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Translation Process


We are always looking for new translators. Even if a specific language already is translated and has an official maintainer, we can use helping hands in reviewing and updating translations. Important: It is perfectly fine if you only have time for a partial translation or quick review work - our system accomodates many people collaborating on the same language.

SilverStripe contains language files for user-facing strings (see i18n). These are stored in YML format, which is fairly readable, but also sensitive to whitespace and formatting changes, so not ideally suited for non-technical editors.

Note: Until SilverStripe 3.0, we used a PHP storage format. This format is now deprecated, and we don't provide tools for editing the files. Please see below for information on how to convert these legacy files and existing translations to YML.

Help as a translator

The online translation tool

We are managing our translations through a tool called Most modules are managed under the "silverstripe" user there, see list of translatable modules. If you don't have an account yet, please follow the links there to sign up.

Set up your module for localization

Collecting translatable text

As a first step, you can automatically collect all translatable text in your module through the i18nTextCollector task. See i18n for more details.

Import master files

If you don't have an account on yet, create one. Choose the free option for public repositories.

On the "Files" tab, you can choose "Import from SCM", and connect getlocalization to your github account. Alternatively, upload the en.yml file in the "Ruby on Rails" format.

If you don't have existing translations, your project is ready to go - simply point translators to the URL, have them sign up, and they can create languages and translations as required.

Import existing translations

In case you have existing translations in YML format, there's a "New language file" option in the "Files" tab.

IMPORTANT: Composite locales need to be uploaded with a dash separator, which is different from the core format (underscores). For example, to upload a file called en_GB.yml, change the first line in this file from "en_GB" to "en-GB".

Export existing translations

You can simply download the whole language pack as a ZIP archive and add it to your project. But for composite locales (e.g. "en-GB"), you have to change the keys in the first line of the file (see note above).

Converting your language files from 2.4 PHP format

The conversion from PHP format to YML is taken care of by a module called i18n_yml_converter.


How do I translate substituted strings? (e.g. '%s')

You don't have to - if the english master-string reads 'Hello %s', your german translation would be 'Hallo %s'. Strings prefixed by a percentage-sign are automatically replaced by silverstripe with dynamic content. See for details.

Do I need to convert special characters (e.g. HTML-entities)?

Special characters (such as german umlauts) need to be entered in their native form. Please don't use HTML-entities ("ä" instead of "ä"). Silverstripe stores and renders most strings in UTF8 (Unicode) format.

How can I check out my translation in the interface?

Currently translated entities are not directly factored into code (for security reasons and release/review-control), so you can't see them straight away. You can download automatically generated files for your language for each module (e.g. cms, sapphire, forum, ...) - and place those files in the appropriate directories on a local silverstripe installation.

Example for downloading french files: downloaded fr.yml for cms => /cms/lang/fr.yml downloaded fr.yml for sapphire => /sapphire/lang/fr.yml (repeat for all modules)

It is strongly encouraged that you check your translation this way, as its a good way to doublecheck your translation works in the right context. Please use our daily-builds for your local installation, to ensure you're looking at the most up to date interface.

Can I change a translation just for one SilverStripe version?

While we version control our translation files like all other source code, the online translation tool doesn't have the same capabilities. A translated string (as identified by its unique "entity name") is assumed to work well in all releases. If the interface changes in a non-trivial fashion, the new translations required should have new identifiers as well.

Example: We renamed the "Security" menu title to "Users" in our 3.0 release. As it would confuse users of older versions unnecessarily, we should be using a new entity name for this, and avoid the change propagating to an older SilverStripe version.

How do I change my interface language?

Once you've logged into the CMS, you should see a "profile"-link on the lower right corner (direct link: You can set the "interface language" from a dropdown which automatically includes all found translations (based on the files in the /lang folders).

I've found a piece of untranslatable text

It is entirely possible that we missed certain strings in preparing Silverstripe for translation-support. If you're technically minded, please read i18n on how to make it translatable. Otherwise just post your findings to the forum.

Note: JavaScript strings can't be translated through the online translation tool at the moment, you'll need to edit the file locally (e.g. cms/javascript/de_DE.js), and submit a patch.

How do I add my own module?

Once you've built a translation-enabled module, you can run the "textcollector" on your local installation for this specific module (see i18n). This should find all calls to _t() in php and template files, and generate a new lang file with the default locale (path: /lang/en.yml). Upload this file to the online translation tool, and wait for hyour translators to do their magic!

What about right-to-left (RTL) languages (e.g. Arabic)?

SilverStripe doesn't have built-in support for attribute-based RTL-modifications (<html dir="rtl">). We are currently investigating the available options, and are eager to get feedback on your experiences with translating silverstripe RTL.

Can I translate/edit the language files in my favourite text editor (on my local installation)

No, as it causes us a lot of work in merging these files back. Please use the online translation tool for all new and existing translations.

How does my translation get into a SilverStripe release?

Currently this is a manual process of a core team member downloading approved translations and committing them into our source tree.

How does my translation get approved, who is the maintainer?

The online translation tool ( is designed to be decentralized and collaborative, so there's no strict approval or review process. Every logged-in user on the system can flag translations, and discuss them with other translators.

I'm seeing lots of duplicated translations, what should I do?

For now, please translate all duplications - sometimes they might be intentional, but mostly the developer just didn't know his phrase was already translated. Please contact us about any duplicates that might be worth merging.

What happened to

This was a custom-built online translation tool serving us well for a couple of years, but started to show its age (performance and maintainability). It was replaced with All translations from were migrated. Unfortunately, the ownership of individual translations couldn't be migrated.

As the new tool doesn't support the PHP format used in SilverStripe 2.x, this means that we no longer have a working translation tool for PHP files. Please edit the PHP files directly and send us pull requests. This also applies for any modules staying compatible with SilverStripe 2.x.


Translators have their own mailinglist, but you can also reach a core member on IRC. The interface has a built-in discussion board if you have specific comments on a translation.


  • i18n: Developer-level documentation of Silverstripe's i18n capabilities
  • translatable: DataObject-interface powering the website-content translations
  • "Translatable ModelAdmin" module: An extension which allows translations of DataObjects inside ModelAdmin
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