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April 25, 2024

bbPress is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create interactive discussion forums. With WPML, you can make your forum system multilingual.

You probably already know at least one multilingual bbPress forum system – the WPML support forum. Our sites run WPML and bbPress together to allow our clients to search for answers and seek support in their native language.

WPML’s multilingual support forum is built using bbPress
WPML’s multilingual support forum is built using bbPress

On This Page:

Getting Started

Start by installing and activating the following plugins:

  • WPML core plugin and WPML String Translation add-on
  • bbPress plugin (version 2.6.9 or above)

If you’re new to WPML, check out our Getting Started Guide. It quickly walks you through different translation options you can use.

Translating Forums

To translate your forums, you first need to set the Forum post type as Translatable. To do this:

  1. Go to WPMLSettings page.
  2. Scroll down to the Post Type Translations section
  3. Set the Forums custom post type to one of the Translatable options.
  4. Click Save.
Marking the Forums custom post type as Translatable
Marking the Forums custom post type as Translatable

Once you set the Forums post type to Translatable, you can translate your forums by yourself, send them to local translators or use a translation service. If you use Translate Everything Automatically, WPML will automatically translate your forums.

After translating your forums, you can see the different forums in each language by clicking on the Forums menu link, then selecting All languages.

Viewing all forums after translation

Adding Translated Forums to Your WordPress Menu

Once you have translated your forums, you can add them to your WordPress menu.

  1. Go to Appearance Menus.
  2. Click on Screen Options in the upper right corner to show the WordPress screen options settings.
  3. Click the checkbox next to Forums in the Screen Elements row. This allows you to add your forums to your site’s menu.
Adding Forums to the screen options
  1. Add the default language forum to the menu and click Save Menu.
Adding the forum to the menu
  1. Click the Synchronize menus between languages link. WPML shows you which items will be added or updated in your secondary language menus. Click Sync and Apply Changes to update them.
Adding the translated forums to your secondary language menus

Translating Other bbPress Texts (Strings)

bbPress comes with its own translations, included in the bbPress MO (translation) file. This means that after you have followed the above steps you already have most of the default bbPress strings translated to your site’s secondary languages, as you can see below:

bbPress provides most of the translation out-of-the-box through its own MO file

If you would like to change any of the string text, you will need to update the translations by following these steps:

  1. Go to WPMLTheme and Plugins localization. Select bbPress from the Strings in the plugins section, and click the Scan the selected plugins for strings button.
Scanning bbPress for strings
  1. Go to WPMLString Translation. Search for the string you would like to translate.
  2. Click the pencil icon to edit the translation.
Updating the translation of a string

You can see the translated strings on the site’s front-end.

Viewing the updated string

Adding Language Switchers

When people enter one of your support forums it can be helpful to show them a list of all the forums available in the other languages.

By default, WPML adds a language switcher to your site’s footer area. You can additionally go to WPML Languages and adding a language switcher to specific areas of your site, like your site’s navigation, menus, or widget areas.

Alternatively, you can add a language switcher to custom locations on your site. You can then customize how the language switcher looks and adjust the settings in the Custom Language Switchers section of the WPML Languages page.

Customizing the language switcher settings

Translating Topics and Replies

Please note: WPML does not support translating bbPress topics and replies.

Known Issues

There are no unresolved compatibility issues between this plugin and WPML. Search all known issues.

Getting Support

As always, if you have any issues or questions, head to our support forum and let us help you resolve them.