WPML 2.0 lets themes tell it what needs translation. We’re looking for volunteers to take ownership of multilingual operation for major theme frameworks.

Maybe I best start with an example.

Property Listing Site

Supposing you’re building a site that lists properties and you want it running multilingual.

With WordPress 3, the correct way to build it would be by using custom post types for properties and custom taxonomies. Shared attributes (like zone and type) would use custom taxonomies and specific attributes, like price and location, would use custom fields.

Your client will add properties to the site and now it needs to be translated. This is where things get interesting.

How is the translator supposed to know how to operate this? It’s one thing having to train the client, but now you need to teach WordPress administration to several translators.

Meet WPML’s Language Configuration Files

WPML 2.0 will allow themes and plugin to tell it what needs translation. Now, your properly listing file can tell WPML that the ‚properties‘ type is multilingual, that it needs to copy the ‚price‘ and ‚address‘ custom fields to translations and that the ‚zone‘ custom taxonomy should be translated.

Translators will not need to know anything about WordPress in order to translate. When the admin sends properties to translation, WPML will collect all the relevant fields and taxonomy and send to translation. The translator will translate them as text fields and WPML will create back everything in WordPress.

For this to work, WPML will need to find the language configuration file in the theme.

Language Configuration Files for Theme Frameworks

Fortunately, most sites are not coded from scratch. Developers use theme frameworks as basis.

We’re looking for volunteers to test WPML 2.0 on different theme frameworks and build the language configuration files for them.

We’ll get two things from that:

  • WPML and these frameworks will work perfectly together.
  • Any theme you base on these frameworks would be extra easy to translate.

It’s good for you and good for your clients. Imagine how much time you’re going to save for your client and for yourself, when WPML knows how to translate the site. There’s nothing more to document or explain.

Which Themes?

For some time now, we’ve been working with major theme design houses to make sure that their themes are multilingual-ready. We’re looking for people to help maintain the language configuration files for Atahualpa, Thematic, Viva Themes, WooThemes, StudioPress and other great themes (see list in the forum thread).

If you’re using any of these themes, or a different popular theme framework, join that thread. In the forum, we can paste code snips and XML contents, so we can exchange information easily.

You’ll get to work with WPML’s developers directly, improve WPML and make it work much better with your theme frameworks. What are you waiting for?