Gettext on Wordpress from zero

Wordpress use the functions __ and _e for translating.

This quick tutorial explains how to create a new POT file for pt_BR.

cd /WORDPRESS_DIR/wp-content/themes/THE_THEME/
mkdir languages
touch languages/pt_BR.po
find . -iname "*.php" | xargs xgettext -j -o languages/pt_BR.po -k__ -k_e


  • -j OR --join-existing => Join messages with existing file.
  • -k[keywordspec] OR --keyword[=keywordspec] => Specify keywordspec as an additional keyword to be looked for.
  • -ofile--output=file => Write output to specified file (instead of name.po or messages.po).

Change following lines accordingly:

"Project-Id-Version: PACKAGE VERSION\n"
"Report-Msgid-Bugs-To: \n"
"POT-Creation-Date: 2013-03-25 22:37-0300\n"
"PO-Revision-Date: YEAR-MO-DA HO:MI+ZONE\n"
"Last-Translator: Rafael Goulart <>\n"
"Language-Team: RGOU <>\n"
"Language: Brazilian Porguese \n"
"MIME-Version: 1.0\n"
"Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8\n"
"Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit\n"

Don't forget to change the charset to UTF-8.

Now transalate the POT file you've created, and finally make the MO file:

msgfmt languages/pt_BR.po -o languages/

You can add more translations just running xgettext command again to add new entries, translating and regenerating the MO file:

find . -iname "*.php" | xargs xgettext -j -o languages/pt_BR.po -k__ -k_e

... do your new translations and:

msgfmt languages/pt_BR.po -o languages/