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Localization using gettext¶
In addition to Importing translations in CSV format, Godot
also supports loading translation files written in the GNU gettext
.po and compiled
.mo since Godot 4.0).
For an introduction to gettext, check out
A Quick Gettext Tutorial.
It's written with C projects in mind, but much of the advice
also applies to Godot (with the exception of
gettext is a standard format, which can be edited using any text editor or GUI editors such as Poedit.
Compared to CSV, gettext works better with version control systems like Git, as each locale has its own messages file.
Multiline strings are more convenient to edit in gettext files compared to CSV files.
gettext is a more complex format than CSV and can be harder to grasp for people new to software localization.
People who maintain localization files will have to install gettext tools on their system. However, as Godot supports using text-based message files (
.po), translators can test their work without having to install gettext tools.
Installing gettext tools¶
The command line gettext tools are required to perform maintenance operations, such as updating message files. Therefore, it's strongly recommended to install them.
Windows: Download an installer from this page. Any architecture and binary type (shared or static) works; if in doubt, choose the 64-bit static installer.
Linux: On most distributions, install the
gettextpackage from your distribution's package manager.
Creating the PO template¶
Automatic generation using the editor¶
Since Godot 4.0, the editor can generate a PO template automatically from
specified scene and script files. This POT generation also supports translation
contexts and pluralization if used in a script, with the optional second
tr() and the
Open the Project Settings' Localization > POT Generation tab, then use the Add… button to specify the path to your project's scenes and scripts that contain localizable strings:
After adding at least one scene or script, click Generate POT in the
top-right corner, then specify the path to the output file. This file can be
placed anywhere in the project directory, but it's recommended to keep it in a
subdirectory such as
locale, as each locale will be defined in its own file.
You can then move over to creating a messages file from a PO template.
Remember to regenerate the PO template after making any changes to localizable strings, or after adding new scenes or scripts. Otherwise, newly added strings will not be localizable and translators won't be able to update translations for outdated strings.
If the automatic generation approach doesn't work out for your needs, you can create a PO template by hand in a text editor. This file can be placed anywhere in the project directory, but it's recommended to keep it in a subdirectory, as each locale will be defined in its own file.
Create a directory named
locale in the project directory. In this directory,
save a file named
messages.pot with the following contents:
# Don't remove the two lines below, they're required for gettext to work correctly. msgid "" msgstr "" # Example of a regular string. msgid "Hello world!" msgstr "" # Example of a string with pluralization. msgid "There is %d apple." msgid_plural "There are %d apples." msgstr "" msgstr "" # Example of a string with a translation context. msgctxt "Actions" msgid "Close" msgstr ""
Messages in gettext are made of
msgid is the source string (usually in English),
msgstr will be
the translated string.
msgstr value in PO template files (
.pot) should always be
empty. Localization will be done in the generated
.po files instead.
Creating a messages file from a PO template¶
msginit command is used to turn a PO template into a messages file.
For instance, to create a French localization file, use the following command
while in the
msginit --no-translator --input=messages.pot --locale=fr
The command above will create a file named
fr.po in the same directory
as the PO template.
Alternatively, you can do that graphically using Poedit, or by uploading the POT file to your web platform of choice.
Loading a messages file in Godot¶
To register a messages file as a translation in a project, open the Project Settings, then go to the <