WordPress is huge. It's so big that even though we know how many websites are there using WordPress, it's difficult to imagine how widely it's being used.
I mean, we know the numbers, but it's easy to be amazed by how often we stumble upon another WordPress-powered website. It's safe to say that WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world.
Even though it's awesome that WordPress is the most popular CMS, there is one important issue about WordPress: We don't have enough WordPress data (content, resources and support) outside the English-speaking world.
I mean, yes, you can always find some great content written in other popular languages like Spanish, French, German or Chinese but looking at everything that's been created in English for WordPress so far, we can guess that there are more data in English than data in other languages combined.
As a native English speaker, you may not be able to comprehend the gravity of this situation, but foreigners like me will definitely agree with me on this: We need more content, more resources and more support for WordPress. And since data doesn't create itself, we foreign WordPress users have to contribute to the world of WordPress.
There are, of course, many ways to contribute to WordPress in your own language. In this post, we're going to go through the most effective ones: contributing to the Codex, translating WordPress-related resources (including WordPress itself) and writing & translating WordPress articles.
Contributing to the Codex
I recently came across to a TED talk about incentives, where Daniel Pink shares his research about motivation. A part of the talk was dedicated to the stories of Wikipedia and Microsoft's Encarta: Microsoft poured a lot of money to experts to create and edit articles for Encarta, but Wikipedia did (and still does) without giving a penny to the contributors. This isn't being cheap: This is giving people purpose. (Purpose is one of the three elements Dan Pink claims to be effective to motivate people.)
As for the Codex, the same approach should be taken with Wikipedia: Don't expect anything from contributing, but know that it will get to people speaking your native language and grow WordPress among your country.
How to Contribute to the Codex
While not as simple as Wikipedia, contributing to the Codex is fairly easy:
- Required. Create your account at WordPress.org and log in.
- Recommended. Create your User Page (for editors to keep in touch with you, when necessary).
- Required. Read these Codex pages: Guidelines, Styles, Contributing and Multilingual.
- Recommended. Subscribe to the Make WordPress Documentation blog from the sidebar.
- Highly Recommended. If there are translation teams at Make WordPress Polyglots, work with them.
After taking these steps, creating new articles or editing existing ones is a piece of cake. One of the most important things that you need to do is to add a language cross-reference link to the original, and add all of the cross-reference links to your own article.
Translating the Core, Plugins, and Themes
As I said earlier, data doesn't create itself. (At least, just not yet.) And that goes for all the WordPress-related resources around the internet: If a resource needs to be translated, it needs to be translated by someone. That someone might as well be you.
You can do it for different reasons:
- Doing it to help: If you're happy with your theme or your plugin, you can reward the author by sending them a translation file. Or, if you really like WordPress and help it translate into your language (if it hasn't been already), you can help people use WordPress in their own language.
- Doing it to make a name for yourself: If you want people to know you as a translator, you can ask plugin or theme authors to become their translators. I myself started contributing to WordPress by offering plugin authors my translation services for free; and now I'm the Turkish translator of some very popular plugins like All in One SEO Pack, Google XML Sitemaps and WP Super Cache. I didn't anything in return but it was nice to know that WordPress users knew my name in my country.
- Doing it to make money: I'm not saying it's the best way to make money, but you can make money translating WordPress resources—paid plugins or premium themes, for example. If the author thinks it might add value to the product, they might agree to pay you in exchange for your translation service.
- Doing it to grow your collection: If you can't afford to purchase a new theme or that awesome plugin with a three-digit price tag, you might want to contact the author and ask for the resource in exchange for your translation service.
Writing and Translating WordPress Articles
This should be a no-brainer: WordPress-related news, tutorials, tips, hacks or any kind of written content is one of the best things you'll ever do to contribute to the world of WordPress in your own language. Why? I'm going to answer this in Turkish: Because içerik kraldır!
And trust me, it's not that hard to create content. Off the top of my head, I can think of two different ways:
- Writing from scratch: If you think you're creative, it shouldn't be difficult for you to write a new WordPress-related post every couple of days. You can publish news, create free or premium theme/plugin lists, let your readers know about sales or deals, organize giveaways, and so on. Publish at least a post every two/three days and you'll get a loyal audience.
- Translating articles from another language: If you don't think you can come up with a couple of new post ideas every week, you can still maintain a useful blog by translating posts from another language. If the author and/or the website allows you to do so (probably with a link to the original articles at the bottom of your posts), you can publish their posts in your native language. It's a beautiful way to create original and useful content.
These are the first ideas come to mind about contributing to WordPress in your own language. Can you think of another? Share your thoughts below!
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