Starting with internationalization

Have a project and want to translate it into several languages? This guide will help you do so. Several typical situations are showcased, but most of the examples are generic and can be applied to other scenarios as well.

Before translating any software, you should realize that languages around the world are really different and you should not make any assumption based on your experience. For most of languages it will look weird if you try to concatenate a sentence out of translated segments. You also should properly handle plural forms because many languages have complex rules for that and the internationalization framework you end up using should support this.

Last but not least, sometimes it might be necessary to add some context to the translated string. Imagine a translator would get string Sun to translate. Without context most people would translate that as our closest star, but it might be actually used as an abbreviation for Sunday.

Choosing internationalization framework

Choose whatever is standard on your platform, try to avoid reinventing the wheel by creating your own framework to handle localizations. Weblate supports most of the widely used frameworks, see Formatos de ficheiros suportados for more information (especially Translation types capabilities).

Our personal recommendation for some platforms is in the following table. This is based on our experience, but that can not cover all use cases, so always consider your environment when doing the choice.


Recommended format


Android string resources


Apple iOS strings


Qt Linguist .ts


GNU gettext


GNU gettext 1


GNU gettext


.XML resource files


GNU gettext


Ruby YAML files

Web extensions

WebExtension JSON




JSON i18next files 3


The native Gettext support in PHP is buggy and often missing on Windows builds, it is recommended to use third party library motranslator instead.


You can also use Propriedades Java if plurals are not needed.


You can also use plain JSON files if plurals are not needed.

The more detailed workflow for some formats is described in following chapters: