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Translation API for PHP using Gettext MO files.

Build Status Scrutinizer Code Quality Packagist


  • All strings are stored in memory for fast lookup
  • Fast loading of MO files
  • Low level API for reading MO files
  • Emulation of Gettext API
  • No use of eval() for plural equation


  • Not suitable for huge MO files which you don't want to store in memory
  • Input and output encoding has to match (preferably UTF-8)


Please use Composer to install:

composer require phpmyadmin/motranslator


The API documentation is available at

Object API usage

// Create loader object
$loader = new PhpMyAdmin\MoTranslator\Loader();

// Set locale

// Set default text domain

// Set path where to look for a domain
$loader->bindtextdomain('domain', __DIR__ . '/data/locale/');

// Get translator
$translator = $loader->getTranslator();

// Now you can use Translator API (see below)

Low level API usage

// Directly load the mo file
$translator = new PhpMyAdmin\MoTranslator\Translator('./path/to/');

// Now you can use Translator API (see below)

Translator API usage

// Translate string
echo $translator->gettext('String');

// Translate plural string
echo $translator->ngettext('String', 'Plural string', $count);

// Translate string with context
echo $translator->pgettext('Context', 'String');

// Translate plural string with context
echo $translator->npgettext('Context', 'String', 'Plural string', $count);

Gettext compatibility usage

// Load compatibility layer

// Configure
_setlocale(LC_MESSAGES, 'cs');
_bindtextdomain('phpmyadmin', __DIR__ . '/data/locale/');
_bind_textdomain_codeset('phpmyadmin', 'UTF-8');

// Use functions
echo _gettext('Type');
echo __('Type');

// It also support other Gettext functions
_dnpgettext($domain, $msgctxt, $msgid, $msgidPlural, $number);
_dngettext($domain, $msgid, $msgidPlural, $number);
_npgettext($msgctxt, $msgid, $msgidPlural, $number);
_ngettext($msgid, $msgidPlural, $number);
_dpgettext($domain, $msgctxt, $msgid);
_dgettext($domain, $msgid);
_pgettext($msgctxt, $msgid);


This library is based on php-gettext. It adds some performance improvements and ability to install using Composer.


Motivation for this library includes:

  • The php-gettext library is not maintained anymore
  • It doesn't work with recent PHP version (phpMyAdmin has patched version)
  • It relies on eval() function for plural equations what can have severe security implications, see CVE-2016-6175
  • It's not possible to install it using Composer
  • There was place for performance improvements in the library

Why not to use native gettext in PHP?

We've tried that, but it's not a viable solution:

  • You can not use locales not known to system, what is something you can not control from web application. This gets even more tricky with minimalist virtualisation containers.
  • Changing the MO file usually leads to PHP segmentation fault. It (or rather Gettext library) caches headers of MO file and if it's content is changed (for example new version is uploaded to server) it tries to access new data with old references. This is bug known for ages:

Why use Gettext and not JSON, YAML or whatever?

We want translators to be able to use their favorite tools and we want us to be able to use wide range of tools available with Gettext as well such as web based translation using Weblate. Using custom format usually adds another barrier for translators and we want to make it easy for them to contribute.

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