multilingual/translation solution for Plone content based on Archetypes
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LinguaPlone is the multilingual/translation solution for Plone, and achieves this by being as transparent as possible and by minimizing the impact for existing applications and Plone itself.

It utilizes the Archetypes reference engine to do the translation, and all content is left intact both on install and uninstall - thus, it will not disrupt your content structure in any way.

LinguaPlone doesn't require a particular hierarchy of content, and will in theory work with any layout of your content space, though the default layout advertised in the install instructions will make the site easier to use.

Some benefits of LinguaPlone

  • Totally transparent, install-and-go.
  • Each translation is a discrete object, and can be workflowed individually.
  • Translations are kept track of using AT references.
  • You can multilingual-enable your types without affecting their operation outside LinguaPlone.
  • Even if you uninstall LinguaPlone after adding multilingual content, all your content will be intact and will work as separate objects! The only thing that will be inactive is the references between the objects. If you re-install it, they will be back. It's very non-intrusive.
  • Supporting multilingual capabilities is a 4 (!) line addition to your Archetypes class, and does not alter the functionality of the class when used outside LinguaPlone.
  • Fully integrated with ATContentTypes, so the basic content types are translatable.
  • Supports language-independent fields (example: dates, first/last names) for fields you want to be the same across translations, and updated in all languages if one of them changes.
  • Uses the notion of canonical versions, so you can do interesting things with workflow, like invalidate all translations of a document when the master copy has changed.


Install LinguaPlone into your Plone environment by adding it to the buildout or adding it as a dependency of your policy package and rerun buildout.

Next add a new Plone site and select the LinguaPlone add-on. Make sure to specify the primary language of your site. Continue to the language control panel and specify all other languages you want to support.

Prepare the content structure by calling @@language-setup-folders on your Plone site root, for example:


You might want to clean up the default content or move it around by visiting:


and deleting the Events, News and Users folders.

If you are migrating an existing site to use LinguaPlone, you might need to use special URL trick to reveal the old language content for cut-pasting after performing @@language-setup-folders.

Example how to access mixed-language folder listing:


Use manage_translation_form direct URL to build top level folder langauge links. E.g.:


After following all these steps you have a good starting point to build a multilingual site. Whether or not you have the same site structure in each of the language folders is up to you and your requirements. By using the top level language folders every URL corresponds to exactly one language which is good for search bots and makes caching a lot easier. It also means that you don't have folders with mixed languages in them, which improves the usability for editors a lot, since they don't have to worry about switching languages in the same folder just to see if there's more content in them.

The Plone site root is the only exception here and setup with a language switcher default view that does the language negotiation and redirects users to the right URL.


If you are upgrading LinguaPlone there may be an upgrade step that you need to do. Please check the 'Add-ons' control panel for this.


If you no longer want to use LinguaPlone, you can remove it from your site.

First you need to deactivate LinguaPlone in the add-ons control panel. After you did this you can remove LinguaPlone from your Plone environment on the file system. If you forget to do the deactivation step, add LinguaPlone back temporarily and deactivate it properly. Otherwise you'll likely not be able to use their site with errors relating to the SyncedLanguages utility.

Frequently asked questions

I see no language flags and switching language does not work

This happens if the cookie language negotiation scheme is not enabled. Look at the portal_languages tool in the ZMI and check if Use cookie for manual override is enabled.

If the language selection links point to URL's containing switchLanguage the wrong language selector from core Plone is active. Go to the control panel and check if you can select multiple languages on the language control panel. If you cannot, LinguaPlone isn't properly installed.

If you can select multiple languages only the language selector viewlet is wrong. Make sure you haven't customized the viewlet and put it into a different viewlet manager. The viewlet is only registered for the manager. You need to register the languageselector viewlet from LinguaPlone/browser/configure.zcml for your new viewlet manager as well.

Developer Usage

You can test it by multilingual-enabling your existing AT content types (see instructions below), or by testing the simple included types. Don't forget to select what languages should be available in the language control panel.

Implementation details


LinguaPlone can only be used with Archetypes based content types. It provides a I18NBaseObject class that implements a ITranslatable interface that handles the translation linking. LinguaPlone provides base classes that inherits from I18NBaseObject and the regular AT base classes.

Language independent fields

Language independent fields are looked up from the canonical (original) translation.

The value is also stored on each translated object so every object has every attribute in case it is moved out of a translation context or some attributes (like start and end on events) are referenced directly.

Language independence is set in the AT schema definition. Only AT based content types can have language independent fields.

Language lookup

The language tool returns a list of languages to look for. If there is no fallback, there will be only one element in the list.

Enable multilingual support in your content types

At the top, instead of from Products.Archetypes.atapi import *, you add:

    from Products.LinguaPlone import atapi
except ImportError:
    # No multilingual support
    from Products.Archetypes import atapi

For the fields that are language independent, you add languageIndependent=True in the Archetypes schema definition.



Language independent fields are correctly shared between linked translations only if your content type uses LinguaPlone imports as described above.

For more LinguaPlone related programming examples see Translating content in Plone Developer Documentation.

Developer information


GNU General Public License, version 2