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Written by:
Martin Barrett
Last Updated:
Languages In Buddyboss All You Need To Know

How To Have A Language Selection On BuddyBoss Theme?

When you are building a website, having the right plugins can be a real game changer. Some sites need plugins for shops, videos, streaming, and some need plugins for online communities and socialization on their sites. 

This is basically what Buddyboss is for, however, Buddyboss also knows that there is more than one correct language in the world, and therefore when using Buddyboss it is critical to understand how languages work around this.

Let’s take some time today to learn about Buddyboss and how languages work in Buddyboss. Learn all you need to know about this awesome BuddyBoss plugin and how to have a language selection on BuddyBoss theme.

What Is Buddyboss?

Buddyboss is a premium plugin for the WordPress admin panel that allows its users to create online communities on their sites. This includes full engagement features such as private groups and online forums. 

Buddyboss also has options for things such as member connections and private messaging, similar to other social media platforms. 

Alternatively, you can also integrate Buddyboss with Learndash and through this create online courses

Buddyboss is a more thorough and comprehensive replacement for WordPress’’ previous plugin known as Buddypress.

Languages & Translations 

Much like WordPress itself, BuddyBoss can be used in any language. If you have already configured WordPress in your current language, it should be easy enough to understand and configure.

Much like WordPress, you do not need to lift a finger to apply BuddyPress/BuddyBoss translations or updates, and most sites will generally just automatically apply any updates regarding language in the background. 

Is Your Language Not There?

With the previous BuddyPress Multilingual plugin, the translation packages would only be updated if the string translation was 100% done, so if you did not see your language after updating translations, then you would perhaps need to consider contributing to the translation project. 

However, note that with BuddyBoss this is not so much of an issue, and translations are much better with this new plugin.

Translating The Buddyboss Platform

If you want to translate the BuddyBoss Platform, you may wish to change the labels, text, and notices through the platform if your site is in a different language switcher.

Another solution is a Loco translate plugin that can help you in some situations.

Note that you do not actually want to modify the text in the code of the plugin as it would be removed as soon as you update the plugin, resulting in a tedious task of repetition.

All that you need to do is modify the text using the language translation files. 

This is the same across all of the plugins for WordPress.

how to have a language selection on buddyboss theme

Language Files

BuddyBoss displays, by default, in U.S. English, but the theme has the ability to be used in any language. Each language instance in the theme will be tied to a translation file, this can be used to translate the theme into your language. 

There are two ways of doing this, you can use a WordPress plugin, or you can edit the language files yourself with desktop software.

Language files can be confusing, the first part of the filename will show a naming structure that identifies the language it is to be translated content to, such as en_US would be U.S. English. 

The second half of the filename will inform your computer of which file it needs to use. Note that the .po extension is also telling you it is a ‘portable object’ zip file, so it is the readable version of the language file for humans. 

The .mo extension means that it is the machine-optimized version of the language file that the software requires. 

Most translations are made in the PO file and then when you save this the MO file will be updated automatically.

Translating With WordPress Logins

Two of the most popular plugins for language translation are the WPML plugin and the Codestyling Localization.

We prefer Codestyling Localization plugins as they are free, so if you were using BuddyBoss, and you wanted to translate it into Spanish or maybe German, we will go through this now, using Codestyling Localization.

  1. Firstly, you need to install and activate the plugin Codestyling Localization. 
  2. Then, go into Tools, and then Localization. 
  3. Find “BuddyBoss [your version]”, and then click on the option saying “Add New Language” 
  4. Now, select the radio button for your country and click to “create po-file”. When this is done, a .po file should be created in the folder “/buddyboss/languages/.” Note that as the file shows up its name will be relevant to the language, e.g. German would be de_DE.
  5. Then for your country e.g. Germany, you need to click on ‘Rescan’, and then “Scan Now”. 
  6. Then, again for your country, click ‘Edit’. Once you have done this, it will bring up another page that lists the language instances that can be translated.
  7. Find the column titled ‘Actions’ and click ‘Edit’ for every language instance that you wish to translate. 
  8. Then type in your translation for each instance of the language, and click to save each time you are done.
  9. Once you have completed this, then click to ‘generate mo-file” and you should then see a .mo file created in the folder. 
  10. If your server is German, then you should be able to see your German translations appear on the site, live, at this point. If this is not working yet, then you might need to change your country in the wp-config.php, so you can reflect the translation. 

This is probably the easiest option, and our preferred way to do this, however, you could do it directly as well. Which we will go through now.

Editing Language Files Manually

If you wish to do this instead, you will need special software to edit the files. If you have a Mac, then Poedit is best, Pootle and GNU Gettext are both good, but Poedit is the best in our opinion. 

Once you have the software, find the files in the /buddyboss/languages/ file, then copy these files into your child theme and put them into /buddyboss-child/languages/. 

You should then be this line in the functions.php file, uncommented in your child theme: 

“Load_theme_textdomain( ‘buddyboss’, get_stylesheet_directory() . ‘/languages’ ).

This line informs the WordPress site to load the child themes’ language files in place of the older theme’s language files. If you see the text domain written as ‘buddyboss_child’, then you want to change it so it reads ‘Buddyboss’. 

If you were to translate into Spanish then you should copy en_US.po and and rename them es_ES.po and 

Then open up the PO file in Poedit and the software should show a bunch of text like to translate, and make your translations, and when you save, the .mo file should auto–update.


It might seem complicated at first glance, but when you do it, it is much easier than it seems. You just need the right tools and a bit of tech know-how to be able to get it sorted. 

It is much easier than previous programs and works better than BuddyPress did. We hope this helps you get to grips with languages in BuddyBoss.

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