For quite some time we've used the Codestyling Localization plugin to translate themes and plugins in WordPress. This plugin was convenient to use and made translating WordPress themes easy, but unfortunately the plugin has not been updated for a very long time and was eventually removed from the official WordPress Plugin Directory. While searching for good alternatives to Codestyling Localization, we've found a translation plugin, which is great for theme translation: Loco Translate.
Why we used the Codestyling Localization plugin
We heavily used the Codestyling Localization plugin to translate, create and update the language files of our WordPress themes to offer translations for some languages out of the box. The plugin provided a nice overview of the available translation files in the WordPress dashboard and it was easy to update the particular translations for each WordPress theme. You could thus manage and translate your language files in a very convenient and well-organized way.
As Codestyling Localization was not updated for a long time and is no longer available, we have been looking for an alternative plugin which provides the same or at least similar functionality to translate our WordPress themes. The only similar and well-working plugin we've found is Loco Translate, which basically offers the same functionality and more – but without any major issues so far.
Loco Translate an equivalent substitution
We've tried a couple of other plugins and tools for translating WordPress themes, but the only real alternative which comes close to what we're looking for, is Loco Translate, because – just like Codestyling Localization – it lets you manage your language files directly within your WordPress dashboard; and all technical aspects are taken care of so you don't need to access theme files directly to create, re-name, update or upload language files.
Loco Translate is thus perfect to translate localized strings within WordPress themes and plugins. The Loco Translate plugin is available for free through the WordPress dashboard and after installation and activation, the plugin will display all available language files of your WordPress themes and / or plugins. You can then start creating new language files, update existing ones or else.
You can further make use of the plugin options and manage all of your language files within your WordPress dashboard. So far, Loco Translate works great for us and it has received many positive reviews from users – we hope the plugin developers keep up the good work.
The only issue we've found is that Loco Translate doesn't differentiate between WordPress themes based on the theme slug, but the theme name instead. That means if you've installed different versions of the same theme with different theme slugs, you'll run into issues. In that case you need to change the theme name within the stylesheet of the themes so that Loco Translate can differentiate between the themes.
What about other translation plugins for WordPress?
While looking for an alternative to Codestyling Localization, we experienced that reliable WordPress plugins to translate themes and plugins are very rare and thus pretty hard to find. In case you are using one of our WordPress themes, for some (e.g. MH Magazine) we've already included language files for the most common languages, but in case your language is not included or if you detect spelling mistakes or wrong wording, then you can make use of suitable translation plugins to create new language files or update existing ones and translate the theme based on your requirements.
Dependent on your needs you can find plugins to translate WordPress themes, plugins and content in the official WordPress Plugin Directory. However, some plugins are only specialized in translating strings from WordPress themes and plugins, and not meaning to translate your content. Other plugins can be used to create multi-lingual websites (and sometimes translate themes and plugins as well) to let users switch between different languages on your website.
Weglot Translate to translate website content
When it comes to multi-lingual websites, the most popular and well-known plugins certainly are WPML, Polylang or qTranslate. However, while researching we found another interesting plugin, Weglot Translate. We haven't thoroughly tested the plugin, but it seems the Weglot Translate plugin is very useful to translate theme and plugin strings as well, but also other website content, like pages and posts in order to create multi-lingual websites with a language switch button. Your website content will be translated automatically and you can edit these translations through your Weglot Translate account to make the necessary changes.
As opposed to Loco Translate where the aim is to translate theme and plugin language files only, Weglot Translate is more suitable for those who plan to create multi-lingual websites. You can use the available languages to have all or most of your website content translated and the plugin also offers buttons to switch between languages accordingly. If your website does not contain more than 2000 words, you can use Weglot Translate for free or you can start a trial if you like.
Next to Loco Translate and Weglot Translate, there are however a couple of more free and freemium plugins listed in the WordPress Plugin Directory which can be used to translate themes and plugins, create multi-lingual websites or both. When you opt in for a certain plugin, make sure it is being updated on a regular basis and has a couple of good reviews as that's always a positive sign.
Are you using a translation plugin at the moment – which one did you choose and how is your experience? Feel free to leave a comment to share your thoughts.