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Guide to change WordPress language.

WordPress came out 16 years back and has now evolved into the most complete and easy to use Content Management Systems (CMS). WordPress powers over 34% of the websites on the internet and is available in about 204 locales. It simply means you can change your WordPress website or user language to any of these languages.

Follow this simple guide to find out how to change your WordPress website or user language.

How to change your WordPress website language

It is quite easy to change default WordPress language and it changing the WordPress website language does two things:

  1. Your WP dashboard language is translated into the selected language, and
  2. Your selected language html code is inserted into all the pages and posts of your website. This is to let search engines and browsers know the language of your content.
Español language code
Español language code inserted into a post

Please note that it does not translate the content of your website. Also, it’s important to be very cautious when you change your website language. If you already have content published in a specific language then changing it can negatively affect your search engine rankings.

Follow these steps to change your WordPress website language:

Step 1: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings General. (This is to change the site language to one of the pre-installed languages)

Step 2: Choose the language you want to use from the Site Language dropdown list, and click Save Changes. If the list doesn’t have the language you want, you’ll have to manually install your WordPress language.

Manually installing a WordPress language

WordPress provides a number of languages in the dashboard, however, if by any chance your language is not included in your installation, you can manually install the language file by downloading it from the WordPress repository. For example, we’re installing the Afrikaans language.

Download the language file from the WordPress translation team page

First, we need to open the WordPress translation team page and look for our desired language. After finding the language, click on percent complete value in front of it.

Click on the percentage value in front of the language

In the Set / Sub Project column, click the version number of your WordPress installation. In our case, the translation for the Afrikaans language is 94% complete for WordPress 5.2.x.

Scroll to ‘Export’ option at the bottom of the page, select Machine Object Message Catalog (.mo) from the second dropdown as the export file type and click Export. The .mo file will be downloaded and saved in your computer.

Export your langauge

Installing the .mo WordPress language file

In order to install your downloaded WordPress language file, you would need to access your WordPress installation folders (wp-content). You can either use cPanel file manager, FTP or a WordPress plugin like File Manager to access the folders.

After installing the File Manager plugin, head over to wp-content/languages/ folder. If you don’t find the Languages folder in wp-content directory, you’ll have to create it.

Upload the .mo file in the languages folder and you can now close the file manager.

Changing language in the WordPress dashboard

The last step of the process is changing your language preference from the WordPress dashboard. Sign in to your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings > General.

In General Settings, click on the Site Language dropdown and you’ll be able to see your newly installed language. Select your language and hit save.

Changing WordPress site language
Changing WordPress site language

You have just changed your WordPress language. Please note that when you change your WordPress site language, it also changes the default user profile language. In order to change only WordPress user language, follow the steps below.

Changing WordPress user profile language

If you have multiple authors from different parts of the world, if your native language is different from the language you publish in or if you want to keep your site language and user profile language different.

Changing WordPress user profile language changes the language of the WP dashboard for that user. It does not, however, change the language of the content published by that user/author.

For example, your website language can be Hindi but the user profile language can be English.

Follow the steps below to change user profile language in WordPress.

Login to your WordPress dashboard and go to Users > All Users. Select the user you wish to change the language for. It will open the user profile.

Editing User Language in WordPress

From the Language drop-down menu on the user profile page, you’ll be able to change the language for the WordPress user. Please note that you’ll only see those languages here which are already installed in WordPress. You can install more languages by following the steps above.

Changing WordPress website and user language is quite easy. If you still have any questions or need help, you can reach out to us and we’ll be very happy to assist.