September 12, 2011

Localization should be done within WordPress

Here’s a quick thought that hit me while I was swearing over how unstable Poedit can be. The idea is to get more and better localization of themes in particular, but plugins too, by putting the localization work within WordPress admin. What we need is a plugin that in fact lets you do your localization when logged in. Ideally this plugin would then store any localization files in a directory so that others could get to them easy enough. Better yet, make it a part of the WordPress core and urge people to translate when translations are missing!

Why? It would definitely mean an increase in localizations being made by users, and hence further add to the international WordPress ecosystem. Not everyone wants their sites in English after all.

The lack of localization in themes and plugins is frustrating to a lot of us. We should do better.

Update! Interesting response, read on please.

I’ve gotten some interesting response to this post on Twitter. WordPress core contributor Andrew Nacin, among others, asks if I’ve heard of GlotPress and translate.wordpress.org.

Yes. I have. It is nothing like what I’m proposing.

Let’s elaborate. Or better yet, let’s take a look at GlotPress, a nice project in itself. Have you seen it? Now visit translate.wordpress.org as well, so we get the whole picture. Done? I’d ask you to run Poedit as well, but let’s leave that one be for now.

Now ask yourself if your mother could translate her new theme that way? Change a wording not to her liking? Make sure that her contact form plugin of choice won’t be a messed up mix of English and her native language?

This is not about mothers. This is about making translating WordPress, from core to themes to plugins, accessible to all. All of Facebook was translated using the users, why can’t we?

If we build this functionality into WordPress, making it easy to just hit a button on a page if we see a faulty (or non-existent) translation and fix it, and if we then somehow sync this into a directory, then we would have way better language files. Everyone benefits.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere.