Module translation

The module’s text strings are written in English, but you might want French, Spanish or Polish shop owners to use your module too. You therefore have to translate those strings into those languages, both the front office and the back office strings. Ideally, you should translate your module in all the languages that are installed on your shop. This could be a tedious task, but a whole system has been put in place in order to help you out.

The process of preparing text strings for translation is called internationalization, or i18n.

Translation-ready strings

PHP classes

Module main class

The translation of a string can be obtained with the Module::l(...) method. In consequence, the method is available in the main class of the module.

class MyModule extends Module
{
    public function __construct()
    {
        // [...]
        $this->displayName = $this->l('My module');
        $this->description = $this->l('Description of my module.');

Module controllers

ModuleAdminController & ModuleFrontControllers can access the module instance via the property module. No instanciation is required.

class ChequeValidationModuleFrontController extends ModuleFrontController
{
    public function initContent()
    {
        // [...]
        $this->title = $this->module->l('My module title');

Other classes

Other classes may need to get the module instance as a parameter and store it for translations.

Another solution is retrieving the module object with Module::getInstanceByName(<Module_name>).

Templates

Strings in TPL files will need to be turned into dynamic content using the {l} function call, which Smarty will replace by the translation for the chosen language.

These parameters are also mandatory:

  • s storing the string to be translated,
  • mod giving translation context.

For instance, translating the string “Welcome to this page!” can be done like this:

{l s='Welcome to this page!' d='Modules.MyModule'}

In our sample module, the mymodule.tpl file…

<li>
  <a href="{$base_dir}modules/mymodule/mymodule_page.php" title="Click this link">Click me!</a>
</li>
<!-- Block mymodule -->
<div id="mymodule_block_left" class="block">
  <h4>{l s='Welcome!' d='Modules.MyModule'}</h4>
  <div class="block_content">
    <p>Hello,
       {if isset($my_module_name) && $my_module_name}
           {$my_module_name}
       {else}
           World
       {/if}
       !
    </p>
    <ul>
      <li><a href="{$my_module_link}" title="Click this link">Click me!</a></li>
    </ul>
  </div>
</div>
<!-- /Block mymodule -->

…becomes:

<li>
  <a href="{$base_dir}modules/mymodule/mymodule_page.php" title="{l s='Click this link' mod='mymodule'}">{l s='Click me!' mod='mymodule'}</a>
</li>
<!-- Block mymodule -->
<div id="mymodule_block_left" class="block">
  <h4>{l s='Welcome!' mod='mymodule'}</h4>
  <div class="block_content">
    <p>
      {if !isset($my_module_name) || !$my_module_name}
        {capture name='my_module_tempvar'}{l s='World' mod='mymodule'}{/capture}
        {assign var='my_module_name' value=$smarty.capture.my_module_tempvar}
      {/if}
      {l s='Hello %1$s!' sprintf=$my_module_name mod='mymodule'}   
    </p>   
    <ul>
      <li><a href="{$my_module_link}"  title="{l s='Click this link' mod='mymodule'}">{l s='Click me!' mod='mymodule'}</a></li>
    </ul>
  </div>
</div>
<!-- /Block mymodule -->

Notice that we always use the mod parameter. This is used by PrestaShop to assert which module the string belongs to. The translation tool needs it in order to match the string to translate with its translation. This parameter is mandatory for module translation in templates.

Translations management

Strings are delimited with single quotes. If a string contains single quotes, they should be escaped using a backslash (\).

This way, strings can be directly translated inside PrestaShop:

  • Go to the “Translations” page under the “Localization” menu,
  • In the “Modify translations” drop-down menu, choose “Installed modules translations”,
  • Choose the language you want to translate the module into. The destination language must already be installed to enable translation in it.
  • Click the “Modify” button.

The page that loads displays all the strings for all the currently-installed modules. Modules that have all their strings already translated have their fieldset closed, whereas if at least one string is missing in a module’s translation, its fieldset is expanded. In order to translate your module’s strings (the ones that were “marked” using the l() method), simply find your module in the list (use the browser’s in-page search), and fill the empty fields.

Once all strings for your module are correctly translated, click on either the “Save and stay” button or the “Save” button at the bottom of your list of strings.

PrestaShop then saves the translations in a new file, named using the languageCode.php format (for instance, /mymodule/fr.php). The translation file looks like so:

fr.php

global $_MODULE;
$_MODULE = array();
$_MODULE['<{mymodule}prestashop>mymodule_2ddddc2a736e4128ce1cdfd22b041e7f'] = 'Mon module';
$_MODULE['<{mymodule}prestashop>mymodule_d6968577f69f08c93c209bd8b6b3d4d5'] = 'Description du module.';
$_MODULE['<{mymodule}prestashop>mymodule_533937acf0e84c92e787614bbb16a7a0'] = 'Êtes-vous certain de vouloir désinstaller ce module ? Vous perdrez tous vos réglages !';
$_MODULE['<{mymodule}prestashop>mymodule_0f40e8817b005044250943f57a21c5e7'] = 'Aucun nom fourni';

This file must not be edited manually! It can only be edited through the PrestaShop translation tool.

Now that we have a French translation, we can click on the French flag in the front office, and get the expected result: the module’s strings are now in French.

They are also translated in French when the back office is in French.

Complex translations

Variables

As we can see, the basis of template file translation is to enclose them in the {l s='The string' mod='name_of_the_module'}. The changes in display.tpl and in mymodule.tpl’s link and title texts are thus easy to understand. But added a trickier block of code for the “Hello World!” string: an if/else/then clause, and a text variable. Let’s explore this code:

Here is the original code:

Hello,
  {if isset($my_module_name) && $my_module_name}
    {$my_module_name}
  {else}
    World
  {/if}
!

As you can see, we need to get the “Hello World” string translatable, but also to cater for the fact that there is a variable. As explained in the “Translations in PrestaShop 1.5” chapter, variables are to be marked using sprintf() markers, such as %s or %1$s.

Making “Hello %s!” translatable words in easy: we just need to use this code:

{l s='Hello %s!' sprintf=$my_module_name mod='mymodule'}

But in our case, we also need to make sure that the %s is replaced by “World” in case the “my_module_name” value does not exist… and we must make “World” translatable too. This can be achieved by using Smarty {capture} function, which collects the output of the template between the tags into a variable instead of displaying, so that we can use it later on. We are going to use it in order to replace the variable with the translated “World” if the variable is empty or absent, using a temporary variable. Here is the final code:

{if !isset($my_module_name) || !$my_module_name}
  {capture name='my_module_tempvar'}{l s='World' mod='mymodule'}{/capture}
  {assign var='my_module_name' value=$smarty.capture.my_module_tempvar}
{/if}
{l s='Hello %s!' sprintf=$my_module_name mod='mymodule'}

HTML content

You may need to add HTML content in your translated string. Writing it directly in the string (original or translated) won’t work, as the special characters would be escaped to avoid XSS security issues.

Instead, you must replace some placeholders with the HTML code.

Let’s take an example with a link in a string, which can be tricky to do. The first solution coming in mind would be the concatenation of translated strings with raw HTML code. But this solution is not recommanded, because the words order could be different depending on the language used.

{l
  s='If you want a category to appear in the menu of your shop, go to [1]Modules > Modules & Services > Installed modules.[/1] Then, configure your menu module.'
  sprintf=[
  '[1]' => "<a href=\"{$link->getAdminLink('AdminModules')}\" class=\"_blank\">",
  '[/1]' => '</a>'
  ]
  mod='mymodule'
}

The string “If you want a category to appear in the menu of your shop, go to [1]Modules > Modules & Services > Installed modules.[/1] Then, configure your menu module.” remains quite simple, and you must make sure the parts [1] and [/1] exist in the other languages.

Native modules

On PrestaShop 1.7, the translation system has changed for native modules (= provided by PrestaShop core team).

Details on its implementation can be found here.