How to Update Textpattern Language Strings


Textpattern CMS is an open source content management system. It’s actively supported by a team of developers and a helpful user community. As the software is improved and enhanced, changes are made to the language strings included in the software. The front-end and admin-side text is available in numerous languages, made available via an RPC server as text files of language-specific translations, all of which are maintained by community members.

These text files translate Textpattern-speak into local strings. For example, as a Brit I use the en-gb language pack (excerpted):

#@version 4.5.5;1401179608
add_new_author => Add new author
and_mailed_to => and emailed to
assign_assets_to => Assign user’s content to
author_already_exists =&gt; Author <strong>{name}</strong> already exists.
author_deleted =&gt; Author <strong>{name}</strong> deleted.
author_updated =&gt; Author <strong>{name}</strong> updated.
a_message_will_be_sent_with_login =&gt; A message will be sent with login information.
a_new_password_will_be_mailed =&gt; A new password will be emailed.

If you have Spanish as your preferred language, you would use the es-es pack instead (excerpted):

#@version 4.5.5;1401180682
add_new_author =&gt; Añadir nuevo autor
and_mailed_to =&gt; y enviado a
assign_assets_to =&gt; Asignar contenido del usuario a
author_already_exists =&gt; El autor <strong>{name}</strong> ya existe.
author_deleted =&gt; Autor <strong>{name}</strong> borrado.
author_updated =&gt; Autor <strong>{name}</strong> actualizado.
a_message_will_be_sent_with_login =&gt; Se enviará un mensaje con la información de acceso.
a_new_password_will_be_mailed =&gt; Se enviará una nueva contraseña por email.

Notice how the part before the => is the same in each case, and the part after => is the localised text. From time to time, these strings are updated. Most of the time it’s for presentational, grammar or other similar reasons. When new functionality is added to Textpattern, new strings are added and translated. It’s a good habit to routinely check for language pack updates in your Textpattern administration panel, regardless of whether you’ve updated your Textpattern recently or not.

In this following example, my Textpattern is using the en-gb language strings and an update is available. The indication for this update availability is the highlighted entry in the language list. I have a single language pack installed, and the status says ‘Update’ alongside the date of the most recent update:

Google ChromeScreenSnapz001

Clicking the Update link will trigger the language pack update. Assuming that your server can access the Textpattern RPC server (, your Textpattern installation will poll for an update and install the new language strings. The updated language pane now looks like this:

Google ChromeScreenSnapz002

Note how the Update text now says Updated and is no longer bold or hyperlinked, and the bottom of the browser has a green confirmation bar that all is well. Your Textpattern language strings are now up-to-date.

Related to this, if you spot a mistranslation or error in any Textpattern language pack, it’s pretty easy to fix it. In the first instance, join the Textpattern Internationalisation forum and explain what’s wrong. You can also fork the Textpacks GitHub repo and make changes to it – submitting a pull request for the strings will put your changes up for consideration by the development team and, if your changes are approved, you can call yourself a Textpattern CMS contributor. Neat, huh?

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Pete Cooper

Pete Cooper has been using Textpattern since 2005. Textpattern is his preferred CMS weapon of choice. Its logical and flexible approach to content management makes Pete happy, as does its lightweight core and helpful user community. Pete's website - - runs on top of Textpattern and chronicles his day-to-day experiences from his home near the Atlantic in north Cornwall, United Kingdom.

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