Gettext localization validator for WordPress

Gettext localization validator for WordPress


Command-line tool for checking that all strings are properly gettexted for localization in WordPress plugins and themes.

  • Finds any untranslated strings in HTML
  • Finds any untranslated 'encapsed strings' in PHP code
  • Makes sure all gettext function parameters are valid –no variables, function
    calls, etc., where there should just be an encapsed string– and that all required
    arguments are present.
  • Makes sure the expected textdomain(s) are always used
  • As a side effect, it also checks that no l10n functions are deprecated.


Requires: PHP 5.3 or later.

Download a zip, clone the repo, or add to composer dependencies. Add the /bin directory to your $PATH (or use
/path/to/wp-l10n-validator/bin/wp-l10n-validator instead of just wp-l10n-validator
in your commands.

To see the basic usage and check that everything is working, type the command:

$ wp-l10n-validator


$ wp-l10n-validator -[1c] TEXTDOMAIN [CONFIG] [-- FILE ...]

This validates all .php files in the current directory for proper gettexting.


  • TEXTDOMAIN – The textdomain used in your project.
  • CONFIG – Configuration to use. Corressponds to one of the directories in /config (wordpress by default).
  • FILE – One or more files to validate. You must pass -- before the list of files, like this: wp-l10n-validator textdomain -- a.php b.php


  • 1 – Parse only one file at a time.
  • c – Generate a specific ignores cache. This is a JSON file that contains a list
    of specific occurrences of strings to ignore. When you have fixed all of the real
    problems with your project, there may be left many strings that do not need to be
    gettexted. Running the command with this flag will cache all of those by file name
    and line number, so that they will be ignored in future. This is especially useful
    for strings that you want to ignore only in a specific location. If the line number
    that a string is on changes, but by less than 5 lines, it will continue to be
    ignored and the line number will be updated in the cache. You can change the number
    of lines tolerance using the ignores-tolerance configuration option.

The validator will display any errors it finds.

Example validating a plugin:

$ cd /path/to/my-plugin
$ wp-l10n-validator my-plugin

You can also add a wp-l10n-validator.json file in the main directory of your
project, which specifies the basic configuration for your project (see below).
With this file in place you can run the parser without any arguments.


The validator can be configured specifically for your project as needed. Although it
can be completely customized, the main reason for additional configuration is to help
the parser weed out false positives. The strategy employed for weeding out most false
positives is as follows:

  • Ignore non-translatable strings inside calls to certain functions
  • Ignore specific function arguments that don’t need to be gettexted
  • Ignore certain HTML attributes’ values
  • Ignore specific strings
  • Ignore specific string occurrences

All of these are configurable to match your particular project, though custom
configuration is optional. To configure the parser, you can add a JSON file named
wp-l10n-validator.json in the root directory of your project (or wherever you wish
to run the parser from).

These are the options that you can specify in the the JSON config file:

  • textdomain – Your project’s textdomain.
  • basedir – The main directory of your project (if different from the current directory).
  • config – The configuration to use (see CLI arguments above).
  • cache – The file to store the cache in. The default is .wp-l10n-validator-cache.json.
  • ignores-cache – The file to store the specific ignores cache in. The default is
    .wp-l10n-validator-ignores-cache.json. See the -c flag above for more information.
  • ignores-tolerance – The number of lines of difference to allow for when checking
    against the ignores cache. The default is 5.
  • ignores-rules – Configure which rules are used to determine if a string should be
    ignored. It is an associative array with boolean values:

    • all-lowercase — Ignore all strings that contain no uppercase characters. This
      is a very useful rule to enable if you don’t use any translatable strings that
      are all lowercase. It is disabled by default to avoid false negatives. Add this
      to your config to enable it:

      	"ignores-rules": {
      		"all-lowercase": true
  • ignored-functions – An associative array of functions to ignore. The value can be
    an array of specific arguments to be ignored (by argument number), or simply true.
    To ignore a class method, add it like this: My_Class::my_method. This will only
    ignore the method when it is being called statically from outside the class like
    My_Class::my_method(), or inside the class with self:: or $this->. The parser
    does not know what class is assigned to a variable, though it does know the
    variable name. So you can ignore $wpdb->query, (which the parser does ignore by
    default,) but adding wpdb::query will not match a call to $wpdb->query(). Adding
    a class constructor (My_Class::__construct) will ignore new My_Class(). Calls
    within a class to parent::method() will be mapped to the class that is specified
    in the extends statement. If a method is being ignored in a parent class, it
    will also be ignored in child classes as well. If a method is being ignored in an
    interface, all classes that implement that interface will have that method ignored
    as well (since 0.3.0).
  • ignored-properties – (0.3.0+) An associative array of class properties to ignore.
    The values are currently just expected to be true. To ignore any strings in the
    default value for a property, add it like this: My_Class::$my_property. This
    will only ignore the declared value of the property, it will not ignore
    assignments (yet). It is possible to ignore the default values for the property in
    all classes that extend a particular parent class by using the parent class name:
  • ignored-strings – An array of strings that should always be ignored.
  • ignored-atts – An array of HTML attributes to ignore.
  • ignored-paths – An array of file and folder paths to ignore. (Since 0.2.0)
  • bootstrap – A PHP file providing further, more advanced configuration. You can
    even write your own child class to extend the validator. This allows you to change
    the output method by overriding the report_* functions, for example. Just assign
    and instance of your class to the $parser variable: $parser = new My_L10n_Validator.

See example-config.json for an example.


  • Though written primarily as a CLI app, it may also be used directly from within
    another script to validate a single file or a directory. Only the later option is
    available from the default CLI usage.
  • Don’t let the WP fool you. Though written primarily for WordPress, it can easily
    be configured for other frameworks that use similar gettexting methods.



Dual licensed under GPLv2 and MIT licenses.


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