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We are ready with a first development version of WPML 3.2. This release packs big improvements for everyone running multilingual WordPress sites and is expected to be production-ready in about 4 weeks.

String Translation – From Any Language to Any Language

So far, WPML’s String Translation supported only one source language and that language was set to English. This is because our String Translation mechanism worked much like GetText – everything is translated from one language to all others.

As we discovered, this causes a convoluted workflow when the site’s default language is other than English.

Selection for source language of string contexts
Selection for source language of string contexts

In WPML 3.2, you will be able to select the source language for different contexts. So, the ‘WordPress core’ context will be hard-wired to English, scanned themes and plugins will default to English (but you can change it) and the site’s admin strings will default to the site’s default language. Sorry if this sentence takes 5 times to read.

Strings have an explicit source language
Strings have an explicit source language

Bottom line, you will be able to translate from the original language of the strings to all the site’s languages in a much more natural way.

Translation Basket

Many times, it’s convenient to collect items for translation and send them all at once. WPML 3.2 introduces the concept of ‘Translation Basket’. It will be similar to the ‘cart’ in e-commerce sites. You can go through your site’s content (posts and strings) and throw items to the translation basket. They would still not go to translation. Then, review the content of the basket, see that you’re happy and send everything at once. Your translators will receive one package of everything in this round of updates, instead of a trickle of content and strings.

Translation Basket in WPML 3.2
Translation Basket in WPML 3.2

More Professional Translation Services

Yes, we are also responsible for ICanLocalize and we like our translation service very much, but people need choices. WPML 3.2 will include more options for professional translation, fully integrated into WPML. We are working with leading translation services, adding them to WPML. If you are working with a translation service today, we want you to be able to keep using it when you buy WPML. If you already have a relationship with a translation service, you will only see it in the translation offering. If you buy WPML and are looking for a translation service, you will see a list of all available ones.

String Translation Packages

WPML 3.2 will make it much easier to translate ‘complex’ site elements. We see a lot of this in page builders, event managers and form plugins. The ‘String Translation Packages’ allows WPML to translate such elements with just tiny code in their side (two filters, added in strategic locations). We are currently looking integration with ACF, Visual Composer, Headway and Pagelines DMS. Integration with our own Layouts plugin is already complete and fully working.

With String Translation Packages, you can translate virtually anything. WPML will ‘see’ the items for translation as objects with strings. You will see them in the Translation Dashboard and select these items like you select any other WordPress content. Then, send to translation using any method that you prefer.

If you are working with a plugin that is difficult to translate with WPML, talk with us. We’d like to start a conversation with the author and get this integration rolling. The great thing is, that this integration takes very little development effort. The author of the other plugin (or theme) only needs to add a few lines of PHP, with these two filters. WPML takes care of the rest. There is no performance impact and translation is very convenient for you.

Known Issues

This is a first development snapshot. A lot works and we want to get your feedback on it. Some is broken. All these things (and possibly more) are not working right now. Of course, we will only release WPML 3.2 when everything here, and everything else we or you find gets fixed.

  • SEO sitemaps breaks CSS and JS when using WPML ‘Use directory for default language’ setting
  • There might be some notice when switching language in pages
  • Tag archive template might not work when switching language
  • Terms which use the same name in different language might not be working when hierarchical taxonomies are involved
  • Professional translation is not functional at the moment

Download, Try and Give us Feedback

WPML 3.2 is currently in intensive development. You should only try it on development sites. There may be all sorts of issues, beyond the list above. We recommend to try it on fresh installs or on copies of development sites. If you are building a site for a client and you need to deliver it soon, switching to WPML 3.2 (dev) will most likely delay you.

However, if you can spare a few minutes to experiment with the new features, it would be awesome! We really want your feedback on the changes to String Translation and the Translation Basket.

We will try to push updated development version every week, so that you can see how it’s going and to address anything that’s reported to us during the week.

This download is available from your WPML account. Log in and click on Downloads. Under WPML Beta Package. You should download, unzip it and use all of WPML components that you need, from that package. A mix of old and new versions will not work.

Beta package download
Beta package download

Questions? Ideas? Suggestions? Leave your comments and we will get back to you.

14 Responses to “WPML 3.2 First Alpha”

    • Hi Chris! Thanks for bringing this up. We’re going to re-test this issue that we thought it had been fixed already and follow up with that on the support ticket that you mentioned. However, this is likely not directly related to WPML 3.2.

  1. Ability to hide the active language in the menu switcher from the dashboard would be a really great addition (no need to “switch” to the language you are already looking at). Also better integration with woocommerce as chris mentioned.

    • WPML allows you to completely hide languages, while they are still active in the WordPress admin. This lets you translate without visitors seeing it. To use it, go to WPML-Languages. Scroll down to ‘hide languages’. Once you hide languages, you can enable them for yourself. Go to your profile and scroll to the bottom. You will see a checkbox to enable hidden languages.

  2. There are many complaints about perfermance and speed with WPML. Will this be solved with the new version?


    • WPML includes several features which are meant for development and can significantly slow down sites. The GUI includes messages about not using them in production sites but sometimes people overlook these messages.

      The main causes for getting speed issues when using WPML are:
      – Activating String Translation development features in production sites (like automatically registering strings on front-end)
      – Having automatic ID translation when the theme loads a gazillion items using individual queries
      – Sites that use a lot of plugins, widgets to queries and having WPML translate their strings and objects

      Our supporters know how to identify and help in these cases. When they cannot, the issue is raised to our development team, who can help even further. If you are willing to spend a bit of effort optimizing things, our team will gladly help. Problem happen when developers say “I’m not willing to make a single tweak, I want to display all this richness, exactly as is, and I’m not going to look at the underlying code. Deal with it.”

      You can probably understand that this makes it very difficult to optimize things and improve performance.

      If you buy WPML and run into performance problems, the simple optimizations should help a lot. Then, simplifying the loaded content can make a huge impact on performance.

      Does this help at all?

    • We’re laying the infrastructure, but we’ll also need help from Headway team to complete the integration. With this new infrastructure, their part becomes tiny, but it’s still needed. To get full compatibility between Headway and WPML, we’ll need people to remind Headway team. Can you sound your voice and add a reference to this in Headway support?

  3. Hi

    Some of these updates are excellent additions to your software. Keep up the good work.

    One function I think WPML is currently lacking is the ability to serve a different media file per language.

    For example: Within a post I would like to show a different image for each language. In some cases the image for the English post needs to be slightly different for the French version.

    This also true for other media types. It would be really useful to be able to provide a different (localised) attachment file (Word, PDF, Excel etc) for each language. For example, if I want to include a link in a post to a PDF file stored in the media library. It would be really useful to have the capability to provide the PDF content in English for English posts, in French for French posts etc.

    Currently there is no easy or supported way to provide media files for each language.

    It would be great if you could provide an option so that when I am uploading a media file (image, PDF or Office Doc) that I have the option to upload a different file for each supported language.

    And of course if you don’t want to upload a different media file per language you could use the WPML Media plugin to upload one media file for all languages and just translate the file meta data.

    I realize this is a feature request, I just want to keep it in the discussion for future updates. Thanks J

    • Very soon but I cannot provide you with exact dates, as they said “life happens”. Once it is released you will see a new blog post about it.