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Created by Oscar Otero (MIT License)

Gettext is a PHP (>=5.4) library to import/export/edit gettext from PO, MO, PHP, JS files, etc.


With composer (recomended):

composer require gettext/gettext

If you don't use composer in your project, you have to download and place this package in a directory of your project. You need to install also gettext/languages. Then, include the autoloaders of both projects in any place of your php code:

include_once "libs/gettext/src/autoloader.php";
include_once "libs/cldr-to-gettext-plural-rules/src/autoloader.php";

Classes and functions

This package contains the following classes:

  • Gettext\Translation - A translation definition
  • Gettext\Translations - A collection of translations
  • Gettext\Extractors\* - Import translations from various sources (po, mo, php, js, etc)
  • Gettext\Generators\* - Export translations to various formats (po, mo, php, json, etc)
  • Gettext\Translator - To use the translations in your php templates instead the gettext extension
  • Gettext\GettextTranslator - To use the gettext extension

Usage example

use Gettext\Translations;

//import from a .po file:
$translations = Translations::fromPoFile('locales/gl.po');

//edit some translations:
$translation = $translations->find(null, 'apple');

if ($translation) {

//export to a php array:

//and to a .mo file

If you want use this translations in your php templates without using the gettext extension:

use Gettext\Translator;

//Create the translator instance
$t = new Translator();

//Load your translations (exported as PhpArray):

//Use it:
echo $t->gettext('apple'); // "Mazá"

//If you want use global functions:

echo __('apple'); // "Mazá"

To use this translations with the gettext extension:

use Gettext\GettextTranslator;

//Create the translator instance
$t = new GettextTranslator();

//Set the language and load the domain
$t->loadDomain('messages', 'Locale');

//Use it:
echo $t->gettext('apple'); // "Mazá"

//Or use the gettext functions
echo gettext('apple'); // "Mazá"

//If you want use the global functions

echo __('apple'); // "Mazá"

The benefits of using the functions provided by this library (__() instead _() or gettext()) are:

  • You are using the same functions, no matter whether the translations are provided by gettext extension or any other method
  • You can use variables easier because sprintf functionality is included. For example: __('Hello %s', 'world') instead sprintf(_('Hello %s'), 'world').


The Gettext\Translation class stores all information about a translation: the original text, the translated text, source references, comments, etc.

// __construct($context, $original, $plural)
$translation = new Gettext\Translation('comments', 'One comment', '%s comments');

$translation->setTranslation('Un comentario');
$translation->setPluralTranslation('%s comentarios');

$translation->addReference('templates/comments/comment.php', 34);
$translation->addComment('To display the amount of comments in a post');

echo $translation->getContext(); // comments
echo $translation->getOriginal(); // One comment
echo $translation->getTranslation(); // Un comentario

// etc...


The Gettext\Translations class stores a collection of translations:

$translations = new Gettext\Translations();

//You can add new translations using the array syntax
$translations[] = new Gettext\Translation('comments', 'One comment', '%s comments');

//Or using the "insert" method
$insertedTranslation = $translations->insert('comments', 'One comments', '%s comments');

//Find a specific translation
$translation = $translations->find('comments', 'One comments');

//Edit headers, domain, etc
$translations->setHeader('Last-Translator', 'Oscar Otero');


The extrators allows to fetch gettext values from any source. For example, to scan a .po file:

$translations = new Gettext\Translations();

//From a file
Gettext\Extractors\Po::fromFile('locales/en.po', $translations);

//From a string
$string = file_get_contents('locales2/en.po');
Gettext\Extractors\Po::fromString($string, $translations);

The better way to use extractors is using the magic methods of Gettext\Translations:

//Create a Translations instance using a po file
$translations = Gettext\Translations::fromPoFile('locales/en.po');

//Add more messages from other files

The available extractors are the following:

Name Description Example
Blade Scans a Blade template (For laravel users). example
Csv Gets the messages from csv. example
CsvDictionary Gets the messages from csv (without plurals and context). example
Jed Gets the messages from a json compatible with Jed. example
JsCode Scans javascript code looking for all gettext functions (the same than PhpCode but for javascript). You can use the javascript gettext-translator library example
Json Gets the messages from json compatible with gettext-translator. example
JsonDictionary Gets the messages from a json (without plurals and context). example
Mo Gets the messages from MO. example
PhpArray Gets the messages from a php file that returns an array. example
PhpCode Scans php code looking for all gettext functions (see translator_functions.php). example
Po Gets the messages from PO. example
Twig To scan a Twig template. example
Xliff Gets the messages from xliff (2.0). example
Yaml Gets the messages from yaml. example
YamlDictionary Gets the messages from a yaml (without plurals and context). example


The generators export a Gettext\Translations instance to any format (po, mo, array, etc).

//Save to a file
Gettext\Generators\Po::toFile($translations, 'locales/en.po');

//Return as a string
$content = Gettext\Generators\Po::toString($translations);
file_put_contents('locales/en.po', $content);

Like extractors, the better way to use generators is using the magic methods of Gettext\Translations:

//Extract messages from a php code file
$translations = Gettext\Translations::fromPhpCodeFile('templates/index.php');

//Export to a po file

//Export to a po string
$content = $translatons->toPoString();
file_put_contents('locales/en.po', $content);

The available generators are the following:

Name Description Example
Csv Exports to csv. example
CsvDictionary Exports to csv (without plurals and context). example
Json Exports to json, compatible with gettext-translator. example
JsonDictionary Exports to json (without plurals and context). example
Mo Exports to Mo. example
PhpArray Exports to php code that returns an array. example
Po Exports to Po. example
Jed Exports to json format compatible with Jed. example
Xliff Exports to xliff (2.0). example
Yaml Exports to yaml. example
YamlDictionary Exports to yaml (without plurals and context). example


The class Gettext\Translator implements the gettext functions in php. Useful if you don't have the native gettext extension for php or want to avoid problems with it. You can load the translations from a php array file or using a Gettext\Translations instance:

use Gettext\Translator;

//Create a new instance of the translator
$t = new Translator();

//Load the translations using any of the following ways:

// 1. from php files (generated by Gettext\Extractors\PhpArray)

// 2. using the array directly
$array = include 'locales/gl.php';

// 3. using a Gettext\Translations instance (slower)
$translations = Gettext\Translations::fromPoFile('locales/gl.po');

//Now you can use it in your templates
echo $t->gettext('apple');


The class Gettext\GettextTranslator uses the gettext extension. It's useful because combines the performance of using real gettext functions but with the same API than Translator class, so you can switch to one or other translator deppending of the environment without change code of your app.

use Gettext\GettextTranslator;

//Create a new instance
$t = new GettextTranslator();

//It detects the environment variables to set the locale, but you can change it:

//Load the domains:
$t->loadDomain('messages', 'project/Locale');
//this means you have the file "project/Locale/gl/LC_MESSAGES/messages.po"

//Now you can use it in your templates
echo $t->gettext('apple');

Global functions

To ease the use of translations in your php templates, you can use the provided functions:

//Register the translator to use the global functions

echo __('apple'); // it's the same than $t->gettext('apple');

You can scan the php files containing these functions and extract the values with the PhpCode extractor:

<!-- index.php -->
        <?= __('Hello world'); ?>

Merge translations

To work with different translations you may want merge them in an unique file. There are two ways to do this:

The simplest way is adding new translations:

use Gettext\Translations;

$translations = Translations::fromPoFile('my-file1.po');

A more advanced way is merge two Translations instances:

use Gettext\Translations;

//Create a new Translations instances with our translations.

$translations1 = Translations::fromPoFile('my-file1.po');
$translations2 = Translations::fromPoFile('my-file2.po');

//Merge one inside other:

//Now translations1 has all values

The second argument of mergeWith defines how the merge will be done. Use the Gettext\Merge constants to configure the merging:

Constant Description
Merge::ADD Adds the translations from $translations2 that are missing
Merge::REMOVE Removes the translations missing in $translations2
Merge::HEADERS_ADD Adds the headers from $translations2 that are missing
Merge::HEADERS_REMOVE Removes the headers missing in $translations2
Merge::HEADERS_OVERRIDE Overrides the headers with the values of $translations2
Merge::LANGUAGE_OVERRIDE Set the language defined in $translations2
Merge::DOMAIN_OVERRIDE Set the domain defined in $translations2
Merge::TRANSLATION_OVERRIDE Override the translation and plural translations with the value of $translation2
Merge::COMMENTS_OURS Use only the comments of $translation1
Merge::COMMENTS_THEIRS Use only the comments of $translation2
Merge::EXTRACTED_COMMENTS_OURS Use only the extracted comments of $translation1
Merge::EXTRACTED_COMMENTS_THEIRS Use only the extracted comments of $translation2
Merge::FLAGS_OURS Use only the flags of $translation1
Merge::FLAGS_THEIRS Use only the flags of $translation2
Merge::REFERENCES_OURS Use only the references of $translation1
Merge::REFERENCES_THEIRS Use only the references of $translation2


use Gettext\Translations;
use Gettext\Merge;

//Scan the php code to find the latest gettext translations
$phpTranslations = Translations::fromPhpCodeFile('my-templates.php');

//Get the translations of the code that are stored in a po file
$poTranslations = Translations::fromPoFile('locale.po');

//Merge the translations from the po file using the references from `$phpTranslations`:
$translations->mergeWith($poTranslations, Merge::REFERENCES_OURS);

//Now save a po file with the result

Note, if the second argument is not defined, the default value is Merge::DEFAULTS that's equivalent to Merge::ADD | Merge::HEADERS_ADD.

Use from CLI

There's a Robo task to use this library from the command line interface:

Use in the browser

If you want to use your translations in the browser, there's a javascript translator:

Third party packages

Twig integration:

Framework integration:

add your package


Thanks to all contributors specially to @mlocati.


If this library is useful for you, consider to donate to the author.

Buy me a beer 🍺

Thanks in advance!