Translate WordPress Dashboard

I’ve come across a number of sites which publish their content in English, but the maintenance of the site is done by someone who speaks and reads a different language.

In this post I’m going to show you how to translate the dashboard of your WordPress website.

There Are Two Way To Do This

There are two ways to accomplish this, you can install a translated version of WordPress or you can use WPML and host multiple languages on your site.  Let’s look at both of these solutions.

WordPress In Your Language

By far the easiest way to solve this problem is to download and install a copy of WordPress that has already been translated.


Once you have your code upload it to your site overwriting the existing files (please take a full backup first I accept no responsibility for crashed sites).

There are a couple of small downsides to this

1) 1-Click Installs – if you have used a one click install from your hosting company chances are you have installed the English version, you will have to manually re-install your new version of WordPress, and manually update going forward your 1-Click install update will overwrite with English.

2) Not every language is available.  The vast majority of commonly spoken languages have been translated, but there are some missing, here is a list of translated languages http://wpcentral.io/internationalization/

Use WPML To Host Multiple Dashboard Languages

If you need more than one language for your dashboard, then WPML (my preferred translation tool) may be a good choice.  This is a little more involved but you get more functionality.

Here are the step to allows for multiple dashboard languages.

1) Download hte version of wordpress you want to support, in my example I downloaded French from fr.wordpress.org

2) Extract the files from wp-content/language of the downloaded zip file.

3) Upload them to your site’s wp-content/language directory

4) From WPML language, we can scroll down and set the admin language

5) From a user profile we can set the default admin language at a user level, so a multi author / admin site can have different languages per registered user.

Here is a video to show this in action.

Wrap Up

For a bi-lingual team, allowing the admin of your WordPress site in multiple languages makes their job simpler.  Managing a site is already complex enough without having to translate each dashboard menu item.

If you need help setting up your dashboard in multiple languages, please contact us for a quote.

Photo Credit: downhilldom1984 via Compfight cc

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