EDIT 2: I am planning to implement a language switcher, but I don't have a clear understanding of how interface translation works in WordPress out-of-the-box, without multilanguage plugins (I don't need a full multilanguage solution). I know about portable objects localization and I want to make those translations available for the users both in the back-end and the front-end.

EDIT: I'm not talking about content translation (pages, posts, etc.), only interface strings.

I have some questions about the translation of both the back-end and the front-end of WordPress.

Many plugins and themes are shipped with .po/.mo translations, but can the user enable a different language for the front-end interface without using a multilanguage plugin like WPML or Polylang, that use their own language switchers?

Is there some kind of automatic language switching method for the front-end (based on browser, IP, etc.)? As for logged-in users, does the Your Profile language setting affect only the back-end or also the front-end?


  • You are asking 10 questions at once, some of them un related to each other, and almost all of them are not related to wordpress development. Please edit your question and make it a proper on topic one Mar 25, 2018 at 10:27
  • Hi Mark, I have edited my question, I hope that it's clearer now. I know they are more than a couple of questions, but I think they're all related to my need. I am lacking some background knowledge about the default behavior. Mar 25, 2018 at 10:33
  • 1
    Have you seen switch_to_locale()?
    – swissspidy
    Mar 26, 2018 at 7:31
  • @swissspidy That would switch locale for every user or can be used programmatically on a per-user basis? Mar 26, 2018 at 8:09
  • 1
    That only switches the locale for the current user, it's not a permanent thing or something. You could easily use that to make get_user_locale() affect the front end too.
    – swissspidy
    Mar 26, 2018 at 8:12


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