Troubleshooting Translations in WordPress

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👋 This article assumes that you are familiar with Translation Basics and that you have the Loco Translate plugin installed and activated.

The short version

  1. In your WordPress admin dashboard go to Loco Translate → Plugins
  2. Click the desired plugin in the list
  3. Search for the translation you want to work with — likely in the “Other” Folder — and click on “Edit”
  4. Click the “Sync” button and wait for the success message
  5. Click on “Save”

The long version

When plugin code is updated then also some strings might change. Either their location in the files can change, the string itself can change — though plugin developers try to keep this to a minimum –, some strings become obsolete and are deleted, and some new ones might be added.

When any of that happens and you have your own custom translation in wp-content/languages/plugins then you might experience that some of your previous translations do not work any more. That is normal and here is what you can do to make them work again.

The most common cause of this is that the string set of the plugin has changed with the latest version, and your translation file — located at wp-content/languages/plugins – is not yet updated, it doesn’t have the new string set.

Probably the easiest way to fix this is with the free Loco Translate plugin. If you don’t have it yet, then install and activate it. Now head over to the Loco Translate dashboard in your WordPress admin, find the plugin which you would like to handle translations for and click on it. This will give you the list of languages that is available for that plugin on your website.

The list of languages for The Events Calendar in the Loco Translate plugin

Before we go any further let’s take a look at the “Folder” column.

If it says “Author”, that means the language folder of the plugin, which gets updated with the updates, and so any changes will be lost.

If it says “Other” that means it is in wp-content/languages/plugins which is safe from updates.

Look through the list because it might contain the same language in both locations. If you have a custom translation you want to look for the one that has “Other” next to it.

Once you find it click on “Open” and this will open the translations for that language. Here you can make modifications and add new translations if needed.

To make sure that this language file is updated, in other words that the string set is the latest in the file, you need to synchronize it with the .pot file (the string set blueprint) of the plugin. To do that click on the “Sync” button. In a short bit you should receive a confirmation message at the top that the synchronization was successful.

The success message at the top informs us of a successful synchronization

Remember to save the changes and check if that did the trick.

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