Configuring WPML to work with Thematic WordPress theme

Hope this’ll save someone the same painful process of Google searching leading to broken page links and out of date instructions/screenshots.

So, you’ve got WordPress installed, Thematic as your theme or parent theme and you’ve installed WPML (I’m using v2.3.2), selected your languages and options and are now in ‘Theme and Plugins Localisation’ in the WPML menu in the CMS.

Follow these steps:

  1. Choose ‘Translate by .mo files’, but don’t select the ‘automatically load’ checkbox underneath.
  2. Save
  3. You’ll see a table below with a list of translation files that the plugin is looking for with ‘File not found’ everywhere.
  4. Go to ‘Theme Localisation‘ on the WPML site
  5. Download the language .mo files you want and save them to /wp-includes/languages
  6. Now that’s the WordPress languages done – hopefully if you now refresh the CMS page we’re on, you’ll see ‘File exists’. Ah, that feels good.
  7. Now for the Thematic language files.
  8. Go into thematic/library/languages and copy the .mo files you want to the root thematic folder
  9. Again, refresh the WPML settings page and BOOM! you should now see that all files exist.
  10. Wipe sweat from furrowed brow

I’m using WPML for a custom Thematic child theme, so I’ll post back any further findings of interest.


  1. Hi Zsolt,

    Thanks for your email. I found that WPML works just fine with child themes, just install and configure as per usual.

    It finds and loads the text domain from the parent theme (or did with Thematic anyway) straight off. I avoided using text strings in the child theme – using the icl_object method to retrieve translated text from the DB worked well, and so did the string translation plugin for widgets, etc.

    Hope that’s helpful.

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