Themes as child themes for better language support?

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I am currently working on rebuilding the WordPress themes to make them up-to-date with the current version of WordPress. During this work, I have considered several additions to the themes. One important addition is support for other languages than English. There have been translated versions of my themes, but I have so far never used the internationalization and localization features that are built into WordPress. I started rewriting the WP-Andreas01 theme to support language files, but ran into the same challenge that prevented me from using the feature in previous releases: Any update I make to a text string inside the theme, may result in a need to update all translation files to ensure that the translations work as intended. Before I move on with the theme updates, I would like to ask for some feedback on an alternative solution that could make this challenge into a non-problem:

Would it be a good idea to rebuild the themes as child themes to the default WordPress theme (twentyten), with standardized text strings that makes the child themes work in all languages that twentyten is translated to? Or are there reasons why this would not work?


This article was written by Andreas Viklund

Web designer, writer and the creative engine behind this website. Author of most of the free website templates, along with some of the WordPress themes.


Animation-gazSeptember 28, 2010 at 14:22Reply

It would be nice to get a Russian translation. And then here we have to use google translator.

AinslieOctober 5, 2010 at 22:13Reply

Hi Andreas,

Having localized a few WordPress themes including some of your designs it can be a lot of work and as you suggest would need an update to the translation file if you updated a text string within the theme.

Rather than building child themes for TwentyTen you could use a standard set of text stings in your themes and use your own “master theme”. In my experience you do not need to alter text strings from one theme to the next very often.