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Changing the default language of your WordPress site

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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Changing default WordPress language: have you ever wondered how to do that? WordPress has a large and devoted community that has already translated the CMS into many languages. At your disposal are not only themes, but also support and translation files for a great number of languages.

The first and the most obvious step in changing the default WordPress language of your site is to download the installation files. You can do that from https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/. Find the language of your choice and click on “Team”.

changing default wordpress language

This will take you to the corresponding page of the team that made this particular translation. It looks like this:

changing default wordpress language

Click on “Download language pack”, download the pack and unzip it.

Let us suppose your language is French. Find the language .mo file for this particular language (or yours) and download it to your computer. Look for a file named fr_FR.mo.

Next, open the wp-content directory of your WordPress installation, create a new directory and name it “languages”. Then place the fr_FR.mo file you just downloaded from the link above inside the newly created directory.

You can also transfer the content of the entire language pack to the languages folder.

Now go to the WP dashboard and navigate to Settings -> General. You should see the new language installed under the section “Site Language”, just as shown on the screenshot below:

changing default wordpress language

This is all you have to do for changing default WordPress language into your language if the version of your CMS is 4.0 and above. If you are using an older version, however, you should open your wp-config.php file found in the root directory of your WP installation with a text editor such as Notepad and find the line define (‘WPLANG’, ”);. Change it to define(‘WPLANG’, ‘fr_FR’);. Note that you won’t receive a warning message if the mo file you are pointing to doesn’t exist.

Save the wp-config.php file and upload it to your server. Your site should now display in French or whatever other language you have chosen.

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