WordPress – Translated frontend with backoffice in English

Last days, i had to mess around with the excelent blog and publishing software WordPress. I wanted the frontend localized in portuguese (yes… one or other of my projects are not globe wide), so i downloaded the portuguese version, but the administration backoffice also gets translated, and it looks pretty lame in portuguese.

The localization in WordPress is (more or less) pretty straightforward. It’s gettext based, so a translated version is just the same as the usual with a corresponding .mo and .po file in wp-includes/languages/ directory. Then you set the corresponding WPLANG constant in wp_config.php file. But it’s all or nothing, you get both the frontend and the backoffice translated….

But quickly i found myself a solution and i was happy again with an english backoffice. It just needs a tweak in the apache virtualhost configuration to set up an environment variable fot the backoffice that can be tested in wp-config.php file.

The apache config:

</Directory "/usr/home/wordpress/">
    AllowOverride None
    Order deny,allow
    Allow from all

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule ^wp-login\.php - [E=BO:true]
    RewriteRule ^wp-admin/.* - [E=BO:true]
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule . %{DOCUMENT_ROOT}index.php [L]

So, all the requests to wp-login and wp-admin (the backoffice administration interface) get the BO variable, now just need to test it and apply the WP_LANG only to all other requests in wp-config.php:

if (! (isset($_SERVER['BO']) && $_SERVER['BO']))
    define ('WPLANG', 'pt_PT');

There, frontend translated and backoffice in good old english tech words.

I needed to adjust some translated strings, but found the .po file without translated strings (like a .pot file). But no problem you can generate a .po file from the .mo file, just run:

msgunfmt pt_PT.mo > pt_PT.po