90% of WPML users run multilingual blogs and 10% use it with custom themes, using WordPress as CMS. What about all the great premium themes out there?
Turning themes multilingual is too much work
Premium WordPress themes are complex beasts. When folks purchase them, they’re ready to be used and provide tons of functionality.
This means you can build great sites without burning precious time.
To make the themes multilingual, folks need to follow complicated instructions and edit delicate code. It’s not easy, even for us. Some of the challenges we keep seeing:
- Featured contents on home page.
- Special pages appearing in the home page, sidebar and footer.
- Adding different types of language selectors to match the site’s appearance.
When we do this, we spend anything between several hours to several days – per theme, and we’re pretty experienced at it.
WPML will do it for you
We’re working on making WPML way smarter than it is now. Instead of WPML asking you to edit theme, it will practically do it all for you.
How this works is a bit difficult to explain, but the essence is that every time the theme gets posts, pages, tags or categories from WordPress, WPML will intervene and tell WordPress to return the right stuff according to the display language.
For instance, supposing the ID of your About page in English is 32 and its Spanish translation has an ID of 33. The theme doesn’t know the site is running multilingual, so even when displayed in Spanish, it still asks WP for the contents of page 32.
WPML sees that. It knows that the page is in Spanish, so it tells WP to return page 33 – the Spanish translation.
The theme doesn’t know that anything happened. It asked for the About page and it got it, just in the right language.
WPML already has functions for converting between IDs in different languages. The big difference is that now it will call these functions for you, without having to edit anything in the theme.
All this new theme magic is going into WPML 1.7.0. We’re skipping the small bugfix release in favor of adding this new major functionality.
If you’re using complex premium themes, we’d love it if you can test this new stuff before it’s released.
To help, leave a comment here or post in the forum.