Preferred Languages Plugin 2.0: A Step Towards Enhanced Multilingual Experience

The Preferred Languages Feature Plugin needs testing as it moves closer to a core merge proposal

April 6, 2023, 10:23 EDT

The Preferred Languages project, initiated by WordPress Core Committer Pascal Birchler in 2017, is gaining momentum with the release of version 2.0 this week. The feature plugin allows users to select multiple preferred languages in their settings, enabling WordPress to load the first available translation and fall back to the next language in the list.

Birchler stated in a previous update, “More than half of all WordPress sites in the world use a language other than US English.” The plugin aims to improve the user experience for non-English speakers by addressing the issue of WordPress falling back to US English when a translation for a given plugin or theme is not available.

Major Changes in Version 2.0

UI Refactoring with React

The latest update introduces a complete overhaul of the user interface, transitioning from jQuery and jQuery UI to React. This change enhances the plugin’s performance and maintainability.

Improved Accessibility

The drag and drop sorting functionality has been removed to improve accessibility. Users should still find the plugin’s appearance mostly unchanged.

Compatibility and Test Coverage

Version 2.0 is now compatible with wp_textdomain_registry and switch_to_user_locale() for users on WordPress 6.1+. Additionally, unit test coverage has been brought up to nearly 100%.

Testing and Core Merge Proposal

With over 2,000 active installs, Birchler is now calling for people to test the Preferred Languages plugin update. He believes the plugin is nearing a core merge proposal. However, there are still some concerns that need to be addressed.

Translation Merging

Birchler mentioned that the concept of translation merging is a significant remaining question mark. By default, if only some missing strings are in a selected locale, these would be displayed in English. With translation merging, the missing strings will be taken from the locale next in line instead.

While this solution works well, it could potentially be slow due to the way translations are loaded in WordPress. Any help addressing this potential performance concern would be greatly appreciated.

How to Contribute

Testers can contribute to the Preferred Languages project by:

  1. Submitting code on GitHub
  2. Leaving feedback on the support forum
  3. Opening new issues to submit bug reports


The Preferred Languages plugin seeks to make using WordPress and its plugin and theme ecosystems more accessible for non-English speakers. Testing and further development of this project will be crucial to achieving this goal and providing a more inclusive multilingual experience.

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