"Stellar Church WordPress Theme"
— ChurchMag What They Say

Translation

Our themes and plugins are fully localized and ready for translation into another language. You can create a file that contains translated text to show the visitor instead of English. You may even find that a translation is already available for your language.

Available Translations

Some of our themes include translations contributed by other users. See Specific Themes or look in the translations folder to find out if your theme has any translations available. The Church Theme Content plugin has also been translated into several languages.

If there is no translation available in your language, continue reading to learn how to make a translation. Please consider contributing your finished work for other users to use.

WordPress in Your Language

The first step is to translate WordPress itself. Fortunately, there are many pre-made translations available for WordPress. Go to Settings > General and see the available languages under Site Language. Selecting a language will cause it to be automatically installed.

See Installing WordPress in Your Language for manual installation and additional details.

Translating the Theme

First make sure you have completed “WordPress in Your Language” as described above.

Preparing for Translation

  1. Install Poedit on your computer.
  2. Go to Preferences then Editor and make sure “Automatically compile .mo file on save” is checked.
  3. Make a copy of the languages/{theme}.pot file found in the theme ({theme} would be the name of the theme without brackets).
  4. Rename it to {theme}-{locale}.po (without the “t” which stands for template).

In the last step, {locale} would be something like pt_BR where pt represents the language Portuguese and BR is the country code for Brazil. For example, resurrect-pt_BR.po would be for translating the Resurrect theme into Brazilian Portuguese. This locale should also be an exact match of the locale of the translation you used in when following WordPress in Your Language (locales are listed here).

Making the Translation

The goal is to translate phrases then generate a .mo file for WordPress to use.

  1. Open your {theme}-{locale}.po file in Poedit.
  2. Go to Catalog Properties then choose your language and country (e.g. “Portuguese (Brazil)”).
  3. Click a phrase then enter its translation at the bottom.
  4. Repeat for other phrases.
  5. Go to FileSave.
  6. {theme}-{locale}.po was saved and {theme}-{locale}.mo was generated.

{theme}-{locale}.mo is the compiled translation file that WordPress will read. {theme}-{locale}.po is what you can edit again in the future to make more translations in order to generate an updated .mo file.

Tips

  • Use CTRL-F (Windows) or Command-F (Mac) to search for specific text to translate.

Activating the Translation

  1. Upload your .mo file to wp-content/languages/themes (make it if it doesn’t exist).
  2. Go to Settings > General and set Site Language.

Notes

  • The translation is stored outside of the theme (don’t store it in the languages folder of the theme) so the theme can be updated without your translation being lost.
  • You may also want to upload your .po file to the same directory for safe keeping.

You did it! Now consider contributing it for other churches to use. We have some rewards for you.

Translating a Plugin

Translating a plugin is similar to translating a theme, but there are some differences. There is also a difference in how you can translate a free plugin hosted on WordPress.org versus the paid plugins downloaded from our website. When you’re done, please consider contributing your translation for other churches to use. We have some rewards for you.

Free Plugins (WordPress.org)

The Church Theme Content plugin is hosted on WordPress.org, so you can translate it via translate.wordpress.org. The translation (also called a language pack) will be downloaded to a user’s WordPress installation when they choose the language in Settings > General. This will only happen if the translation on WordPress.org is 100% complete so if you make an almost-complete translation, you can send it to us and we’ll included it directly in the plugin so users can take advantage of it.

To learn how to make a translation using this system, see the Translator Handbook.

Paid plugins cannot be hosted on WordPress.org, so translate.wordpress.org cannot be used to manage their translations like it can for our free Church Theme Content plugin. Instead, the translation must be made using software on your computer and the language files must be stored either in the plugin itself (if we are sharing it with other churches) or in a directory in your WordPress installation (while you are making it or if it is a private translation).

A translation in your language may already be included with a plugin. For our plugins, go to Plugin Guides then click on a plugin to see which translations exist. If a translation is available for your language, it will work automatically when your WordPress site is configured to use that language (see above). Otherwise, you can make a new translation of the plugin in the same way you made the theme’s translation (see above), but with these differences:

  • Name the files plugin-directory-name-{locale}.po and .mo. For example, the Custom Recurring Events plugin’s directory name is ctc-custom-recurring-events (inside of wp-content/plugins) so you would name your .po file ctc-custom-recurring-events-pt_BR.po for a Brazilian Portuguese translation.
  • Upload the .mo file to wp-content/languages/plugins (instead of themes)

Troubleshooting

Check these things if a translation is not taking effect.

  • Make sure you set your language and country in CatalogProperties in Poedit before saving
  • Make sure the .mo file exists in the correct location (wp-content/languages/themes or wp-content/languages/plugins)
  • Make sure the .mo file is named correctly: {theme}-{locale}.mo (check spelling, locale format — see Preparing for Translation)
  • Make sure Site Language is set in Settings > General.
  • Make sure the language/country used in the name of your .mo file matches Site Language in Settings > General.
  • Make sure your translations were actually saved (check the .po file) before uploading.

Contributing Your Translation

Please consider contributing your theme or plugin translation. You’ll be helping other churches that speak your same language — plus we have some rewards for you. See the Translation Incentive Program for information.

Multilingual Translation

WordPress supports single language sites out of the box, which is what this guide is for. If you want to show your content in multiple languages with the user being able to switch between languages, try a plugin like Polylang or WPML (free for nonprofits). There is no official support for these plugins with our themes but we have not had reports of major issues. You may need to use a child theme to insert a language switcher and make other adjustments depending on your needs.

Common Questions

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