Creating a Language Pack

Creating an array based language pack

This documentation is for Zen Cart 1.5.8 and above; if you need the older documentation, please see Pre 1.5.8 Language Files.

If you are not familiar with the new language file format for Zen Cart 1.5.8 and above, please see Developer Information on Array based Language files.

If you’re multilingual, we’d love to have your help building new language packs. We have a few updated language packs but we need more.

Developers seeking to build new translations for 1.5.8 and above have two options:

  1. Start with the English files, and do the translations by hand. The advantage of this approach is that it is just translation; all the necessary code changes in each language file have been done.

  2. Start with an older language pack, and run the Language File Converter. This reduces the translation burden, but requires coding skills, since the produced files will need to be hand edited in cases where the tool didn’t produce perfect results.

Of course, a hybrid approach is possible where (2) is performed, and then issues are resolved on a per-file basis using approach (1).

Issues with the Converter

The Converter is not perfect. It allows rapid conversion of language files, but some portion of the output will still need manual correction. Translators following approach (2) above will need to make changes in the following situations:

  • references to global variables such as $template (example: credit_cards.php)

  • separate code paths for admin vs storefront (example: square.php)

  • backward references to language definitions from earlier within the same file (example: shopping_cart.php reference to TEXT_CART_HELP)

  • Parameterized calls to zen_href_link (example: checkout_success.php)

  • PHP statements in isolation (example: setlocale in english.php)

  • checks for if (!defined( (example: paypalwpp.php)

  • links to javascript functions (example: shopping_cart.php definition for TEXT_CART_HELP)

  • definitions which begin with a constant (example: gv_faq.php definition for NAVBAR_TITLE)

Referring to the english translation will demonstrate a known-working approach for fixing these issues.

One common failure the converter has is failing to change a comma to a double arrow operator in a define. For example, changing

define('TEXT_ONETIME_CHARGES_EMAIL',"\t" . '*onetime charges = ');


'TEXT_ONETIME_CHARGES_EMAIL', "\t" . '*onetime charges = ',

These failures can be detected with this grep pattern:

grep "'[A-Z0-9_]*'[\s]*," *.php | grep -v "=>"

Available Array Based Language Packs for Zen Cart 1.5.8 and above

Please see User information on Array based Language files.

Code Conversion

If you need to include a language file directly, see the code example in the Upgrading plugins for 1.5.8 FAQ.

Language File Help:

Still have questions? Use the Search box in the upper right, or try the full list of FAQs. If you can't find it there, head over to the Zen Cart support forum and ask there in the appropriate subforum. In your post, please include your Zen Cart and PHP versions, and a link to your site.

Is there an error or omission on this page? Please post to General Questions on the support forum. Or, if you'd like to open a pull request, just review the guidelines and get started. You can even PR right here.
Last modified July 8, 2023 by Scott C Wilson (e547242).