Language customisation

Language


Contents


Changing words or phrases

Words or phrases (in any language) used on the site may be easily changed by an administrator using the language customisation feature. For example, you may want to change the word "Course" to "Unit".

  1. Go to Site administration > Language > Language customisation and choose the language you wish to customise.
  2. Click the "Open language pack for editing" button. (This may take some time to process.)
  3. Once the language pack has loaded, click the "Continue" button.
  4. Find the string you wish to customise using the filter settings, then clicking "Show strings". See below for details of how to find the component and string identifier.
  5. Make your changes in the "Local customisation" box.
  6. Click "Apply changes and continue editing" if you want to use another filter or edit other file(s), otherwise click "Save changes to the language pack" to save all of the changes you have made.


Finding the component and string identifier


Using the obtained information in order to change the intended strings


Filter settings


Local customisation highlighting


More about language packs

Moodle is translated into many languages - see Language packs for Moodle 3.3 for their list and the translation completion status. The translations are distributed as language packages (or just lang packs) that are maintained by kind volunteers, community contributors and Moodle Partners.

Moodle site administrators can customise any language pack to fit their individual needs. Editing the language pack files directly is not recommended, since any changes would be silently overwritten during the next upgrade. Instead, you should use the language customisation feature, which automatically creates a local language pack that holds all your changes from the official pack.

Local language packs have the same structure as official ones. They are saved in your Moodle data directory in moodledata/lang/xx_local/ folder where 'xx' is the code of the language. You have to have the official language pack installed before we can customise it. A local language pack should contain just strings you have customised - there is no need to create a copy of a whole official language pack.

When displaying a string, Moodle first looks whether a local customisation exists in moodledata/lang/xx_local/component_file.php. If so, it is used. If not, the string from the official language pack is used. (If the string has not been translated yet, the original English version is displayed). Please note that the strings are cached for better performance so if you modify a file directly in your xx_local pack then we will have to purge Moodle caches afterwards. Caches are purged automatically when using the language customisation feature.



How to backup and restore a customised language pack

This is handy when you have made customisations of your language pack and you want to install these changes on another server.

If you customised a language pack xx, the only folder you need to back up is $CFG->dataroot/lang/xx_local. All others without the _local suffix are standard packages that can be installed and uninstalled via the admin tool.

Once the folder is restored on another server, we will have to manually purge caches from the admin interface to allow the in-built string manager to re-read the *_local folders and start using them.


Sharing a language customisation

In either case, contact the parent language pack maintainer listed in the translation credits and/or our translation coordinator, Koen, translation@moodle.org.


Troubleshooting


Database error

If you encounter a database error when you try to customise a language pack, then it may be due to a recent plugin that corrupted the database. You are advised to check all plugins recently added to your site, and check whether removing a plugin prevents this error. If that is the case, please contact the maintainer for the involved plugin and report the error. Most cases seen in 2013 were fixed by the maintainers of those plugins. One case seen in 2014 was related to the Essential (additional) theme and language packs other than English; it was caused by a a bug with the notification language handling, and was fixed with a plugin update.

Or, we can execute a database query on your server in order to track down the plugin causing the problem.


Changing the font size and colour of a language string

We can use language customization to change the font size and colour for any (core or additional plugin) Moodle string.

See the following example taken from a Spanish forum user who wanted to have a distinct large red coloured text for the 'Answer the questions...' prompt in the feedback activity:

You could also add an image to a customized language string, as in this forum post.


Moodle Mobile language strings customisation

See Custom language strings in the Moodle Mobile guide for admins.


See also


Any questions?

Please post in the Languages forum on moodle.org.