PHP gettext manager

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v4.0.0-RC1 2016-05-14 17:06 UTC


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Created by Oscar Otero (MIT License)

Gettext is a PHP (>=5.4) library to import/export/edit gettext from PO, MO, PHP, JS files, etc.


With composer (recomended):

composer require gettext/gettext

If you don't use composer in your project, you have to download and place this package in a directory of your project. You need to install also gettext/languages. Then, include the autoloaders of both projects in any place of your php code:

include_once "libs/gettext/src/autoloader.php";
include_once "libs/cldr-to-gettext-plural-rules/src/autoloader.php";

Classes and functions

This package contains the following classes:

  • Gettext\Translation - A translation definition
  • Gettext\Translations - A collection of translations
  • Gettext\Extractors\* - Import translations from various sources (po, mo, php, js, etc)
  • Gettext\Generators\* - Export translations to various formats (po, mo, php, json, etc)
  • Gettext\Translator - To use the translations in your php templates instead the gettext extension
  • Gettext\GettextTranslator - To use the gettext extension

Usage example

use Gettext\Translations;

//import from a .po file:
$translations = Translations::fromPoFile('locales/gl.po');

//edit some translations:
$translation = $translations->find(null, 'apple');

if ($translation) {

//export to a php array:

//and to a .mo file

If you want use this translations in your php templates without using the gettext extension:

use Gettext\Translator;

//Create the translator instance
$t = new Translator();

//Load your translations (exported as PhpArray):

//Use it:
echo $t->gettext('apple'); // "Mazá"

//If you want use global functions:

echo __('apple'); // "Mazá"

__e('apple'); // "Mazá"

To use this translations with the gettext extension:

use Gettext\GettextTranslator;

//Create the translator instance
$t = new GettextTranslator();

//Set the language and load the domain
$t->loadDomain('messages', 'Locale');

//Use it:
echo $t->gettext('apple'); // "Mazá"

//Or use the gettext functions
echo gettext('apple'); // "Mazá"

//If you want use the global functions

echo __('apple'); // "Mazá"

The benefits of using the functions provided by this library (__() instead _() or gettext()) are:

  • You are using the same functions, no matter whether the translations are provided by gettext extension or any other method
  • You can use variables easier because sprintf functionality is included. For example: __('Hello %s', 'world') instead sprintf(_('Hello %s'), 'world').


The Gettext\Translation class stores all information about a translation: the original text, the translated text, source references, comments, etc.

// __construct($context, $original, $plural)
$translation = new Gettext\Translation('comments', 'One comment', '%s comments');

$translation->setTranslation('Un comentario');
$translation->setPluralTranslation('%s comentarios');

$translation->addReference('templates/comments/comment.php', 34);
$translation->addComment('To display the amount of comments in a post');

echo $translation->getContext(); // comments
echo $translation->getOriginal(); // One comment
echo $translation->getTranslation(); // Un comentario

// etc...


The Gettext\Translations class stores a collection of translations:

$translations = new Gettext\Translations();

//You can add new translations using the array syntax
$translations[] = new Gettext\Translation('comments', 'One comment', '%s comments');

//Or using the "insert" method
$insertedTranslation = $translations->insert('comments', 'One comments', '%s comments');

//Find a specific translation
$translation = $translations->find('comments', 'One comments');

//Edit headers, domain, etc
$translations->setHeader('Last-Translator', 'Oscar Otero');


The extrators allows to fetch gettext values from any source. For example, to scan a .po file:

$translations = new Gettext\Translations();

//From a file
Gettext\Extractors\Po::fromFile('locales/en.po', $translations);

//From a string
$string = file_get_contents('locales2/en.po');
Gettext\Extractors\Po::fromString($string, $translations);

The better way to use extractors is using the magic methods of Gettext\Translations:

//Create a Translations instance using a po file
$translations = Gettext\Translations::fromPoFile('locales/en.po');

//Add more messages from other files

The available extractors are the following:

Name Description Example
Po Gets the messages from PO. example
Mo Gets the messages from MO. example
PhpCode Scans php code looking for all gettext functions (see translator_functions.php). example
JsCode Scans javascript code looking for all gettext functions (the same than PhpCode but for javascript). example
PhpArray Gets the messages from a php file that returns an array. example
Jed Gets the messages from a json compatible with Jed. example
Blade Scans a Blade template (For laravel users. example
Twig To scan a Twig template. example
JsonDictionary Gets the messages from a json (without plurals and context). example
YamlDictionary Gets the messages from a yaml (without plurals and context). example
CsvDictionary Gets the messages from csv (without plurals and context). example
Csv Gets the messages from csv. example
Yaml Gets the messages from yaml. example
Xliff Gets the messages from xliff (2.0). example


The generators export a Gettext\Translations instance to any format (po, mo, array, etc).

//Save to a file
Gettext\Generators\Po::toFile($translations, 'locales/en.po');

//Return as a string
$content = Gettext\Generators\Po::toString($translations);
file_put_contents('locales/en.po', $content);

Like extractors, the better way to use generators is using the magic methods of Gettext\Translations:

//Extract messages from a php code file
$translations = Gettext\Translations::fromPhpCodeFile('templates/index.php');

//Export to a po file

//Export to a po string
$content = $translatons->toPoString();
file_put_contents('locales/en.po', $content);

The available generators are the following:

Name Description Example
Po Exports to Po. example
Mo Exports to Mo. example
PhpArray Exports to php code that returns an array. example
Jed Exports to json format compatible with Jed. example
JsonDictionary Exports to json (without plurals and context). example
YamlDictionary Exports to yaml (without plurals and context). example
CsvDictionary Exports to csv (without plurals and context). example
Csv Exports to csv. example
Yaml Exports to yaml. example
Xliff Exports to xliff (2.0). example.


The class Gettext\Translator implements the gettext functions in php. Useful if you don't have the native gettext extension for php or want to avoid problems with it. You can load the translations from a php array file or using a Gettext\Translations instance:

use Gettext\Translator;

//Create a new instance of the translator
$t = new Translator();

//Load the translations using any of the following ways:

// 1. from php files (generated by Gettext\Extractors\PhpArray)

// 2. using the array directly
$array = include 'locales/gl.php';

// 3. using a Gettext\Translations instance (slower)
$translations = Gettext\Translations::fromPoFile('locales/gl.po');

//Now you can use it in your templates
echo $t->gettext('apple');


The class Gettext\GettextTranslator uses the gettext extension. It's useful because combines the performance of using real gettext functions but with the same API than Translator class, so you can switch to one or other translator deppending of the environment without change code of your app.

use Gettext\GettextTranslator;

//Create a new instance
$t = new GettextTranslator();

//It detects the environment variables to set the locale, but you can change it:

//Load the domains:
$t->loadDomain('messages', 'project/Locale');
//this means you have the file "project/Locale/gl/LC_MESSAGES/messages.po"

//Now you can use it in your templates
echo $t->gettext('apple');

Global functions

To ease the use of translations in your php templates, you can use the provided functions:

//Register the translator to use the global functions

echo __('apple'); // it's the same than $t->gettext('apple');

__e('apple'); // it's the same than echo $t->gettext('apple');

You can scan the php files containing these functions and extract the values with the PhpCode extractor:

<!-- index.php -->
        <?php echo __('Hello world'); ?>

Merge translations

To work with different translations you may want merge them in an unique file. There are two ways to do this:

The simplest way is adding new translations:

use Gettext\Translations;

$translations = Translations::fromPoFile('my-file1.po');

A more advanced way is merge two Translations instances:

use Gettext\Translations;

//Create a new Translations instances with our translations.

$translations1 = Translations::fromPoFile('my-file1.po');
$translations2 = Translations::fromPoFile('my-file2.po');

//Merge one inside other:

//Now translations1 has all values

The second argument of mergeWith defines how the merge will be done. You can pass one or various of the following predefined constants:

  • MERGE_ADD: Adds the translations from translations2 to translations1 if they not exists
  • MERGE_REMOVE: Removes the translations in translations1 if they are not in translations2
  • MERGE_OVERRIDE: Overrides the translations in translations1 if they are in translations2
  • MERGE_HEADERS: Merges the headers from translations2 to translations 1
  • MERGE_REFERENCES: Merges the references from translations2 to translations1
  • MERGE_COMMENTS: Merges the comments from translations2 to translations1
  • MERGE_LANGUAGE: Applies the language and plural forms of translations2 to translation1
  • MERGE_PLURAL: Translations with the same id but one with plurals and other singular will be merged


use Gettext\Translations;

//Scan the php code to find the latest gettext translations
$translations = Translations::fromPhpCodeFile('my-templates.php');

//Get the translations of the code that are stored in a po file
$poTranslations = Translations::fromPoFile('locale.po');

//Apply the translations from the po file to the translations, and merges header and comments but not references and without add or remove translations:
$translations->mergeWith($poTranslations, Translations::MERGE_HEADERS | Translations::MERGE_COMMENTS);

//Now save a po file with the result

Note, if the second argument is not defined, the default is self::MERGE_ADD | self::MERGE_HEADERS | self::MERGE_COMMENTS | self::MERGE_REFERENCES | self::MERGE_PLURAL | self::MERGE_OVERRIDE

Use from CLI

There's a Robo task to use this library from the command line interface:


Thanks to all contributors specially to @mlocati.