Loco Translate – Localize WordPress Themes Directly from WP Dashboard

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After publishing our post “How to Translate WordPress Themes“, we have got a few requests to create a guide for Mac users because Eazy PO does not work on Mac. On the other hand, POEdit requires getting a Pro license to be able to create POT files. In this post, we will show you how to localize WordPress themes directly from your WordPress dashboard using Loco Translate plugin.

Localize WordPress Themes

For the purpose of this guide, we will translate a theme from English to French.


  • You will need Loco Translate plugin. Download and activate it on your website.
  • Change the language of your website to the language you want to translate the theme into by going to Settings -> General -> Site Language.

What To Translate

You should be able to identify the texts that are coming from the theme, not from any other plugins. To do so, you can either deactivate your plugins or start translating your theme on a brand new installation. By doing so, you’ll save your time and effort.

In our case, we want to translate the texts illustrated below:

Localize WordPress Themes - Texts to be translated

Select The Theme

When you install Loco Translate plugin, a new item will appear in your WordPress dashboard menu. Select Themes and then click on the theme you want to localize.

Loco Translate - Dashboard Menu

Create The Template

The next step is to create a template file which is called POT file (Portable Object Template). It’s a file that contains all of the theme texts. Don’t skip this step! Loco Translate and any other translation software need a POT file to create the other languages files.

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Loco Translate - Create POT

The created POT file will be saved in: themes/{theme-folder}/languages/{theme-name}.pot

Select The Language

When Loco Translate is done with creating the POT file, you will have to choose the language you want to translate the theme into it.

Loco Translate - Select Language

In the following screen:

  1. Select the language you need to localize your theme to it. In our example, we are choosing French.
  2. IMPORTANT: Select the last option. This is the place where WordPress will look for the translations.
  3. Click Start translating

Initialize New Translation - Loco Translate

Once you click Start translating, Loco Translate will create another file called PO (Portable Object) with the name {theme-name}-fr_FR.po. This is the human-readable file that contains the French translation of your theme.

Start Translating

The translation screen is pretty clear, all you have to do is start translating your theme texts. When you’re done hit the ‘Save‘ button.

Loco Translate - Translation Screen

When you click the Save button, Loco Translate will create the machine-readable file MO (Machine Object) that WordPress can read which is named {theme-name}-fr_FR.mo.

Final Results

Do you remember the first image in this post? As you can see, we were able to translate the texts to French (dummy translation for illustration purpose).

Loco Translate - Final Results


Loco Translate plugin is a perfect tool to localize WordPress themes and plugins. It’s very easy to use, works well with every properly internationalized theme and it’s free!
If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comments section below.

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I write about Multilingual WordPress, SEO, Website Performance. Also, I like answering WordPress question on Quora. When I have the time, I run online sessions to teach WordPress for my personal FB page fans!

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