How to Change the Default Language in WordPress

By default, WordPress is presented in U.S. English. But you can change that if you’d prefer another language.

There are two ways you could go about this: either doing it manually or using a plugin. We’ll take a look at both ways.

First up – using a plugin.

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Translate WordPress with a Plugin

The WP Native Dashboard plugin is a very convenient plugin for changing the default language of WordPress.

Not only will it allow you to change the language, it will allow you to easily switch between numerous languages in the bat of an eye.
Let’s get into how to set this plugin up.

First you will need to load up possible download packs.

download-packet-info

When that’s done, you should then see all the different possible language packs.

language-packs

From there, you will still need to download the specific languages you want. Just click the download link.

Once downloaded, the language will show up in your “Installed Languages” section.

installed-languages

From there, you will see a dropdown of language choices in the upper-left corner.

available-languages

Simply choose your language, and everything gets translated in a second.

translated

It’s as easy as that.

Manual Installation of Language Files

First you’ll need to get the language pack of the language you want. You can do that here.

For some languages, you will need to download the .mo language file. For other languages, a complete version of WordPress is available, and you will need to download that.

If you don’t want to manually install a complete version, you can dig into the files and simply upload the languages folder to your site. Or you can dig into  /wp-content/languages folder and get the .mo language files.

If you are working with individual .mo language files, you’ll need to make a new languages folder in your /wp-content or /wp-includes directory (note: that’s either one), and place that file there.

Once you have that file uploaded, you’ll need to go to the root of your installation and find your wp-config.php file. In that file, search for the following line:

define ('WPLANG', '');

Add the language to that line between the two quotation marks. The end of the file name will tell you the abbreviation you need to put in.

In my example, I’m installing a Spanish language pack from Spain. I look at my file, and I see the following:

file-name

And so I put the “es_ES” in the line mentioned above so that it looks like this.

define ('WPLANG', 'es_ES');

The first two letters tell you the language (“es” in this case stands for español) and the last two letters tell you which version of Spanish. In this case, it’s Spanish from Spain (España), and so there’s and “ES” there. If we were to install the Spanish language pack from Peru, the abbreviation would be “es_PE”.

You may also find .po files to download. These files allow you to add to or customize the translations.

And that’s it.

WordPress Translations

If you’re interested in learning more about translating WordPress, you can do that here.

photo credit: Max Klingensmith