This page is part of the documentation on Internationalisation and localisation. This page explains how to set up CiviCRM to run in one of the other supported languages. For more information on how to contribute new and/or updated translations into new languages back to CiviCRM, see the Resources for Translators.
If you have any questions, please post on the Internationalisation and localisation forum.
Using CiviCRM in another language than US-English
To configure CiviCRM to use an existing translation:
Your CiviCRM screens should now appear in the selected language. If the underlying server has the proper locale generated, the full and abbreviated month and day names will also be localised properly.
Any text that has NOT been translated in the translation files will appear in the default English language. If you see English text after setting a different language, you may need to add to the translation. Refer to the section on helping with CiviCRM localisations below.
Updating your translation files
The civicrm-<version>-l10n.tar.gz files are updated when there is a new CiviCRM release. Languages are included in this file when they reach 20% completion.
You may need to update your translation files before the next release for various reasons:
If that is the case, you have a few options:
Updating your translation files using the "l10n update" extension (Recommended)
The easiest way to update your translations regularly is to use the "l10n update" extension: https://github.com/cividesk/com.cividesk.l10n.update/
The "l10n update" extension will do a daily check to update the translation files for CiviCRM core, as well as for extensions.
Updating your translation files manually using Transifex
If you do not want to wait up to 24 hours in order to get the latest translation strings, you can download the strings from Transifex and "compile" (package) the files manually. This is a bit more technical and requires a few tools from the command line (GNU/Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows if you are courageous):
After installing the required programs, clone the l10n repository:
This may take a bit of time, since the repository has become rather big. It will include the strings for all the available languages.
When it is ready, update the translation files in order to get the latest strings:
You can also update only a specific language:
When this is ready, you can compile the text files (*.po) into the binary gettext format that is used by CiviCRM (civicrm.mo):
The above compiles the files for all languages. You can also compile only a specific language, for example:
After compiling, you should have an l10n/xx_XX/civicrm.mo file. Replace the existing civicrm.mo file with the new compiled one. If you then select the proper language under Administer » Localization » Languages, Currency, Locations, the strings should start being translated.
If you have problems compiling your translation, please post on the internationalization and localization forum.
Localization cheat sheets
If you are installing CiviCRM in a country other than the US and you want help with tips, tricks and common gotchas for your country, have a look at the Localisation cheat sheets which aim to document common tasks that you'll want to carry out to make your CiviCRM work best in your country.
Note: these cheat sheets are fairly new so it might be that there isn't one in your language - if that is the case, please consider starting one for your country. Your fellow countrymen and women will appreciate it!
Currency and Monetary Display Formats
The default currency in CiviCRM is USD, but you can select the several appropriate currencies for your site.
You can also control the way that monetary values are displayed - both the number format and the arrangement of currency symbols relative to the amount.
The 'look' of the numeric value (amount) depends on the currency settings. You can directly provide thousands separator (US default: comma) and decimal delimiter (US default: dot).The format of the complete monetary display (whether to write the currency before or after the amount, whether to use currency symbols like $, £ and € or use the ISO 4217 codes, whether to put space between the currency and the amount) can be controlled with the Monetary Display option:
The meaning of the
The default import/export field separator in CiviCRM is "," but you might need to change it to ";" or "." or "|" based on the kind of CSV files you are using.
Countries and Provinces
You can configure the selections provided in address input fields for your installation (based on the geographic distribution of the address records you plan on storing). You can:
Postal Address Formatting
In various countries, postal addresses are written differently. CiviCRM allows you to modify the default United States format to meet the requirements of your installation.
This option is best explained by example. The American default looks like this:
The general rules are as follows:
CiviCRM supports optionally enabling address parsing so that the various elements of a civic address can be automatically separated from each other as they are entered in the Street Address field.
Currently, address parsing supports extracting the street number, the street number suffix, and the unit from the address, but not the street type and street direction. Parsing is especially useful when you wish to produce reports that can be sorted for walk lists for street canvasses.
CiviCRM supports localization of civic address parsing. Initially, Canadian English and Canadian French addresses will be supported; they differ from American English addresses by supporting the unit before the street number (i.e. 2-123 Main St rather than 123 Main St, Unit 2), and putting a comma after the street number and before the street type in French (i.e. 2-123, rue Principale). There is no configuration options provided: when these locales are active, their address style will be used, otherwise the default American English one will be used. To include address parsing support for more locales, contact a provider on the Professional Services section.
Specifying the local to be used for address parsing is available to programs through the API by calling CRM_Core_BAO_Address:parseStreetAddress.
One of the aspects of localization is the display and input format for dates. By default, CiviCRM displays the dates using the American formats, but this can be modified to match your preferred formats.
You can define the formats for the following types of date display:
Date Format Examples
The default American format for Complete Date and Time is:
European users might want to redefine this to:
The default American format for Complete Date is %B %E%f, %Y
Typical European settings would have this format changed; it could look like this:
The Date Input Field formatting options define the order of the date and date-time drop-downs in various CiviCRM forms (for example, contact's birth date or scheduled meetings' date-times):
The default layouts are:
These defaults provide the user with six drop-downs: abbreviated month name (%b), day (%d), year (%Y), 12-hour-clock hour (%I), minute (%M) and an AM/PM selector (%P).
European users might want to redefine these to:
Which would display the day before the abbreviated month, switch to 24-hour-based hour drop-down (%H) and drop the AM/PM selector.
Name and Greetings Formats
Conventions for handling components of persons' names vary considerably between different languages and regions. Consequently, you might need to adapt the Individual Display Name Format.
Starting with CiviCRM 4.5, you can also configure which name fields show up in the input forms for editing individual contact records, in the Editing Contacts section (also under Display Preferences).
Sets of Postal Greeting, Email Greeting, and Addressee formats can also be configured. Traditionally, you would set up at least a default format (which is automatically selected for newly created contacts) for each of these; and optionally you could add further standard formats (e.g. to reflect different levels of formality), which can be explicitly selected for specific contacts.
However, many languages/regions have more complex rules for composing greetings, which can't be covered adequately with only a simple default format. Thus CiviCRM 4.5 introduces another approach: complex formats using conditionals to derive the specific greeting from other contact data fields. These complex formats are defined the same way as the simple formats, but you can use the more powerful Smarty template syntax now.
To facilitate this new approach, CiviCRM 4.5 introduces a new dedicated Communication Style field. This allows using only a single default format for each greeting type, with conditionals that adapt the greeting to different formality levels according to the Communication Style field. The benefit over just using several simple formats to choose different communication styles, is that the explicit information in the dedicated Communication Style field can also be used for other purposes, such as conditionals in Message Templates.
If you don't need the explicit Communication Style field, you can disable it by removing all items in the Communication Style Options.
"Inherit CMS language" and regional translations (ex: fr_CA)
If you have a multi-lingual site and you are using the "inherit CMS language" configuration option, but wish to, for example, use fr_CA instead of the default fr_FR (for French), you can define a constant in your "civicrm.settings.php" to override the default behavior.
Using native gettext support / setlocale
Gettext is the mechanism by which strings are translated. By default, CiviCRM uses the PHP-Gettext implementation. This implementation can cause a 20-30% performance loss on servers who do not have correct caching (such as APC) configured.
Starting CiviCRM 4.2, you can also use native gettext. Since this may require some changes to your hosting environment, it is recommended mainly for sites hosted on dedicated environments (VPS or dedicated server, not shared hosting).
To enable it:
Note: your must enable the "UTF-8" variant of the locale. For example: "fr_FR.UTF-8".