then the site it is running on is limited to the theme author’s language. If you invest your time and hard work into creating a WordPress theme, why not make sure that it’s able to be used all over the world?

The new requirement from the Theme Review team is a major milestone in expanding WordPress’ global reach. The official themes directory is often the first place that self-hosted WordPress users look when shopping for themes. The new translation-ready requirement will help ensure that WordPress.org’s vast library of themes are ready for global use.


8 responses to “WordPress Themes Directory Now Requires All Themes to be Translation-Ready”

    • Yeah I agree, I think that perhaps accessibility ready is harder than translation ready but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a serious concern.

      Regarding the topic, I’m from Argentina and I’ve struggled translating some themes and I’ve seen many of them with poorly written english (even I can notice that) so this announcement is necessary.

    • I’m a big fan of making themes accessible. I believe it’s a huge part of the future of Web design and would love to see most themes on the repo handle their end of it. This has been an area of great focus for me over the past few months.

      However, as an admin of TRT, full compliance with our current accessibility guidelines is something I’d fight to **not** make a requirement.

      Unfortunately, making a theme accessible can sometimes mean not respecting a designer’s artistic vision. This is particularly an issue with color contrasts. Anything that would hinder design decisions like this is not something I would support. That’s beyond the scope of what TRT’s role is.

      With all that said, we’re a long ways from this being a realistic discussion. We’re still dealing with basic issues. Not to mention, the majority of our reviewers wouldn’t be able to review such themes. Requiring accessibility-ready themes would be such a huge barrier to entry for new theme authors that it’d be detrimental to the system.


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