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:
- GNU gettext utilities
- i18n: Preparing Your WordPress Theme for the World
- Samuel “Otto” Wood: On Internationalization: Plugins and Themes for the Whole World
- Use wp_localize_script, It Is Awesome
- Zé Fontainhas: Lost in Translation—i18n and WordPress
- Internationalization: You’re Probably Doing It Wrong
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.