Author Plugin Issues


I have started this thread because for a developer, getting the first plugin translated is not an easy task as the process seems to be no so transparent and scattered over tens of pages (if you get to the correct links).

Current situation

A plugin author is a developer, so I just love the logical way. I understand IF this THEN that and how to make sure to get the system working in a great way as you (as an end-user) want it. So when I develop a plugin (let’s take as an example), it’s normal to look for a button on the plugin page called ‘Translate bbP Toolkit’ and … Yep there it is. But behind that button there is just text with links to more text containing other links.

Process Steps

If the process needs to be explained, start from the following questions:

  • How do I change my code so it’s ready for other languages? Give me the basic function(s) or tell me where in the readme file or the header of the main php file I need to apply changes. Can I find examples and explanation of how it works ?
  • How can I ask my friends to help me translate, where do they need to login and where do they add the translation (what guidelines to follow). How do I get help from global translator editors for general questions
  • How does my translation gets ‘ready-for-use’, so when do others get it and how ?

My difficulties

  • The very first link you get when entering the translation environment is : “New to Translating WordPress? Read through our Translator Handbook to get started.”, but that one points to a very global page that is not a starting point from a developer point of view. This one: was much more appropriate on the practical side
  • Why, when a language reaches 100% it is not automatically activated, so why wait for a GTE to validate it, can I not just accept for my own plugin?
  • What can I do with my existing .po files? Why is there not an automatic upload?
  • Some strings were automatically translated, nice, but it seems I should not change them ? Because if the translation of a word or sentence is ‘universal’, so across WordPress and all plugins?
  • How can I get to a GTE with a question? I found the teams, so if somebody is available I might bother them, but not sure if this is the right way to go. If a translation is at 100%, how to ask to validate ?
  • I can be a PTE for my own project in the languages I speak or understand. Fair enough, but one depending on the language for some it’s sufficient to ask and you get it, for others it’s a kind of quick chat and in some cases it’s close to a university entry exam?
  • What if a locale gets to 99%, then a new version arrives and adds 20 strings? (There answer seems to be that you need to reach ONCE at least the 100%, then you don’t loose your translation, see this example)

Some ideas (from myself but also found on different forums)

  • Add a sticky message on your plugin forum to ask for help in translation
  • Use a different tool for getting the requests for translation. I don’t think tat is the best place
  • Explain better (or define) the upload process for po/mo files
  • Every locale should have an updated glossary for basic words (I know some have them!)
  • For smaller plugins, code update speed might be more important then translation, so the original (english) text could be accepted amongst the translation for the new features. Options: Don’t use translation, use best available translation, only use 100% translations
  • How about Opt-in per plugin/project: So e.g. at least 90% of a locale needs to be available, then the plugin author can decide to use that 90% and use the original for the rest?
  • How about auto-validating waiting translations for all plugins that are e.g. over 90% translated?
  • How about lowering the 100% translated threshold?
  • Create a form on the plugin or on the translation pages to send a request to the locale for validation of the project/plugin?


I’m European, 5 languages on my CV and over the double of programming languages, so yes, I’m into languages! I fell in love with WordPress about 2 years ago when I started to help out with the parents association of the school. You can find me mainly helping out people on the bbPress forums when I’m not busy professionally.


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