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PmWiki supports internationalization (internationalisation) of web pages, allowing accented characters to appear in page names and almost complete customization of PmWiki's prompts. Most customization is provided via the XLPage() function in PmWiki, which loads a set of translation variables from a wiki page (typically named XLPage, but it can be named anything you wish).

The rest of this page is devoted to the installation, configuration and usage of other language(s) support. If you are looking for tools and help to localize PmWiki in your language, or how you can improve the existing translations, start on with the page Localization? - The Translation Portal.

PmWikiAr Arabic ~ XLPage
PmWikiBg Bulgarian ~ XLPage
PmWikiCs Česky (Czech) ~ XLPage
PmWikiDa Dansk ~ XLPage
PmWikiDe Deutsch ~ XLPage
PmWikiEl Greek ~ XLPage
PmWikiEo Esperanto ~ XLPage
PmWikiEs Español ~ XLPage
PmWikiFa Farsi (Persian) ~ XLPage
PmWikiFi Suomi ~ XLPage
PmWikiFr Français ~ XLPage
PmWikiHu Magyar (Hungarian) ~ XLPage
PmWikiId Indonesian ~ XLPage
PmWikiIt Italiano ~ XLPage
PmWikiJa Japanese ~ XLPage
PmWikiKr Korean ~ XLPage
PmWikiLt Lietuvių (Lithuanian) ~ XLPage
PmWikiLv Latviešu (Latvian) ~ XLPage
PmWikiMk Macedonian ~ XLPage
PmWikiNl Nederlands ~ XLPage
PmWikiNo Norsk ~ XLPage
PmWikiPl Polski ~ XLPage
PmWikiPt Portuguese ~ XLPage
PmWikiPtBr Portuguese (Br) ~ XLPage
PmWikiRo Românã ~ XLPage
PmWikiRu Russian ~ XLPage
PmWikiSi Slovenščina ~ XLPage
PmWikiSk Slovenčina ~ XLPage
PmWikiSq Shqip ~ XLPage
PmWikiSv Svenska ~ XLPage
PmWikiTa Tamil ~ XLPage
PmWikiTr Türkçe ~ XLPage
PmWikiUk Ukrainian ~ XLPage
PmWikiVi Việt ngữ ~ XLPage
PmWikiZhCn Chinese simplified ~ XLPage
PmWikiZhTw Chinese (Traditional) ~ XLPage

Loading Translation Pages

Pages for many other languages have already been created and maintained at the site. You can download an archive of these translations from Simply download the appropriate language archive(s), and unpack the archive(s) into the directory containing your pmwiki.php installation. Each archive contains a number of page files that are placed in your wikilib.d/ directory, and some special scripts for translations that use a character set other than iso-8859-1 (PmWiki's default). You can also use UTF-8 charset.

Once the translation pages are installed, you enable a language by adding a call to XLPage() in your config.php file. For example, to select French language prompts, one would specify

include_once("scripts/xlpage-utf-8.php"); # optional

which says to load the translations for French ('fr') from the page PmWikiFr.XLPage. The include_once line is recommended if you start a new wiki, and it should be placed before the XLPage line (for languages with alphabets other than the Latin, the include_once line is required). These lines should be placed near the beginning of config.php, but after any $WikiDir and $WikiLibDirs setting (if you have such setting).

It's possible to load multiple pages; so if you want to create your own local translations without changing the ones you got from an i18n archive, just create another page (see below) and load it first. Be sure that you load first the page with your local changes:

XLPage('fr','PmWikiFr.XLPageLocal');  # my local translations
XLPage('fr','PmWikiFr.XLPage');       # from i18n.tgz

If your intention is to offer multiple languages on your site, and use Wiki Groups as language selectors, you may want to place this code in local customizations files (see Group Customizations). For example, if your site is published in French and English, and the French pages are in a group called Fr, you could create a file named Fr.php in the local/ directory which contains:

<?php if (!defined('PmWiki')) exit();
##change to French language

You may wish to create a page called PmwikiFr.php with the same content to access the French documentation in the PmwikiFr group. En.php is not necessary in this case since English is the default language.

An alternative to the above would be to add to config.php the following, which tests if there is an XLPage in a group, and if it finds one it gets loaded (any language):

$xlpage = FmtPageName('$Group.XLPage', $pagename);
if (PageExists($xlpage)) XLPage($xlpage, $xlpage); 

With this method you would need to copy any relevant XLPage into any group which needs the different language support.

Another way (advanced) would be insert into config.php this script, it asks to the web server the headers received from the user's browser and select a language; example with spanish and english:

$lang = substr($_SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE'], 0, 2);
switch ($lang){
   case "es":
   case "en":

See also

Creating New Translations

If language pages don't exist for your desired language, it's easy to create one! An XLPage translation file simply contains lines of the form

'phrase' => 'translated phrase',

where "phrase" is an internationalized phrase (denoted by $[phrase]) in PmWiki's $...Fmt variables, and "translated phrase" is what should be printed in your particular language. For example, the line (in PmWikiFr.XLPage)

'Search' => 'Rechercher',

converts "$[Search]" to "Rechercher" on output. The file Localization:XLPageTemplate? is a good starting point for creating a new XLPage and has most of PmWiki's key phrases already listed in it.

If you create new versions of PmWiki pages in other languages, please consider adding them to the main PmWiki site so that they can be made available to others in the i18n archives! (Be sure to check out The Localization Portal? for further information on effectively internationalizing PmWiki.)

The term "i18n" is commonly used as an abbreviation for the English word "internationalization". The abbreviation is derived from the fact that there are 18 letters between the "i" and the final "n" and few people want to type them all out.

Enabling "Special" Characters in WikiLinks

To enable "special" characters like for example German umlauts in WikiLinks, it is necessary to configure the server locale to ensure that PmWiki uses the proper character set definition.

If this is not possible due to limited access to the server configuration, PmWiki can be configured to use a specific locale by using the XLPage options (see XLPageTemplate?).

For German umlauts, you'd need for example:

  • 'Locale' => 'deu', <- for Windows servers, see Language strings
  • 'Locale' => 'de_DE', <- for Linux servers; for the UTF-8 encoding, on some installations you may need to set 'de_DE.utf8' or 'de_DE.UTF-8'.

Note that the locale identifier depends on the operation system and perhaps on the specific installation.


If my wiki is internationalized by config.php, how do I revert a specific group to English?

Use $XLLangs = array('en'); in the group's group customization file.

If my wiki is in English and I want just one page, or group, in Spanish do I say XLPage('es','PmWikiEs.XLPage'); in the group or page configuration file?

Yes, that is usually the best method. If you were doing this with many scattered pages, or with several languages, you might find it easier to maintain if you load the translations all in config.php like this:

   $XLLangs = array('en');

Then in each group or page configuration file, you'd just use $XLLangs = array('es'); to set the language to use (in this case, Spanish). Note that though this method is easier to maintain, its somewhat slower because it loads all the dictionaries for each page view, even if they won't be used.

What does the first parameter of this function stand for? How can it be used?

The XLPage mechanism allows multiple sets of translations to be loaded, and the first parameter is used to distinguish them.

For example, suppose I want to have translations for both normal French and "Canadian" French. Rather than maintain two entirely separate sets of pages, I could do:

    XLPage('fr-ca', 'PmWikiFrCa.XLPage');
    XLPage('fr', 'PmWikiFr.XLPage');

PmWikiFr.XLPage would contain all of the standard French translations, while PmWikiFrCA.XLPage would only need to contain "Canada-specific" translations -- i.e., those that are different from the ones in the French page.

The first parameter distinguishes the two sets of translations. In addition, a config.php script can use the $XLLangs variable to adjust the order of translation, so if there was a group or page where I only wanted the standard French translation, I can set

$XLLangs = array('fr', 'en');

and PmWiki will use only the 'fr' and 'en' translations (in that order), no matter how many translations have been loaded with XLPage().

How can I add a translation for an individual string in a PHP file?

Use the XLSDV() function to provide a translation for a specific (English) string. For instance, with this in config.php

XLSDV('nl', array('my English expression'=>'mijn Nederlandse uitdrukking'));

any instance of the variable expression $[my English expression] in wiki mark-up will be displayed as my English expression in default (English) context, but as mijn Nederlandse uitdrukking in Dutch (nl) context, i.e. when XLPage('nl',...) has been called for that page in config.php or a cookbook recipe.

If you need to get a translation in a PHP file, use the XL() function:

$local_string = XL("my English expression");

But beware: XLPage() uses XLSDV() internally for its translation pairs, too, and only the first definition is accepted! Thus, if the Dutch XLPage already contains a translation and you want to override that, you need to use your XLSDV('nl',...) before calling the correspondent XLPage('nl',...). Otherwise, by using XLSDV() after XLPage() - e.g. within a recipe that is included later in config.php - your translation will only work as long nobody defines 'my English expression' in that XLPage.

This page may have a more recent version on PmWiki:Internationalizations, and a talk page: PmWiki:Internationalizations-Talk.

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Page last modified on December 19, 2022, at 08:35 AM