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WordPress is natively set up to be global. Today the Content Management System (CMS) dominates more than 28 percent of the internet, but to conquer the other 72 percent, WordPress must become even more accessible – and a huge part of that comes from WordPress translation.
Pop quiz: Out of the ten countries that search most often for “WordPress themes,” what’s the highest rank achieved by an English-speaking country?
If you guessed the United States, you’re wrong. In fact, the United States comes in 9th and the English-language version doesn’t even makeup half of all WordPress core file downloads.
Of course, these facts shouldn’t be surprising, since English is far from the most commonly-spoken language in the world. It’s third, behind Mandarin and Spanish.
One reason why WordPress is so widely adopted around the world is because it’s available in so many different languages. In 2014, the number of English downloads was surpassed for the first time by non-English downloads.
What’s more, the digital marketplace is increasingly global. As web technologies expand, improve, and become more accessible to countries all over the world, the barriers to exchange information, goods, services, and currency are all dropping. So if you’re thinking of hopping on the multilingual bandwagon, that’s a smart, forward-thinking idea.
WordPress is today translated into more and more languages. The WordPress Polyglots team – who have been translating WordPress since 2003 – are spearheading this project, working to make the CMS available to everyone. Petya Raykovska of Human Made is a lead contributor for Polyglots and has been steadfast in her goal to help translate WordPress.
Making WordPress global
Raykovska began translating WordPress in 2011, when she needed a version of WordPress translated in Bulgarian. At that time, the Bulgarian version of WordPress wasn’t complete. Before she could continue her work, she needed to fully translate WordPress.
“I found out you can contribute and got in touch with the people who were validating strings in Bulgarian. I got hooked and not long after became a validator myself, and then started leading the translation efforts in my native language,” she said.
That led Raykovska to the Polyglots P2, where she was first introduced to the team. Later, in 2013, Raykovska met several folks from the Polytgots team in real life in Leiden, during the inaugural WordCamp Europe. Raykovska worked closely with the team during contributor day at WCEU 2013.
“WCEU 2013 contributor day is when I fell in love with the community, the work, and the atmosphere surrounding those events,” Raykovska said.
Raykovska immediately wanted to get more involved. She jumped in – first into translating WordPress, then helping the global translation team, and then organizing WordCamp Europe herself and getting involved in any other areas where she thought she could be valuable. “Now WordPress is part of my life,” Raykovska said.
According to the most recent data (as of June 12), almost 50 percent percent of all WordPress sites run in languages other than English, Raykovska told Torque. That’s more than 13 percent of the entire internet, which speaks volumes of just how global WordPress has become.
“I believe internationalization was one of the main reasons WordPress was so heavily adopted in the early days as well,” she said.
Since 2014 – when non-English downloads surpassed English downloads – the percent of sites running WordPress in different languages has stayed constant despite the growing share of the software worldwide. “It is obvious how important translation is to the growth of WordPress,” she said. Many of the major internationalization efforts around WordPress are highlighted in The Story of WordPress (Part 2, chapter 1).
“Localization empowers many users to leverage the software more freely and easily (in more than 100 languages),” she said “and help grow local communities around the world.”
In the past two years, we’ve been organizing global translation contributor days that helped many local communities get started, Raykovska told Torque. Translation is an easy way to contribute and gives people a sense of ownership – making them more loyal, and incentivizing them to get involved in other parts of WordPress such as organizing events, contributing to core, or building plugins and themes.
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