I'm creating a theme and I want to add internationalization. I have the theme itself set up with the appropriate functions and and textdomain. What I'm curious about is the creation of .pot, .po and .mo files. Most of the tutorials I read involve creating all 3 but twentythirteen/twelve/eleven only include a POT file in the languages directory.

Am I supposed to only create the .pot or am I supposed to make the .po and .mo as well? (note: this theme will not be for myself but one that I will be distributing).

1 Answer 1


.po and .mo files are created by the translator himself, and then contain the actuall translation, so if you do not supply a translation with your theme then you don't need them.

.pot file is basically a template for the .po file. you can easily generate it with tools like poedit but IMO it is no more then a "nice to have" as part of the theme as any translation tool will be able to generate it from your source. I would say go with the recommendations of the theme repository about the inclusion of the .pot file. If it is not required there, then you can safely omit it.

  • Awesome, thanks. I just wanted to make sure I followed standard practices so users of my theme face as little friction as possible while setting it up. Nov 16, 2013 at 13:42

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