gettext – The Most Useful Filter in WordPress

camera filter

So you've found the perfect plugin: it has all of the functionality you need, it's within your budget, and there's surprisingly awesome support. Great – but what if you need to change just one little line of text? What if you want to do something simple like change “Add to Cart” to “Add to Basket”? Or change “Related Products” to “See these related products”?

If you're lucky there's a filter for that particular string but sometimes there isn't. Then what do you do?

Codestyling Localization

You could certainly use something like Codestyling Localization which is nice for people who has no coding ability but do you really want to have to edit the .po file every time a new version of the plugin comes out? Of course not.

Cue the gettext Filter

This is where the incredibly useful gettext filter comes in. If you take a peek at your plugin's code you'll see strings like this:

You can easily translate these strings by adding a filter to your functions.php file:

Easy huh? You can add as many translations to that filter as you need.

Final Result

With just 15 lines of code I was able to translate several strings on the WooCommerce single product page.

gettext translation screenshot

Using just 15 lines of code I translated three separate strings on the WooCommerce product page.

After seeing these examples do you have any doubt that the gettext filter is one of WordPress' most useful functions?

Image credit: Wikiepedia.org

76 thoughts on “gettext – The Most Useful Filter in WordPress

  1. Awesome work on this Patrick! Needed help changing the labels in WooCommerce from products to items and this solved my needs perfectly! Thanks again!

  2. Really useful post Patrick, thanks! It will be useful to change some of the WooCommerce text strings that seem badly worded or out of place on my particular site. It would be useful if you could modify your example code above to show how two or more text strings can be changed. I guess extra ‘cases’, but not sure of the exact syntax.

    Cheers, James 🙂

  3. So this was working merrily until updating wordpress I believe.. or perhaps it was another plugin but since then – http://grab.by/s7Bq

    I’ve had to disable the functions until I figure out what is causing it.. any ideas?

  4. Hey Patrick.

    Thanks for sharing! That’s something I looked for a while.

    I took a look at the WP Codex. It says:
    ” IMPORTANT: This filter is always applied even if internationalization is not in effect, and if the text domain has not been loaded. If there are functions hooked to this filter, they will always run. This could lead to a performance problem.”

    So did you fell any performance issue???

    Cheers

    • Hey Martin, no performance issues my side. The key here is if you have performance issues.

      • If you mean: performance issue on your website? Nop. 🙂

        I meant it generally. Maybe on another website.

        Although I’m thankful for your post, I will stay on editing the strings via .po and .mo files.

        For those who want to know:
        I use the woocommerce-en_GB.mo and woocommerce-en_GB.po files.
        I moved these files from woocommerce/i18n/languages to to wp-content/languages/woocommerce/. Important: MOVE not copy, or nothing will happen. 🙂
        This place is upgrade safe (see http://docs.woothemes.com/document/woocommerce-localization/).
        Then I download these files on my computer. Editing happens with the programm “Poedit”. Saving those files. Uploading again.
        One last important change in the wp-config.php file: define(‘WPLANG’, ‘en_GB‘);
        So WP knows, which translation it loads.

        And done. 🙂

        • I been on it for 4 days now and your note on MOVING and not just copying finally did the trick. Can’t thank you enough sir 😀

          Cheers. Sammy

  5. Beyond thanks man! It works like a charm.

  6. Hi,
    Cool code is there a way to limit this to change a string only on say the single product page. Other places I want it to stay the same.

  7. This is great! I was using some complicated way to achieve the same thing that was just a pain to use – this is too easy. Thanks Pat!

  8. very cool. Any clue how I could further the awesomeness by changing “Check out these related products” to be something different for different categories of products?

  9. Hi Patrick or anyone who can help.

    I need to change “Sign-up fee” text in WooCommerce Subscriptions. The text is misleading for what I’m trying to do and I need to get that sorted like yesterday. It’s killing the launch of our site. I’m very green to all this and need to know where these files are on the server normally and where in the php do I need to add this code which is talked about in this post.

    I would be really great full if someone can help

  10. Great help, thanks Patrick! Do you know any way to insert a Font Awesome icon next to translated text… right now it just shows the icon text, not icon. ie

    case 'Place order' :
    $translated_text = __( '<i></i> Buy Now', 'woocommerce' );
    break;

  11. Hey Patrick

    This was a great help to me last year and I changed a couple of strings really easily for me and my site. But yesterday I updated the site to WordPress 4.0 & WooCommerce 2.2.4 and now the strings are not working – the labels I previously had changed are back to normal!

    Any suggestions gratefully received 🙂

    • Hey Andy,

      Most likely the strings have changed in some small way. I’d go through the source code and make sure they’re the exact same. The gettext() filter hasn’t gone anywhere.

      • Thanks for the reply Patrick thats good to know 🙂 So any idea what file the strings are stored in for the WooCommerce Cart page? Its been a while since I last looked at this! I guess probably cart.php or something similar?

  12. This was extremely helpful. The gettext page on the codex is a bit abstract so I’m glad I found an example of how to put it to real life use – and with Woo Commerce which I’m recently getting into! Thanks for the tips!

  13. Looks like this is only helpful if your website is only in one language. Or could you make a differentiation between to languages with this filter?

    This would make woocommerce templates / wordpress templates customizing more flexible.

    • WordPress out of the box only supports one language at a time. You would have to install WPML or a similar plugin to have multiple languages. Regardless, you should be able to translate “Carrito” which means cart in Spanish to “Bolsa” which means bag. You can then do the same for any other languages.

  14. I was wondering if it would be possible to change all occurrences of the word Product to Item sitewide, even if this is just part of a string? Of course we could filter all strings that include this word, but that would take a lot of code. So would it be possible too, to change this word in every string that includes it with fewer lines of code with the gettext filter?

    • You could use the gettext filter to do this but it would be very taxing. You would have to write a regular expression and run every single string on the page through it. I would instead write out the code to replace every string line by line. Tedious but not as much of a strain on your site.

      • Thanks for your reply Patrick! Setting lines of code for every single string to get better site performance as a result is absolutely worth it in my opinion then. Thanks again!

        • Hello,

          I am using WPML and i was not able to change strings with gettext filter. I want to change all product words with ticket. How can I set lines of code? I have very little code knowledge.

          • Hey Akif,

            I’d guess that WPML is preventing this somehow. I’d reach out to them and see if they can help you with this. Short of that it’ll probably have to be custom developed.

          • Hi Akif, I am also using WPML and it works fine for me. Maybe you mistyped part of the code?

          • Hi Emiel, it is interesting, i am using adrenalin theme (commercegurus) and it didn’t work. Could you give me the code that you used? I put it on my child theme’s functions.php file, is it the right location?

          • Hi Akif, the child theme’s funtions.php is the correct file to place the code in.
            Here’s the code that should work for you too:

            function my_text_strings( $translated_text, $text, $domain ) {
            switch ( $translated_text ) {
            case 'Product' :
            $translated_text = __( 'Ticket', 'woocommerce' );
            break;
            }
            return $translated_text;
            }
            add_filter( 'gettext', 'my_text_strings', 20, 3 );

            Regards, Emiel.

          • Yes, It works! Thanks a lot!

            Best Regards, Akif

          • I am using WPML also, and have added on the category product pages a text on english Read more -> that appears after each category product. But, when switching to Swedish text I want the words to be translated into Läs Mer ->. WMPL does not catch this manually added text, but can I use a code snippet to translate this words between languages?
            Any help is appreciated.

          • Hey Peter,

            I’m not really sure how the inner workings of WPML function. You should really reach out to them about how to use the gettext filter with their plugin.

          • @Peter: This can be done like this:
            – Customize the original text using Patrick’s gettext filter.
            – Find the original string in WPML and set tranalations to completed status.
            – Find the customized string in your wp (child) theme text domain and translate it.
            – Also set status to translation completed.

            I customized many strings this way on my site, which are also translatable in WPML.

            Let me know if it works for you too.

  15. Thank you for this code snippet! I am a total WP beginner and don’t know how to use Poedit, so your solution is easier for me 🙂

    It worked on everything but “Scroll to top”arrow that my theme has. When you hover over the arrow, it shows a bubble that says “To the top!”. I would like to translate this into German but your code didn’t work for this…any idea what I would need to do? I am using the Virtue theme from WordPress.org.

    • The code should work for just about anything really. It’s possible your theme hard coded that text without running it through the WordPress translation functions. That would make it impossible to translate. I’d reach out to the theme developer for help with this.

    • The ‘To the top!’ text is hard coded in the virtue/assets/js/plugins.js script.
      This is from: jQuery Scroll to Top Control on dynamicdrive.com

      Unfortunately as get_template_directory_uri() is used in lib/scripts.php to load the plugins.js script, you cannot override it in a child theme. Having said that, as scripts.php is loaded by functions.php using locate_tempate(), maybe you could copy scripts.php and plugins.js into a child theme directory and edit plugins.js.

      As you say you are a WP beginner, this is getting complicated. I don’t have another solution.

  16. Hello, is there any way to replace some word in text with link but only words dos not has link
    ex:

    hi my name is ahmed , go to my site and replace ahmed with str_replace('ahmed', '<a>ahmed</a>' , 'text');

    will be hi my name is <a>ahmed</a>,

    but the problem is if is run this function again i got this:
    hi my name is <a><a><a>ahmed</a></a></a>

    How do you fix this?

  17. This is a HUGE help! Thank you is not enough! Bless you, Patrick!

  18. Hi Patrick, what does the 20, 3 mean in the final line?

  19. Life saver! Thanks!

  20. Hi Patrick,

    I was wondering how can I use this filter in a multisite instal ?

    So for example I have 2 domains or blogs under 1 multisite – Example.com and Example.com/one or blog id 1 and blog id 2 if you like.

    If I need to change the “Related Products” label on blog 1 to “More Product Like This” and then to “Similar Products” on the blog 2.

    How can I go about this ?

    I’ve been trying to figure it out on my own, but just can’t get it working.

  21. Hey! Do you know of a way to get rid of the shipping method label in the customer’s billing email? I use only one shipping method through a plugin and I do not want customers to be confused when they see the shipping method on their billing email.

    In other words I do not want, ” Shipping: $16.95 via Tree Table Rate” appearing on their billing email. I want just “Shipping: $16.95” to appear on their billing email.

    Thank you!

    • There’s most likely a different filter you can use for that. I’d reach out to Codeable.

    • @Meleah: The ‘woocommerce_order_shipping_to_display_shipped_via’ filter might be the one:
      $shipping .= apply_filters( ‘woocommerce_order_shipping_to_display_shipped_via’, ‘ ‘ . sprintf( __( ‘via %s’, ‘woocommerce’ ), $this->get_shipping_method() ) . ”, $this );

      You should be able to return an empty string to blank it out.

  22. Thanks for this excellent post Patrick. Was exactly what I needed.

    More than 2 years on, this post seems to be the post that keeps on giving! 🙂

  23. Thanks Patrick,

    for anyone needing to get it to work on ‘You may also like…’ upsells text you have to include … in the code in place of the 3 dots. Like this:

    case ‘You may also like…’ :
    $translated_text = __( ‘Additional Product Options’, ‘woocommerce’ );
    break;

    • ha caught out by html interpretting the hellip. I’ll explain again in long hand: thats replace the 3 dots with ampersand hellip semi-colon. Like this:

      case ‘You may also like ampersand hellip semi-colon’ :
      $translated_text = __( ‘Additional Product Options’, ‘woocommerce’ );
      break;

    • To change this text it is probably more efficient to copy templates/single-product/up-sells.php to your theme directory (THEMEDIR/woocommerce/single-product/up-sells.php). Otherwise the code is being executed for every string, which can only slow your site down a bit.

  24. EXCELLENT! Thank you so much for this post! I ran into this problem using Gravity Flow for Gravity Forms and searched around for any possible solution. I’ve been a Joomla developer for several years and like Drupal, there are Language Overrides built in for this very reason. I cannot believe WordPress doesn’t have this as a feature!!!! Especially since this post is now almost 3 years old.

  25. Very useful. Thanks alot for the article worked like a charm

  26. Patrick,
    if your examples were inside of a plugin, would it be required for us to “unhook” gettext manually, or is wordPress able to do that on it’s own in the background?

    Thanks

  27. Hi, how to apply this code to the part of website that not provided by Woocommerce? Is it just by changing the $domain ???

    So how to find my plugin $domain name?

    • You don’t have to know the $domain name – the code can examine every string and will only change the strings you want. I think that it is better to first check $domain so that the code can exit early if necessary.

      Is the plugin on wordpress.org? If so someone can look at the code and show you where the $domain name is set for that plugin.

  28. Hello,
    I would like to transform “Username or email address” of my-account/form-login.php (woocommerce) to “E-Mail”. I added the following code to my childtheme’s functions.php but nothing changed – any idea what’s wrong?:
    function my_text_strings( $translated_text, $text, $domain ) {
    switch ( $translated_text ) {
    case ‘Username or email address’ :
    $translated_text = __( ‘Email address’, ‘royalchildtheme’ );
    break;
    }
    return $translated_text;
    }
    add_filter( ‘gettext’, ‘my_text_strings’, 20, 3 );

    • The text is in a file that can be modified. Copy form-login.php into your theme directory e.g. to wp-content/theme_name/woocommerce/myaccount/form-login.php and change the text there.
      This will be more efficient than using the gettext filter (which will be called for every page).

  29. Hello Patrick,

    I want to change text from woo-commerce order emails. So, I used your code snipet, but not worked for me. As I get default text email from woo-commerce.

    function my_text_strings( $translated_text, $text, $domain ) {
    switch ( $translated_text ) {
    case ‘Your order has been received and is now being processed. Your order details are shown below for your reference:’ :
    $translated_text = __( ‘The team from La Main Noire thanks you for your purchase, you\’ll be enjoying your new product very shortly.Your order has been received and is now being processed. Your order details are shown below for your reference:’, ‘woocommerce’ );
    break;
    }
    return $translated_text;
    }
    add_filter( ‘gettext’, ‘my_text_strings’, 20, 3 );

    Can you please help me?

    • To change this WooCommerce text you need to copy the wp-content/themes/woocommerce/emails/customer-processing-order.php file into wp-content/themes/YOUR_THEME/woocommerce/emails/customer-processing-order.php and change the file.

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