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One option is to work directly on .po and .mo files using Poedit, as we have already explained in this guide.

Alternatively, you can use Loco Translate, A very simple plugin to use that I will tell you about in this guide.

Before translating WordPress themes and plugins with Loco Translate…

Before starting the translation work, I advise you to adopt a couple of tricks that will probably help you save time.

Set up WordPress in Italian

First, make sure that your WordPress installation is already configured in Italian.

You can check which language is set for your site, and eventually change it, in Settings> General> Site language (if your site is in English, Settings> General> Site Language)

This is an important step. In fact, if your site is set in Italian, when you install themes and plugins these will be automatically configured in Italian – obviously if the translation is already available.

Choose a theme translation ready

When you choose the theme for your WordPress site, make sure this is translation ready (i.e., ready to be translated).

In a nutshell, a translation ready theme has the files it needs to be translated with tools like Loco Translate. This is therefore an important aspect. Alternatively, you can still configure the necessary files manually.

How to translate your theme with Loco Translate

Install Loco Translate

To install Loco Translate, go to your WordPress dashboard, browse Plugins> Add New, search for Loco Translate and click Install plugins.

Done this, activate the plugin.

Check if your theme is ready for use with Loco Translate

To check if your theme is ready to be translated with Loco Translate, you can follow these steps:

From your hosting account, access the cPanel and, from here, the File Manager. Make sure you’re in the directory where WordPress is installed.

Then browse in wp-content> themes> FOLDER WITH THE NAME OF YOUR THEME> languages.

Here, look for a file named as your theme, with the .pot extension.

Warning! Even if your theme does not include the .pot file, go to step 5 and check if there is already a translation (integral or partial of the theme you want to translate). Very often, in fact, the translation is already present even without the .pot file.

Even if neither the initial translation nor the .pot theme are present, you can still create one using your own Loco Translate.

Check that the Loco Translate folders are configured correctly

Before starting the actual translation, it is appropriate – as suggested in the official documentation of Loco Translate – check that the plugin folders are configured correctly. This will allow you to ensure that translations are not overwritten in updates.

Then, from your hosting account, access the cPanel and, from here, the File Manager. Always make sure you are in the directory where WordPress is installed and browse wp-content> languages> loco> themes.

If you find the themes folder (even if it is empty), everything is optimally configured!

Translation begins

After completing all these steps, you are ready to start translating your theme (or even your plugins).

Inside the Dashboard, find the options related to Loco Translate.

To deal with the translation of the themes, navigate within Themes and, of course, for the translation of the plugins, navigate within Plugins.

In the themes screen, you will find the list of themes installed on your site. Click on the one of your interest. You will then see the list of languages ​​in which the theme has already been translated, in part or in full.

loco translate languages ​​themes

By clicking on the language of your interest you will be able to complete and modify the translation.

If the language in which you want to translate the theme is not already present in the list, you can add it by clicking New language. It is at this point that, if the .pot file is not present within the theme, you can create one – it is an operation that takes a few seconds, in fact you only need to click the button to create the template.

When the template is ready, you can actually add the new language by choosing one of those provided by WordPress, or even adding a custom one.

Finally, you can choose the folder inside which the file containing the translation will be saved. In the official documentation Loco Translate it is recommended to choose the call option Custom, which ensures that translations are not overwritten, even in the event that automatic updates occur.

loco translate configuration template

When you are ready to do the actual translation, using the Editor provided by Loco Translate is quite simple:

At the top of the page is the list of strings to be translated. By clicking on a string, you will see both the original and the translation. Writing in the field called Italian translation, you can add your own translation for that specific string.

loco translate translation panel

Other Loco Translate options

WordPress translation

As you can see, using Loco Translate to translate WordPress themes and plugins is quite simple. Apart from this, the plugin can also be used to translate WordPress itself – although in reality this should not be necessary if you set WordPress in Italian from the general settings (at the moment the current version of WordPress is in fact 100% translated).

Authorization for translation

loco translate user permissions

Using Loco Translate is possible limit roles that have access to translation features. Browsing within Loco Translate> Settings, option Grant Access to Roles you can check off the roles you want to authorize.

Best WordPress resources


In this guide we have seen how to use themes and plugins on WordPress using Loco Translate. At the moment, this is the plugin that is simpler and more practical for most users.

As usual, if you have used this plugin I invite you to let us know what you think in the comments below. Likewise, also let us know if you have tried alternative tools that have seemed valid to you.

See you next guide!


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