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We’re almost ready for the release of WPML 0.99. This is yet another maintenance release, but due to popular demand, we’ve already pushed in some major functions folks have been requesting in WPML forum.

Besides fixing bugs (which we’re eagerly working on, as I’m writing these lines), the two most popular requests have been:

  • Build a really really flexible language switcher.
  • Provide translation for language names (so that Korean displayed as 한국어).

Well, not only that these features are included, but they’re coming in with flying colors.

Your own language switchers

The language switcher is getting country flags added to it and we’re making it extra easy to build your own custom language switchers. You’ll be able to create a horizontal footer, vertical languages list and other more creative ideas.

If you’re familiar with Drupal, for example, you know what it takes to add country icons. It’s very simple (like many things in Drupal). All you need to do is find the frea!*?g module among 4400 other module, download the Alpha version (which is the most up-to-date), install, activate and configure it.

I really hope we don’t get to build that kind of complexity in WPML for any function that we add. If we do, please call and remind us that’s not what you’re expecting!

WPML goes multilingual

We’re making everything about WPML multilingual. After all, it is a multilingual plugin for WordPress.

  1. The language names in the language switcher are being translated. We’ve compiled a list of 179 languages and are translating them right now. The first batch of 40 popular languages is already on its way.
  2. WPML admin sections are being fully localized. It’s already available in English and Spanish. Next to come would be Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, German, French, and Portuguese.
  3. WPML.org is going multilingual. As soon as our translation interface is working, we’re going to start localizing our own contents. Hang in there, it’s very close now.

Managing translation work of this volume

Most of us here are developers and we don’t want to spend too much time managing translation work. Translating a huge list of languages to dozens of languages or maintaining the plugin’s strings in what are now 8 language isn’t something that any of us wants to be made in charge of.

WPML Translation Status - 1 hour after beginning
WPML Translation Status - 1 hour after beginning

To automate it all, we’re using our own resource file translation system. This system can read resource files of any type, ranging from CSV (comma separated values), through lists of PHP constants and even PO files. Then, it can translate those files to multiple languages all at once.

When there’s any update (which is quite a common thing with WPML’s PO file), we just upload the new version. The system detects which strings were added or changed and only translates them.

The translation itself is done by professional translators and the system just automates the process. Instead of keeping Excel files with records of what’s been translated already and who’s doing what – the translation system does the book-keeping.

When I started writing this post, I sent the list of 179 language names to translation. Including lunch, two hours have passed and we’re now half way through the translation for most languages and already completed with some of them. It looks like it’s going to be ready for the 0.99 release, we’re planning for Monday.