Loco Translate: Localize WordPress Themes and Plugins Easily

November 26th, 2015

Until now, the plugin “CodeStyling Localization” was the measure of all things concerning the translation of WordPress themes or plugins. Unfortunately, the plugin will not be developed any further and can not be received from the WordPress plugin index. Finding a suitable replacement is not easy. I more or less randomly found the plugin “Loco Translate” and was positively surprised. It is easy to use and cleanly designed. It convinced me enough to make me want to introduce you to this plugin in detail.

Loco Translate: Localize WordPress Themes and Plugins Easily

The Loco Translate Plugin


The plugin supports the translation of themes and plugins directly from within the WordPress admin interface. It also offers support for PO features, comments, references, and plural forms. Configurable PO file backups are also possible.

  • Developer: Tim Whitlock
  • Actively developed: Yes
  • Latest Version from: 24th of July 2015
  • Cost: free, downloadable via
  • Unwanted effects in conjunction with other plugins: none known
  • Developer Homepage: not available
  • Download on

Loco Translate: It’s Really This Simple

After the installation of the plugin, there is a new main menu button entitled “Loco Translate”. There, you will find a page that lists up all your installed plugins and themes as well as their respective translations. There is also a page with settings for the plugin. However, the settings can be ignored, as none are necessary.

Loco Translate

This main overview also shows you if the data access rights are sufficient to generate translations. When you don’t see a green check, you should directly set the required rights on your server or web hosting package via an (S)FTP program.

On the main menu, you can see the installed themes in the top area. Below that, you’ll see the installed plugins. Any plugin or theme displaying the options “New Language” and “New Template” is not prepared for translation. That means that there is no code within the plugin that can be translated. In these cases, you need to edit the code to prepare translations beforehand.

Loco Translate

Translating a WordPress Plugin or Theme

Now, scroll down the main overview until you find the theme or plugin that you want to localize. You have the option to optimize a poor translation or to add another language altogether.

The big advantage of Loco Translate is that no theme data has to be read like it was the case with CodeStyling Localization. Clicking the respective language file or the link “New Language” is enough.

To correct an insufficient translation just click the language data that you want to fix.

Loco Translate: Optimize a Translation

A new language can be added quickly via the link “New Language.” The following screen will appear:

Loco Translate: Choose Language

Loco Translate: Start the Translation

Should you know the correct language code, you can also directly enter it. In this example, the code is “de_DE” for an intended translation to German.

Starting a Translation

After clicking the button “Start Translation”, you are immediately good to go.

Loco Translate: Translation Screen

In the upper box, you find the original texts and in the lower box you enter the translation. Already translated passages are marked with a star in front of the original text.

When you’re done translating, just click the button “Save” from the top menu.

Loco Translate: Save the Results

Now you will see a green message, saying that the PO file has been saved, and the MO file has been compiled. The theme or plugin is now translated, which you can easily prove by accessing your website.


The looks of the translation page could use some work. I would prefer if the windows were not underneath but next to each other. Maybe this will be done in the future. Other than that, Loco Translate is a plugin that is much easier to use than CodeStyling Localization or just about any other tool ever was. Loco Translate is thought-through and simple. I wholeheartedly recommend it!


Andreas Hecht is a journalist and specialist for WordPress and WordPress Security. He roams the web since its inception. He has published an ebook on WordPress Security, which you might want to take a look at.

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2 Comments on "Loco Translate: Localize WordPress Themes and Plugins Easily"

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10 months 13 days ago

That is really nice explanation, May I know how to split the Theme’s .po file to backend strings and front-end? In this case we can save time to just translate front-end for website visitors.


Dieter Petereit
Noupe Team
10 months 13 days ago

There is no easy way to determine that. You will need to find out by context.