User interface texts and default_lang

MoinMoin tries to adapt the user interface to the language the user prefers.

If the user puts a specific language preference into moin UserPreferences setting, that language will be used for the user interface. But the user doesn't even need to do that if he already has configured his browser with his language preferences.

If there is no specific UserPreferences language setting, moin tries to adapt to the languages the user configured in his browser. So if the browser tells moin that its preference is Canadian English, then German, then English in general and moin has German and English available (but not a specific configuration for Canadian English), then the user will get a German user interface.

If (and only if) there is no common language in the user's browser configuration and in moin, moin will fall back to using what is configured as default_lang. This is also the case if the user's browser does not specify any language.

System pages, including FrontPage

The MoinMoin distribution archive contains the system pages (like RecentChanges) in different languages (see SystemPagesGroup), selecting the correct language in the same way as for the user interface.

For example, if the navi_bar contains a link to FrontPage, moin will first look for a translation of FrontPage into the user's language. So if the user's language is German (de), we obtain the German translation of FrontPage, which is StartSeite. (Internally, moin uses MoinMoin/i18n/ for that, which is automatically generated out of de.po,) Moin will use StartSeite if that page actually exists; otherwise, it will fall back to using FrontPage.

This is fine if you want to have a FrontPage and translations of it. But what to do if you don't want that?

Either delete any translated page of FrontPage - they will only be used if they exist. Or simply use the page_front_page configuration variable to choose something different from FrontPage as your front page, e.g. MyProject. Moin will then try to look up a translation for MyProject, but usually won't find any - and thus simply use MyProject no matter what language the user prefers.

Built-in vs. user-specified translations

MoinMoin normally uses built-in translation (see MoinMoin/i18n/*) for translating user interface text and system page names in navi_bar.

But there is the possibility to customize navi_bar with your own stuff. Moin has no built-in translation for that usually, so what to do if you want to have them translated the same way as FrontPage usually is?

Simply create some pages like GermanDict, FrenchDict, etc. (use the english name of the language) and put a definition list on them which defines the translations for the English terms, e.g. on page GermanDict:

 MyProject:: MeinProjekt
 LatestNews:: NeuesteNachrichten

Moin then will use those dict pages if it can't find the text in its built-in translation dictionaries.

How to specify the page language

It is highly recommended to specify the page language in the page header like this:

#language he

The language name is the iso-639-1 name of the language. Languages that moin does not support are ignored.

This is critical if the wiki contains content in different directions, like Hebrew pages, which should display in right to left direction, and English pages, which should display in left to right direction.

In the past, system pages had a language comment: ##language:en. This comment has no effect, and should be changed to the new #language en format. To repair old pages in your wiki, run in your wiki data directory. Back up your wiki data directory before doing this!

HelpOnLanguages (last modified 2005-06-11 14:10:31)