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There are multiple ways that you can configure the language of a WordPress installation. For instance, you can change the language site-wide or for an individual user. It's important to note that these methods will not translate your website's content. They will only change the language of the WordPress Administrative Dashboard and only WordPress related text on the front-end. In order to be able to work with multiple languages though, you need to install each one. In this guide, you can learn how to download and install languages for the WordPress Administrative Dashboard.

Download and Install Languages

WordPress automatically downloads and installs languages when you set the Site Language from the Administrative Dashboard. You only need to temporarily change this setting for the language to be installed.

The tricky part of this process is unveiled if you are unfamiliar with the language you need to download. Because you need to set the language site-wide briefly, the settings will change to the new language until you change them back. In the example below, our Site Language setting begins on English (United States) and will be changed to Português do Brasil and immediately changed back to English (United States).

IMPORTANT: Before proceeding with following the instructions below, we STRONGLY recommend that you create a backup and download it. In the rare event that these changes cause issues with your website, you can easily revert them using the backup created prior to beginning.

IMPORTANT: If you have activated any caching plugin(s), we recommend you disable them prior to changing languages to avoid caching the alternative language.

  1. Log into WordPress as the Administrator.

  2. Click on Settings from the Administrative Dashboard menu, located on the left.

  3. Next to Site Language, select the language you would like to download from the drop-down menu.

    NOTICE: The Site Language setting, is the second drop-down menu from the top of the General Settings page. If you are changing your language to one that you are unfamiliar with then you can use this note as a reference, when changing the language back.

  4. Scroll down and click on the Save Changes button.

  5. When the change completes, a green confirmation message is displayed at the top of this page. Then, you can simply change the language back by selecting it from the (second) drop-down menu and clicking the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page.

  6. Once you revert the language setting, hover over the Dashboard option from the menu to the left and click on Updates.

  7. Under Translations click the Update Translations button.


Congratulations! Now that you have downloaded and installed the new language, you can head on over to the User settings and change the language for a user (without affecting the rest of the website).

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Continued Education in Course 102: WordPress Features
You are viewing Section 2: How to Download and Install Languages for the WordPress Administrative Dashboard
Section 1: How to Translate Your WordPress Website Content into Other Languages
Section 3: How to Change the WordPress Dashboard Language for a User

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