multi-language-interface

If you aim to create a multi-language website using PHP + Mysql , remember the following tips.

  • You can use mysql database for this purpose rather than using separate language files as usual content management system does.
  • You can create a table with following structure for this purpose.Table: muli-lang
    stringid:
    page
    id:
    en:
    arb:
    fr:
  • Here stringid is the code for getting content eg: welcomemessage
    pageid is for saving in which page the content belongs to. eg: homepage, login_page etc
    In field en, you have to enter the message in english,eg: Welcome to my website
    In arb field you can enter the corresponding translation in arab. eg: رحبا بكفي وقعي
  • If you need to add more languages, it is just adding one more column to this table and put all translated values.
  • Write a class or functions in PHP to retrieve all the informations.
    eg: function get(languageid, pageid) returns corresponding message
  • Use session to save lang value. For example if you switch to french, set a variable lang= fr and use this variable to decide which column is to access from multi-lang table.eg: the sql will be , SELECT $lang FROM multi-lang WHERE stringid = ‘welcomemessage’
  • For some string fragment like aboutus, contactus etc, it has global scope; then leave page_id as blank
  • To avoid multiple calling of functions to get translation, write a common function to get all translation for a particular pageid as array, and use this array all through the page. Thus you can avoid mysql query multiple times.
    eg: function get
    all($pageid) returns array, say $Translate of all strings replacement. $Translate[‘loginmessage’], $Translate[‘login_error’]
  • Additional things to remember:
  • Use this meta tab in html header
    <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text /html; charset=UTF-8” />
    to show all languages
  • Create my_sql table in UTF-8 format
  • Execute the following query before executing any retrieval queries. Otherwise you may get ????? for language like Arabic, Hindi, Chinese etc.
    mysql_query(“SET CHARACTER SET ‘utf8′”, $link);

I hope these information may help you when you develop a multi-langauge support website

Thank you
Sajith