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Pm Wiki supports internationalization 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).

Loading translation pages

Pages for many languages such as French, German, Dutch, and Spanish have already been created and maintained at the site. You can download an archive of these translations from Simply unpack the archive into the directory containing your pmwiki.php installation. The 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).

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


which says to load the translations for French ('fr') from the page PmWikiFr.XL Page. It's perfectly okay to load multiple pages; so if you want to create your own local translations without changing the ones you got from i18n.tgz, just create another page (see below) and load it on top:
    XLPage('fr','PmWikiFr.XLPage');       # from i18n.tgz
    XLPage('fr','PmWikiFr.XLPageLocal');  # my local translations

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

   'SearchWiki' => 'Suchen',

converts "SearchWiki" to "Suchen" on output. The file PmWiki:XLPageTemplate is a good starting point for creating a new XLPage and has most of PmWiki's key phrases already listed in it. Note that the translation mechanism only converts phrases that have been listed as translatable in $...Fmt strings--it won't translate things that appear in wiki markup.

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.tgz archive!

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.

Translation status

For those you want to organise page translation, there is a State Of Translation Template? to help make a status of the translation in your language.

Warning about 'special' letters

While PmWiki allows to use accented letters say é,è,à,î, etc. in page names, and that works for navigation, there is a big drawback : on Internet Explorer, links done with 'Attach:myfile.ext' don't work in pages with accented characters like "Tête.yeux". IE fails to operate link with these 'special' characters. If these links are images, you will only observe a small red cross instead of the image. This limitation don't apply for Netscape, but as for now, it might be better to avoid accented letters if you intend to use any image or attachment in your pages.

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Page last modified on May 11, 2006, at 08:52 AM