#83 – Carrie Dils on How to Internationalise Your WordPress Code

Transcript

[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case how to internationalize your WordPress code.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice. Or by going to WPTavern.com forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the podcast, I’m keen to hear from you and hopefully get you, or your idea featured on the show. Head to WPTavern.com forward slash contact forward slash jukebox. And use the form there.

So on the podcast today we have Carrie Dils. Carrie is a WordPress loving freelance developer with modern 20 years experience in web development and full scope WordPress projects. She teaches WordPress and front-end development courses for LinkedIn learning and blogs regularly about WordPress, and the business of freelancing.

This is another of the podcast interviews, which were recorded at WordCamp Europe in Athens. It took place soon after Carrie had completed her workshop at the event. This workshop was entitled international appeal, making your themes and plugins translatable.

WordCamp workshops are practical hands-on sessions. Carrie’s intention here was to make the audience aware of ways in which they could translate their code into other languages. Specifically it was to assist developers in localising their themes and plugins so that they could be consumed and understood by a wider audience. It covered translation functions for PHP and JavaScript, and a foundational understanding of how the process of localization works.

We started the podcast with some orientation, getting to grips with what internationalisation is in the context of WordPress. Carrie explains that there are workflows already available for developers to use to translate their plugins and themes. This enables their clients or customers to switch between languages in the admin interface so that they can understand more about what they’re doing.

Carrie talks about the fact that, although she’s not aware of any legal compulsion to carry out this internationalisation work, it’s very useful for consumers of your code. They will be able to rely on a language that’s familiar to them, and not always have to fall back on English. We get into the weeds a little as Carrie explains the foundations of how the translations actually work, and how developers can tap into this.

The fact that WordPress is so popular means that it’s in a great position to make the internet a more inclusive space. Part of that is making people from all over the world. Understand how WordPress, and the tools built on top of it, works.

Carrie says that it’s not about trying to translate every part of your plugin into the 200 plus languages which WordPress supports. It’s more about doing what you can, when you can, for those people who can benefit from it.

Carrie’s talk will at some point make it onto wordpress.tv, so you can see it there for yourself, but until that’s available she lays out some of the places where you can go to get support around this subject. The plugin and theme handbooks are an ideal place to start that journey.

We get into a chat about which languages are spoken most widely and how Carrie thinks about which languages to pick. If your resources are limited. She points out that as a developer, you’re building in the capability to have your code translated, and the actual work of making those translations can be handled by others if your code is created correctly.

Given that AI is always a hot topic, we digress a little towards the end about how the work of translations is likely to become more automated as large language models take on the burden of translating content and assisting in the writing of code.

If you’re a developer who is curious about making your code available to a wider audience through internationalisation, this podcast is for you.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all of the links in the show notes by heading to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

And so without further delay, I bring you Carrie Dils.

I am joined on the podcast today by Carrie Dils. Hello, Carrie.

[00:05:12] Carrie Dils: Howdy, howdy.

[00:05:13] Nathan Wrigley: We are in Athens at the WordCamp EU celebration, 2023. Carrie’s just walked into the room and told me that she’s finished her workshop. How did it go?

[00:05:24] Carrie Dils: It went well. The rooms are kind of set up classroom style, well with desk like these that we’ve got sitting in front of us, so attendees could bust out their laptops and get on the wifi and participate. And it was small enough that acoustically, if they had questions and weren’t miced, it was okay.

[00:05:39] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. What’s the difference between a workshop and a presentation?

[00:05:42] Carrie Dils: Well, so in theory a workshop is meant to be more hands-on, practical. Whereas a presentation is just sort of receiving information, a workshop might be actually doing something with the information that you’re getting. Workshops came in two flavors, a fifty minute and a, I guess roughly two times that, so a two hour workshop.

I was in a 50 minute slot and it’s a little difficult to do anything truly interactive, and I wasn’t sure how many attendees there would be. So mine was probably closer to presentation and workshop, but I tried to throw in some interactive elements.

[00:06:20] Nathan Wrigley: You were one of the early ones as well, so at least you’ve got it out the way. You can now enjoy the rest of the conference.

[00:06:26] Carrie Dils: Right, right.

[00:06:27] Nathan Wrigley: What was the subject?

[00:06:28] Carrie Dils: Internationalization in WordPress. So making your plugins and your themes translatable. So basically from a coding perspective, there are functions that you can use so that if someone wanted to take all of the text strings from a theme or a plugin, and translate them into another language, they could do that.

[00:06:51] Nathan Wrigley: So this was a talk specifically aimed at theme developers and plugin developers, as opposed to sort of end users who might use a plugin to translate their own site.

[00:06:59] Carrie Dils: Right. So the internationalization, which you might commonly hear that, with the word localization. So think of internationalization is the piece that a developer does when creating a theme or plugin. Localization is the process of then translating it into other languages.

Not to be confused with multilingual websites, where the actual content of a website is translated into other language. That’s actually a different process.

[00:07:26] Nathan Wrigley: So is this then a process of assisting developers to ensure that their products are usable by people all over the world?

[00:07:36] Carrie Dils: Exactly. So imagine, when I first started using WordPress. I didn’t know any better and you needed to do something and you just edited files directly, like edit the core files directly, edit the theme file directly. And I very quickly learned the first time I pushed that update button that it’s not meant to do that.

But if you want to think about translating the software into other languages, it’s impractical to go make a duplicate code base just to change, forget your password as an English phrase into say a Spanish or a German translation of that. You don’t need to copy all of WordPress just to change that one bit of text. So the way it is written with these translation functions enables others to then go in and grab those strings without touching the original code base.

[00:08:24] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Do you know if there’s any jurisdictional, legal requirements to do this? So if you’re launching a product into the WordPress space, you are basically launching a product throughout the planet. Anybody can buy it anywhere. And the only two examples that cropped up into my head were, for example, in Canada where I believe everything has to be translated into French and English. If you are selling something there, if you put up signage or what have you.

And also in the UK, if you’re in Wales, Welsh and English would be another example. I didn’t know if there were guidelines around that. If you are a plugin developer, theme developer, whatever you are doing in the WordPress space where you potentially might be breaking law in different parts of the world?

[00:09:05] Carrie Dils: That’s a great question. To my knowledge the answer is no. There are no legal requirements. It’s not like accessibility where there are laws around site accessibility. Really because we’re not necessarily talking in the case, the examples you’re giving, that’s the end user. End user facing copy. Whereas this is more behind the scenes. So imagine what you would see in WP admin, that sort of thing.

[00:09:30] Nathan Wrigley: So I guess you had to get into the thick of the code, and put coding examples up to demonstrate. And I’m also guessing that most of this is built into WordPress. You are just leveraging things that are already there, or maybe not. Maybe you are extending the functionality that ships with WordPress.

[00:09:45] Carrie Dils: No, and it actually goes beyond WordPress. I’m going to get real nerdy on you. There is something called gettext and it is open source. It’s licensed under, GNU. I can’t say GNU without thinking of Gary Gnu that does the news from Giggle Snort Hotel. Now I’m showing my age. If you’re listening to this and are not familiar with that, this was children’s programming in the seventies.

So anyways Gary Gnu has the news, and there is something called gettext. And this is a sort of universally recognized system for writing translatable code. WordPress uses gettext and has its own kind of wrapper functions around that. So what we’re talking about is not, while there are functions that are unique to the WordPress ecosystem, the concept of internationalizing your code goes well beyond WordPress, and WordPress uses gettext, which is what most software languages use.

[00:10:41] Nathan Wrigley: I’m guessing the fact that you’ve done a talk about it indicates that you think it’s not being used as often as it perhaps should be?

[00:10:49] Carrie Dils: So I’m always going to come at things from a education, knowledge is power perspective. It’s quite possible that people may be listening to this and have already used, seen translation functions, and just didn’t know what they were.

For instance, if you see a double underscore, parenthesis and then some string of text in there, well, that double underscore parenthesis is a translation function. So it’s less about trying to convince people to use it, more educating that it exists and what are the reasons that it’s important to use it.

So WordPress powers over 40% of the web, I think around 43% at last count. Interestingly, if you go to wordpress.org/stats, s t a t s, there’s lots of details there about WordPress installs, and one of those is what language is WordPress, what locale is being used. And I think it’s around 55% are not in English.

So WordPress is global software. It’s used all around the world. And I love especially talking about this topic at WordCamp Europe, where we have so many languages, and cultures represented. And making WordPress available in around 200 different locales. And that’s the job of the Polyglots team. So if you go to make.wordpress.org, the Polyglots team is who’s in charge for making WordPress translatable.

And it’s of course volunteers from all of these different locales that are bringing it to life in their language. But if you’ve ever gone to say the settings page of your WordPress admin, there’s a little box that says what language would you like your site in? If you were to choose another language, one of those 200 languages that exist, then everything in the admin will be displayed in that locale.

The education piece is that it is global. It is used around the world and the process of internationalizing your code is what makes it possible to have your code exist in other languages.

[00:12:55] Nathan Wrigley: I think it’s really easy to think about the fact that, well you and I both obviously native English speakers. More or less everything that I’ve ever endeavored to do with WordPress has been in English. If a plugin comes, or a theme comes and everything is displayed in English, I’m entirely happy. That’s fine by me. But I guess we are excluding a bunch of people for whom that obstacle is simply too high.

You’ll be presented with a bunch of options. Some of it probably in quite technical language, and if the developer hasn’t made the effort to translate it into some additional languages, I’m guessing in most cases, you’re not advocating while it’s 200 or nothing.

[00:13:33] Carrie Dils: Right.

[00:13:33] Nathan Wrigley: Maybe pick some low hanging fruit if you like. That’s just part of the job of WordPress. If we are going to endeavor to be truly international, that work has to be done. But how did you get interested in this? How come you are doing a presentation about this particular subject given the panoply of things that you could have picked?

[00:13:50] Carrie Dils: So I’ve been working with WordPress for over a decade now, and early into that I was introduced at, it was WordCamp Austin, actually, I think 2013 or 14. I was introduced to the idea of web accessibility, and specifically what accessibility looks like in WordPress. And if somebody’s listening and they’re not familiar, accessibility is basically writing both from a code perspective and from a design and presentation, really soup to nuts, your website. Making it accessible for anyone to use regardless of what kind of device they’re on, if they’re on a laptop, a mobile phone or a screen reader.

So making the web accessible and I was just so glad somebody told me that that was something that was important, because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

So extend that idea that the mission of WordPress is to democratize publishing. Well, how do you democratize publishing to someone who doesn’t speak English and sees software, to your point, we’re happy when it’s, when it’s in English. But if you’re seeing all these technical words or, you know, whatever it is. You’re walking through the WP admin experience and it’s not in a language that you’re comfortable navigating, well then your power to publish is diminished.

So I think of it in terms of, or I guess that’s where I got interested in it, is sort of, I don’t know that most people would consider it a branch of accessibility, but in my mind it’s related.

[00:15:23] Nathan Wrigley: So let’s imagine that I’ve been listening to this and found it persuasive. Okay, I’ve got a plugin, I’ve got a theme, what have you. But I’ve made no effort to translate anything. And I think, okay, I should. I should begin this journey. How straightforward is it? Does WordPress provide the tools and the infrastructure and the file types and whatever else is going on? Is it fairly easy to drop into this? Is there documentation which is up to date to make it straightforward? Or is this one of those impossibly difficult to find pieces of documentation? And if it’s easy to find, where is it?

[00:15:53] Carrie Dils: That’s a great question, and it’s easy to find. So if you go toward wordpress.org, there’s the plugin handbook, and there’s also the theme handbook. And both of those handbooks have sections on how to internationalize your code.

So I’m going to take your question a step further. As someone who is creating products to be distributed maybe for, you know, you’re selling your theme or your plugin. Writing your code in a way that it can be translated into other languages, increases your user base. It makes it accessible to people in other places, right?

So as the plugin or theme developer, I don’t necessarily have to go, my job is to write my code in a way that it can be translated. Other people can do their translations. I don’t have to necessarily ship my code with a ton of translations.

[00:16:45] Nathan Wrigley: So you are not suggesting that the burden to get these 200 languages out there is always going to be on the shoulders of the developer. You could ship something and let the community take it over. If this was an important plugin that you developed, which it turns out 40% of all WordPress websites wish to use, it could be a community effort to do that?

[00:17:02] Carrie Dils: Absolutely. If your customer base is international, then you might want to ship it, you know, with language packs, or the translations for, the locales where your customers live. That would just be common sense.

[00:17:15] Nathan Wrigley: It’s a little bit off piste, which languages would you say, matter is the wrong word, but do you know what I mean? So obviously English has become the lingua franca of WordPress. By default Most things happen in English. And we come to this event, and although we are in Athens, everything’s largely in English.

What are the languages which seem to dominate internationally that you would say, okay, if you’re a developer and you wish to get your things translated, do these ones first, because you’ll have the biggest reach. Now obviously if your product is designed for Hungarian users, probably Hungarian’s the first one to go for. But broadly speaking, if you’re just trying to open it up to the world, English, and then where do we go from there?

[00:17:55] Carrie Dils: Well, as I was doing some research for my session, I was looking statistically, I think about 13% and please, anybody listening to this that says she is very wrong right now. I acknowledge that I am probably very wrong right now. But I’m going to say it’s maybe 13% of the world’s population speaks English. Making it one of the largest, but not the largest. And again, I’m sure I’m about to say something wrong, I think Chinese, specifically Cantonese.

To your question, I’m not entirely sure. I think it would be more about what market are you trying to go after. I had the experience, maybe seven or eight years ago, of releasing a commercial theme. One of the goals I was trying to accomplish was, one, to create a theme that was accessible, and two, to create a theme that was translation ready.

And it was a learning experience for me, and I was able to collaborate. I put out a call to my network, to friends that don’t speak English natively, and asked them for translations. So I ended up shipping my theme with, I want to say eight to ten different translations ready to roll. And some of those, this was the particularly interesting bit for me, some of those are scripts that read right to left, versus read left to right, like English.

So depending on, I’m about to blow your mind, Nathan. Depending on the language, you may need to make layout changes to the front end of the site. So imagine you’ve got a content right sidebar for a site. Well, if you are switching to a right to left script like Hebrew, or Arabic. You would then detect if the language was loaded in one of these RTL scripts and reverse the layout accordingly. So there’s like a separate CSS file for rTL scripts. Isn’t that kind of fascinating?

[00:19:55] Nathan Wrigley: That is really fascinating actually, and also probably quite a bit of additional work. That’s my next question actually. We live in a very commercial WordPress now. I think if you and I were having this conversation 10 years ago, the whole commercial side of WordPress was far less significant. There’s now a lot of money tied up in WordPress. And you alluded earlier to this, you said that you could, you can open up your plugin, theme, whatever it may be, to a wider audience.

So I guess somebody listening to this might want to know, okay, how much work is this and what’s the payback? Is it easy to do this? If I pick these two or three popular languages, will I be able to achieve this in a matter of days? Do I need to employ professional transcribers or translators. And will I receive a return on by investment? Like I said, this question probably wouldn’t have occurred 10 years ago. Do you understand the motivation for this might be quite low on the pecking order?

[00:20:44] Carrie Dils: Yes. So it’s relatively low effort, Nathan. So think of, as developers, there are best practices for the way that we write code. Maybe it’s the way that we structure our comment. I mean, there are actually WordPress coding standards for how things should be formatted and all of that.

So using translation functions in your code is really just the best practice. It’s low effort to do as a developer. It’s very approachable. And again, the burden of doing the translations into other languages, you don’t necessarily have to do that piece, but of course that, if you know that you have a user base in a particular locale, it would probably behoove you to provide those translations out of the gate with your product.

But in terms of what’s the return, I’m not entirely sure. I don’t have any statistics that speak to that. But certainly from a goodwill aspect, that is there. And also, take away some of the arrogance factor, acknowledging that there are users that may be using your product that are not native English speakers.

So just providing that as part of your code base is a pretty, I don’t want to say easy, because that’s an overused word. It depends on who you are if it’s easy. But if you are already a WordPress developer used to writing code, chances are you’ve copy and pasted a translation function, or a texturing that was wrapped in a translation function and maybe you didn’t know that’s what it was.

[00:22:14] Nathan Wrigley: It is June in 2023, so it’s impossible to have a conversation without the words AI. Will there be a place for AI in this? Because it does seem, the burden may not be the coding side. It may literally be, well we haven’t got the finances to get the text translated. We don’t have any expertise in that area, and we don’t know people who can speak Hebrew, Arabic, whatever.

So there’s a cost to that. I’m just wondering if that might well be brought down by things like AI. I’m thinking, you know, you can throw things into Google Translate and out it comes with the correct answer. I just wonder what your thoughts are on that. Whether that’s going to assist this endeavor.

I mean, I can imagine, I can really imagine a future in which we go to ChatGPT, or some variant thereof, and say translate my site’s admin area into Hungarian, for example. And it will wrap all the functions correctly and do it all for you. That sounds like a, possible future.

[00:23:08] Carrie Dils: I think so I have done zero experimentation in that regard, but I don’t see why it couldn’t. Because you can train AI, right? So if you’re training it on specifically what these functions are, and how you use them. I don’t know why it couldn’t take and theoretically generate both the code. And then on the translation side, to your point, Google Translate already exists. I think the issue right now at least at this stage with AI translations, you lose context.

So imagine, I gave this example in my workshop, so the word lead, L E A D in English has multiple meanings. I could be leading a presentation. I could get a sales lead for my product. I could have my dog on a leash, and it’s called a lead. So if you were just to tell Google Translate, hey translate the word lead into these 10 languages, who knows. There’s a reason for the phrase lost in translation. So I think probably that’s the first shortcoming I could see with the current state of affairs. Obviously, I think that could be addressed and would be really interesting to see what the applications are with AI.

[00:24:24] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, it just feels like a fairly decent shortcut. In that, given everything that we’ve said before about how it would be, well, I’m going to use the word honorable. It would be an honorable thing to do to translate your plugin into the 200 plus languages that WordPress can accept.

Now, I realize in most cases that’s probably off the table. But if technology could assist in that effort, and you did have the time to double check to make sure that lead meant lead and not lead, if you know what I mean. Then that seems like a win-win because there’s just no downside to that.

[00:24:53] Carrie Dils: Exactly. Nobody ever cried because your site was faster or more accessible. Yeah, so it’s doing that. There’s not really a downside to it.

[00:25:02] Nathan Wrigley: Where would you direct us? I’m a plugin developer, a theme developer. You have mentioned the handbook, but I wonder if there’s other things out there. So there might be, I don’t know, YouTube channels or other documentation, maybe some books or something that you’ve written. I don’t know. Is there anything else that you would point people towards? And I will include whatever you say into the show notes so people can just click.

[00:25:21] Carrie Dils: I can provide you with a handful of articles on my site that I’ve written. I also have a class if I, just shameless plug, a course on LinkedIn learning on this topic, where I’m teaching more specifically exactly what these translation functions are. When you would use them, et cetera.

And I also met a gentleman this morning, Toby, whose last name I didn’t catch, but he’s presenting tomorrow on the same topic. And then of course in theory the workshop will end up on TV?

[00:25:51] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So by the time this podcast episode airs, typically, the WordPress TV won’t have caught up to that, but should it change at some point in the future, I will make the effort to update the show notes.

Another thing which people have in mind when we talk about translations in WordPress is Gutenberg’s stage four. Now, I realize there’s not a perfect overlap here because that’s more about changing the, well, my understanding, at least anyway, is that’s more about changing the content.

[00:26:16] Carrie Dils: Yes.

[00:26:16] Nathan Wrigley: How do you feel more broadly, the WordPress project more generally, in terms of accessibility and being able to read it in different languages? I know that’s a way off. It feels like three, phase three that we’re in at the moment could take decade or more to actually finish. I mean, it’s quite complicated, the concurrent editing, I think.

But are you fairly bullish that WordPress is going to be at the vanguard of this in the future? I know that we’ve been talking about the internals, the plugins and what have you, but broadly speaking, on the front end, how do you feel about phase four?

[00:26:46] Carrie Dils: I won’t overstep my bounds and pretend like I know more than I do about it. That said, when Matt laid out the four phases of Gutenberg, however many years ago that was. The project has continued to follow that roadmap, albeit maybe not at the quickest clip. So I have faith that will happen.

[00:27:04] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah.

[00:27:04] Carrie Dils: At some point in the future. And that that works towards the WordPress mission of democratizing publishing. I don’t know exactly what, practically speaking, what shape that takes.

Oh, here’s a resource for you, and people who would know. Polyglots, I mentioned them earlier, the Make WordPress team. They have a Slack channel. They have weekly meetings. If you were to go to the Polyglot section on wordpress.org, that would probably be the place to tune in and, they would have much better information than me.

[00:27:34] Nathan Wrigley: Carrie, you’ve been very helpful. You’ve provided me with a question. I know that you wanted to mention that there’s been some updates recently. Well not recently, fairly long time ago, five years I think you mentioned, in the way that you can actually implement these things. You mentioned that it was only possible in PHP until five years ago, something like that. But now you can do this in JavaScript if that’s your thing. Talk to us about that.

[00:27:55] Carrie Dils: Yes. So earlier I mentioned the gettext library, sort of the standard for writing translation functions. And that’s common across many programming languages. WordPress is written primarily in PHP and JavaScript. And up until WordPress 5.0, there was no mechanism for translating JavaScript, only for translating strings that were included in PHP files.

So now, behold. If you love JavaScript and you love to learn JavaScript deeply, now you can also learn to translate, or include translatable strings in, your JavaScript. And they’re actually, it’s a subset of the functions that are available in PHP, but they work identically.

[00:28:37] Nathan Wrigley: And so all of that’s again, in the documentation. If we go to the resources in the show notes, we’ll be able to find all of that.

[00:28:42] Carrie Dils: Absolutely, yes. The handbooks are really, it might take you a little bit of digging around or jumping, jumping around pages, but yes.

[00:28:51] Nathan Wrigley: Carrie, thank you so much for talking to us today. Before we part ways, if somebody has listened to this, is interested, wants to find out more, but wants to come directly to you, how do they do that?

[00:29:01] Carrie Dils: Twitter is probably where I hang out the most, and my handle is super simple, c d i l s.

[00:29:09] Nathan Wrigley: You got in early.

[00:29:10] Carrie Dils: Yes, I’ve been on for quite a while. And then I’m also on Mastodon, on the wpbuilds.social @cdils.

[00:29:18] Nathan Wrigley: Carrie Dils, really appreciate you talking to us today. Thank you so much. Enjoy the rest of the conference.

[00:29:24] Carrie Dils: Thank you, Nathan. Great chatting with you.

On the podcast today we have Carrie Dils.

Carrie is a WordPress-loving freelance developer with more than twenty years experience in web development, and full-scope WordPress projects. She teaches WordPress and front-end development courses for LinkedIn Learning, and blogs regularly about WordPress and the business of freelancing.

This is another of the podcast interviews which were recorded at WordCamp Europe in Athens. It took place soon after Carrie had completed her workshop at the event. This workshop was entitled ‘International Appeal: Making Your Themes and Plugins Translatable’.

WordCamp workshops are practical, hands-on, sessions. Carrie’s intention here was to make the audience aware of ways in which they could translate their code into other languages. Specifically it was to assist developers in localising their themes and plugins so that they could be consumed and understood by a wider audience. It covered translation functions for PHP and JavaScript, and a foundational understanding of how the process of localisation works.

We started the podcast with some orientation; getting to grips with what internationalisation is in the context of WordPress. Carrie explains that there are workflows already available for developers to use to translate their plugins and themes. This enables their clients or customers to switch between languages in the admin interface so that they can understand more about what they’re doing.

Carrie talks about the fact that, although she’s not aware of any legal compulsion to carry out this internationalisation work, it’s very useful for consumers of your code. They will be able to rely on a language that’s familiar to them, and not always have to fall back on English. We get into the weeds a little as Carrie explains the foundations of how the translations actually work, and how developers can tap into this. 

The fact that WordPress is so popular means that it’s in a great position to make the internet a more inclusive space. Part of that is making people from all over the world understand how WordPress, and the tools built on top of it, works. Carrie says that it’s not about trying to translate every part of your plugin into the two hundred plus languages which WordPress supports, it’s more about doing what you can, when you can, for those people who can benefit from it.

Carrie’s talk will at some point make it onto WordPress.tv so you can see it for yourself, but until that’s available she lays out some of the places where you can go to get support around this subject. The plugin and theme handbooks are an ideal place to start that journey.

We get into a chat about which languages are spoken most widely, and how Carrie thinks about which languages to pick if your resources are limited. She points out that as a developer you’re building in the capability to have your code translated, and the actual work of making those translations can be handled by others if your code is created correctly.

Given that AI is always a hot topic, we digress a little towards the end about how the work of translations is likely to become more automated as large language models take on the burden of translating content and assisting in the writing of code.

If you’re a developer who is curious about making your code available to a wider audience through internationalisation, this podcast is for you.

Useful links.

Carrie’s Twitter

Carrie’s Mastodon

Carrie’s website

gettext project

WordPress stats

LinkedIn Learning course by Carrie

Tor-Björn Fjellner’s WCEU presentation

WordPress plugin handbook

WordPress theme handbook

Polyglots team

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