57.5. Additional features for translation

There are several additional features which are supported by Zend_Translate. Read here for these additional informations.

57.5.1. Options for adapters

Options can be used with all adapters. Of course the options are different for all adapters. You can set options when you create the adapter. Actually there is one option which is available to all adapters: 'clear' sets if translation data should be added to existing one or not. Standard behaviour is to add new translation data to existing one. But the translation data is only cleared for the selected language. So other languages remain untouched.

You can set options temporarily when using addTranslation($data, $locale, array $options = array()) as third and optional parameter. And you can use the method setOptions() to set the options permanently.

Example 57.7. Using translation options

// define ':' as separator for the translation source files
$options = array('delimiter' => ':');
$translate = new Zend_Translate(


// clear the defined language and use new translation data
$options = array('clear' => true);
$translate->addTranslation('/path/to/new.csv', 'fr', $options);

Here you can find all available options for the different adapters with a description of their usage:

Table 57.2. Options for translation adapters

Option Adapter Description Default value
clear all If set to true, the already read translations will be cleared. This can be used instead of creating a new instance when reading new translation data false
disableNotices all If set to true, all notices regarding not available translations will be disabled. You should set this option to true in production environment false
ignore all All directories and files beginning with this prefix will be ignored when searching for files. This value defaults to '.' which leads to the behavior that all hidden files will be ignored. Setting this value to 'tmp' would mean that directories and files like 'tmpImages' and 'tmpFiles' would be ignored as well as all subsequent directories .
log all An instance of Zend_Log where untranslated messages and notices will be written to null
logMessage all The message which will be written into the log Untranslated message within '%locale%': %message%
logUntranslated all When this option is set to true, all message IDs which can not be translated will be written into the attached log false
scan all If set to null, no scanning of the directory structure will be done. If set to Zend_Translate::LOCALE_DIRECTORY the locale will be detected within the directory. If set to Zend_Translate::LOCALE_FILENAME the locale will be detected within the filename. See Section 57.5.3, “Automatic source detection” for details null
delimiter Csv Defines which sign is used as delimiter for separating source and translation ;
enclosure Csv Defines the enclosure character to be used. Defaults to a doublequote "
length Csv Defines the maximum length of a csv line. When set to 0 it will be detected automatically 0

When you want to have self defined options, you are also able to use them within all adapters. The setOptions() method can be used to define your option. setOptions() needs an array with the options you want to set. If an given option exists it will be signed over. You can define as much options as needed as they will not be checked by the adapter. Just make sure not to overwrite any existing option which is used by an adapter.

To return the option you can use the getOptions() method. When getOptions() is called without a parameter it will return all options set. When the optional parameter is given you will only get the specified option.

57.5.2. Handling languages

When working with different languages there are a few methods which will be useful.

The getLocale() method can be used to get the currently set language. It can either hold an instance of Zend_Locale or the identifier of a locale.

The setLocale() method sets a new standard language for translation. This prevents the need of setting the optional language parameter more than once to the translate() method. If the given language does not exist, or no translation data is available for the language, setLocale() tries to downgrade to the language without the region if any was given. A language of en_US would be downgraded to en. When even the downgraded language can not be found an exception will be thrown.

The isAvailable() method checks if a given language is already available. It returns TRUE if data for the given language exist.

And finally the getList() method can be used to get all currently set languages for an adapter returned as array.

Example 57.8. Handling languages with adapters

// returns the currently set language
$actual = $translate->getLocale();

// you can use the optional parameter while translating
echo $translate->_("my_text", "fr");
// or set a new language
echo $translate->_("my_text");
// refer to the base language
// fr_CH will be downgraded to fr
echo $translate->_("my_text");

// check if this language exist
if ($translate->isAvailable("fr")) {
    // language exists
} Automatical handling of languages

Note that as long as you only add new translation sources with the addTranslation() method Zend_Translate will automatically set the best fitting language for your environment when you use one of the automatic locales which are 'auto' or 'browser'. So normally you will not need to call setLocale(). This should only be used in conjunction with automatic source detection.

The algorithm will search for the best fitting locale depending on the user's browser and your environment. See the following example for details:

Example 57.9. Automatically language detection

// Let's expect the browser returns these language settings:
// HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE = "de_AT=1;fr=1;en_US=0.8";

// Example 1:
// When no fitting language is found, the message ID is returned
$translate = new Zend_Translate(
    array('scan' => Zend_Translate::LOCALE_FILENAME));

// Example 2:
// Best found fitting language is 'fr'
$translate = new Zend_Translate(
    array('scan' => Zend_Translate::LOCALE_FILENAME));

// Example 3:
// Best found fitting language is 'de' ('de_AT' will be degraded)
$translate = new Zend_Translate(
    array('scan' => Zend_Translate::LOCALE_FILENAME));

// Example 4:
// Returns 'it' as translation source and overrides the automatic settings
$translate = new Zend_Translate(
    array('scan' => Zend_Translate::LOCALE_FILENAME));

$translate->addTranslation('my_ru.mo', 'ru');

After setting a language manually with the setLocale() method the automatic detection will be switched off and overridden.

If you want to use it again, you can set the language auto with setLocale() which will reactivate the automatic detection for Zend_Translate.

Since Zend Framework 1.7.0 Zend_Translate also recognises an application wide locale. You can simply set a Zend_Locale instance to the registry like shown below. With this notation you can forget about setting the locale manually with each instance when you want to use the same locale multiple times.

// in your bootstrap file
$locale = new Zend_Locale();
Zend_Registry::set('Zend_Locale', $locale);

// default language when requested language is not available
$defaultlanguage = 'en';

// somewhere in your application
$translate = new Zend_Translate('gettext', 'my_de.mo');

if (!$translate->isAvailable($locale->getLanguage())) {
    // not available languages are rerouted to another language


57.5.3. Automatic source detection

Zend_Translate can detect translation sources automatically. So you don't have to declare each source file manually. You can let Zend_Translate do this job and scan the complete directory structure for source files.

[Note] Note

Automatic source detection is available since Zend Framework version 1.5 .

The usage is quite the same as initiating a single translation source with one difference. You must give a directory which has to be scanned instead a file.

Example 57.10. Scanning a directory structure for sources

// assuming we have the following structure
//  /language/
//  /language/login/login.tmx
//  /language/logout/logout.tmx
//  /language/error/loginerror.tmx
//  /language/error/logouterror.tmx

$translate = new Zend_Translate('tmx', '/language');

So Zend_Translate does not only search the given directory, but also all subdirectories for translation source files. This makes the usage quite simple. But Zend_Translate will ignore all files which are not sources or which produce failures while reading the translation data. So you have to make sure that all of your translation sources are correct and readable because you will not get any failure if a file is bogus or can not be read.

[Note] Note

Depending on how deep your directory structure is and how much files are within this structure it can take a long time for Zend_Translate to complete.

In our example we have used the TMX format which includes the language to be used within the source. But many of the other source formats are not able to include the language within the file. Even this sources can be used with automatic scanning if you do some pre-requisits as described below: Language through naming directories

One way to include automatic language detection is to name the directories related to the language which is used for the sources within this directory. This is the easiest way and is used for example within standard gettext implementations.

Zend_Translate needs the 'scan' option to know that it should search the names of all directories for languages. See the following example for details:

Example 57.11. Directory scanning for languages

// assuming we have the following structure
//  /language/
//  /language/de/login/login.mo
//  /language/de/error/loginerror.mo
//  /language/en/login/login.mo
//  /language/en/error/loginerror.mo

$translate = new Zend_Translate(
    array('scan' => Zend_Translate::LOCALE_DIRECTORY));

[Note] Note

This works only for adapters which do not include the language within the source file. Using this option for example with TMX will be ignored. Also language definitions within the filename will be ignored when using this option.

[Note] Note

You should be aware if you have several subdirectories under the same structure. Assuming we have a structure like /language/module/de/en/file.mo. In this case the path contains multiple strings which would be detected as locale. It could be either de or en. In such a case the behaviour is undefined and it is recommended to use file detection in such situations. Language through filenames

Another way to detect the language automatically is to use special filenames. You can either name the complete file or parts of a file after the used language. To use this way of detection you will have to set the 'scan' option at initiation. There are several ways of naming the sourcefiles which are described below:

Example 57.12. Filename scanning for languages

// assuming we have the following structure
//  /language/
//  /language/login/login_en.mo
//  /language/login/login_de.mo
//  /language/error/loginerror_en.mo
//  /language/error/loginerror_de.mo

$translate = new Zend_Translate(
    array('scan' => Zend_Translate::LOCALE_FILENAME)); Complete filename

Having the whole file named after the language is the simplest way but only viable if you have only one file per language.

/languages/es.mo Extension of the file

Another simple way to use the extension of the file for language detection. But this may be confusing since you will no longer have an idea which extension the file originally had.

/languages/view.es Filename tokens

Zend_Translate is also capable of detecting the language if it is included within the filename. But if you go this way you will have to separate the language with a token. There are three supported tokens which can be used: a dot '.', an underscore '_', or a hyphen '-'.

/languages/view_en.mo -> detects english
/languages/view_de.mo -> detects german
/languages/view_it.mo -> detects italian

The first found string delimited by a token which can be interpreted as a locale will be used. See the following example for details.

/languages/view_en_de.mo -> detects english
/languages/view_en_es.mo -> detects english and overwrites the first file
/languages/view_it_it.mo -> detects italian

All three tokens are used to detect the locale. When the filename contains multiple tokens, the first found token depends on the order of the tokens which are used. See the following example for details.

/languages/view_en-it.mo -> detects english because '_' will be used before '-'
/languages/view-en_it.mo -> detects italian because '_' will be used before '-'
/languages/view_en.it.mo -> detects italian because '.' will be used before '_'

57.5.4. Checking for translations

Normally text will be translated without any computation. But sometimes it is necessary to know if a text is translated or not, therefor the isTranslated() method can be used.

isTranslated($messageId, $original = false, $locale = null) takes the text you want to check as its first parameter, and as optional third parameter the locale for which you want to do the check. The optional second parameter declares whether translation is fixed to the declared language or a lower set of translations can be used. If you have a text which can be returned for 'en' but not for 'en_US' you will normally get the translation returned, but by setting $original to true, isTranslated() will return false.

Example 57.13. Checking if a text is translatable

$english = array(
    'message1' => 'Nachricht 1',
    'message2' => 'Nachricht 2',
    'message3' => 'Nachricht 3');

$translate = new Zend_Translate('array', $english, 'de_AT');

if ($translate->isTranslated('message1')) {
    print "'message1' can be translated";

if (!($translate->isTranslated('message1', true, 'de'))) {
    print "'message1' can not be translated to 'de'"
        . " as it's available only in 'de_AT'";

if ($translate->isTranslated('message1', false, 'de')) {
    print "'message1' can be translated in 'de_AT' as it falls back to 'de'";

57.5.5. How to log not found translations

When you have a bigger site or you are creating the translation files manually, you often have the problem that some messages are not translated. But there is an easy solution for you when you are using Zend_Translate.

You have to follow two or three simple steps. First, you have to create an instance of Zend_Log. Then you have to attach this instance to Zend_Translate. See the following example:

Example 57.14. Log translations

$translate = new Zend_Translate('gettext', $path, 'de');

// Create a log instance
$writer = new Zend_Log_Writer_Stream('/path/to/file.log');
$log    = new Zend_Log($writer);

// Attach it to the translation instance
    'log'             => $log,
    'logUntranslated' => true));

$translate->translate('unknown string');

Now you will have a new notice in the log: Untranslated message within 'de': unknown string.

[Note] Note

You should note that any translation which can not be found will be logged. This means all translations when a user requests a language which is not supported. Also every request for a message which can not be translated will be logged. Be aware, that 100 people requesting the same translation, will result 100 logged notices.

This feature can not only be used to log messages but also to attach this untranslated messages into an empty translation file. To do so you will have to write your own log writer which writes the format you want to have and strips the prepending "Untranslated message".

You can also set the 'logMessage' option when you want to have your own log message. Use the '%message%' token for placing the messageId within your log message, and the '%locale%' token for the requested locale. See the following example for a self defined log message:

Example 57.15. Self defined log messages

$translate = new Zend_Translate('gettext', $path, 'de');

// Create a log instance
$writer = new Zend_Log_Writer_Stream('/path/to/file.log');
$log    = new Zend_Log($writer);

// Attach it to the translation instance
    'log'             => $log,
    'logMessage'      => "Missing '%message%' within locale '%locale%'",
    'logUntranslated' => true));

$translate->translate('unknown string');

57.5.6. Accessing source data

Sometimes it is useful to have access to the translation source data. Therefor the following two functions are provided.

The getMessageIds($locale = null) method returns all known message IDs as array.

The getMessages($locale = null) method returns the complete translation source as an array. The message ID is used as key and the translation data as value.

Both methods accept an optional parameter $locale which, if set, returns the translation data for the specified language. If this parameter is not given, the actual set language will be used. Keep in mind that normally all translations should be available in all languages. Which means that in a normal situation you will not have to set this parameter.

Additionally the getMessages() method can be used to return the complete translation dictionary using the pseudo-locale 'all'. This will return all available translation data for each added locale.

[Note] Note

Attention: the returned array can be very big, depending on the number of added locales and the amount of translation data.

Example 57.16. Handling languages with adapters

// returns all known message IDs
$messageIds = $translate->getMessageIds();

// or just for the specified language
$messageIds = $translate->getMessageIds('en_US');

// returns all the complete translation data
$source = $translate->getMessages();

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