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Spellcheck Language in WordPress – British English

How to change WordPress from US to British English

SpellcheckI have English GB wordpress, but my theme has turned it to US spelling, or so I thought. I had installed the British English version of WordPress.

I am pretty good at spelling in British English so was annoyed to find wordpress 'correcting' me when I wrote marvellous and realised that it had reverted to US English.

It's important to use the language of your intended audience wherever you are based, so it is useful to have the choice in WordPress.

Simple Solution

Since WordPress 4.1 you can install new languages (and change your website language) from the WordPress dashboard. It’s very easy.

You don’t need to modify WPLANG in wp-config.php file (which has disappeared). All you have to do is go to Settings > General > Site Language, and install a new language.

This way you can install WordPress core language on the fly. Note that the language drop down includes installed languages and available translations

This is how to Change the language it in earlier versions

You can change the WordPress language after install (set the locale) by editing the wp-config.php file fairly easily.

The following is taken from WpCoPilot in Australia.

WordPress supports a large number of languages, and the first step to WordPress in the Queen’s English is to tell WordPress you want  it to use the right translation.

Your website language is specified in the wp-config.php file.

Using ftp or the CPanel file manager open the wp-config.php file (in the public_html folder) for editing. If you’re not comfortable editing your website files consider getting some WordPress help.

In the wp-config.php file search for the following line of code:

define (‘WPLANG’, ”);

To set WordPress to British, or Great Britain (GB) English change this line to

define (‘WPLANG’, ‘en_GB’);

Once you’ve saved the file, go back to your WordPress dashboard. You should see an update for en_GB English available. If not, head to Dashboard>Updates, and click “Check again”.

Hit “update now” to install the British English translation. An easy place to check if it’s working correctly is editing a user. Can you change the users color scheme or colour scheme?

Note: Your Browser Might Be The Cause.

Now everything’s looking marvelous right? You might find that although WordPress is in UK or British English, your spell checker still uses US English.

Before you go reaching for a plugin, the WordPress editor uses your browsers spell checker so you can easily update the spell checker language in your browser settings.

For Google Chrome, navigate to Settings>Advanced Settings>Languages. Add the English (United Kingdom) language, then click on the “This language is used for spell checking” button.

Now you’ll be able to check your WordPress spelling in British English.

Thank you, CoPilot, this saves frustration  for me and anyone else trying to get this working right.

More About British English Translation for WordPress.

Developers can contribute so if you are making a theme or plugin, or using one that needs translating, you can discover how to be a Translation Contributor at

Other Languages

If you want to dig deeper into language change, or need to use wordpress in your own language you can find more information at which is a site all about changing the language and  multilingual website creation.

Importance of using Local Language on your Business website.

Reasons to choose between British English and US English in your business are discussed simply and clearly in this article.