PHP Localization Localizing strings with gettext()


GNU gettext is an extension within PHP that must be included at the php.ini:

extension=php_gettext.dll #Windows #Linux

The gettext functions implement an NLS (Native Language Support) API which can be used to internationalize your PHP applications.

Translating strings can be done in PHP by setting the locale, setting up your translation tables and calling gettext() on any string you want to translate.

// Set language to French
putenv('LC_ALL=    fr_FR');
setlocale(LC_ALL, 'fr_FR');

// Specify location of translation tables for 'myPHPApp' domain
bindtextdomain("myPHPApp", "./locale");

// Select 'myPHPApp' domain


#: /Hello_world.php:56
msgid "Hello"
msgstr "Bonjour"

#: /Hello_world.php:242
msgid "How are you?"
msgstr "Comment allez-vous?"

gettext() loads a given post-complied .po file, a .mo. which maps your to-be translated strings as above.

After this small bit of setup code, translations will now be looked for in the following file:

  • ./locale/fr_FR/LC_MESSAGES/

Whenever you call gettext('some string'), if 'some string' has been translated in the .mo file, the translation will be returned. Otherwise, 'some string' will be returned untranslated.

// Print the translated version of 'Welcome to My PHP Application'
echo gettext("Welcome to My PHP Application");

// Or use the alias _() for gettext()
echo _("Have a nice day");