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Internationalization and localization make it possible to use CiviCRM in languages and cultural environments other than American English. This includes the menus, form labels, help texts, but also date formats, currency/number formats, address formats and supporting various alphabets (ex: alphabetical order of search results).

We will try to keep it non-technical, but if you use CiviCRM in another language you will often see these terms:

  • Internationalization (i18n) is a set of mechanisms to make it possible to translate (localize) CiviCRM to other languages without changing code. 
  • Localization (l10n) refers to using CiviCRM in another language than US English. This includes translating the text of the user interface, but also date, currency and other settings.
  • Multiple language support (multilingual): in CiviCRM jargon, this means that the CiviCRM instance supports multiple languages at once, such as bilingual or trilingual sites (ex: using the same contribution form in English and Spanish, where the title, intro text, etc must be bilingual). This means that not only the user interface must be translatable, but also some of the configurations, such as the contribution form title, description, etc.

Administrator guide: Using CiviCRM in your own language

The administrator guide explains how to set up CiviCRM to run in one of the other supported languages. This includes the installation of language files (civicrm-l10n.tar.gz), how to update those files between releases, the various language settings and performance tips.

If you have any questions, please post on the Internationalisation and localisation forum.

Translate CiviCRM

Under the hood, CiviCRM uses gettext to localize the text, and since there are a lot of strings in CiviCRM, the translations themselves are managed in a community called Transifex.Transifex is an online community of translators. In many ways, it is the "github" of translation. You can use the web interface to join a translation team (or create a new one) and translate the strings or improve existing translations from there. Extensions can be translated as well, and follow the same principles.

Refer to the Translators Resources of this section for more information on how to translate CiviCRM.

For Developers

When writing new CiviCRM code or an extension, developers should organize their code in a way which is amenable to internationalization.

Please visit the Developers Resources in this section for more information.

Share with the community/Find answers to your questions

If you want to ask something, share with the community or be aware of the latest news, please visit the:

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