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Creating Multilanguage Applications Translated by Users

The problem of creating multi-language applications that allow users to enter translations and even add new language without recompiling is easier than it might look at first glance. This is of course, if you use TsiLang Components Suite usage to create multilingual software.

Let's describe the solution for this problem using sample project MastApp from the Demos Delphi sub-folder.

1. Translating the project.

We don't describe the translation process detail; assuming that you are already familiar with this part of TsiLang Components Suite. We just mention the components used for translation.

We use one TsiLangDispatcher; one TsiLang and TsiLangLinked on all other project forms.


TsiLang Translation Wizard

Picture 1. Translation Wizard.

Place TsiLang and TsiLangDispatcher onto MastData unit since it is auto-created and used by all project forms.

2. Creating a translations file.

We can create an external translations file, either after providing the translations, or even without translations, but having just English terms. We use File|Save/Load Translations|Save Project from the TsiLang Expert menu (TsiLang Expert is available under the Tools Delphi menu). It is recommended to use SIB files to store translations as SIB files are much faster than SIL files. But you may also use SIL files as they store data in the simple ASCII format, which can be edited by any text editor.

3. Using an external translations file and dynamic update of available languages.

There are two ways:

  1. Defining the file name in FileName property of TsiLangDispatcher
  2. Checking the existence of the translation file in a specified location in code, and loading it manually.

In the first case, the dispatcher will automatically check the availability of the file defined in FileName property and load it into all project forms. To implement the second way you can use the following sample code:

procedure TMastData.DataModuleCreate(Sender: TObject);
var
  sOurSibFile: string;
begin
 // determine the file name
  sOurSibFile := ExtractFilePath(Application.ExeName) + 'TheNameOfYourFile.sib';
 // checking the existence of file
  if FileExists(sOurSibFile) then
  begin
  // set the property value
  // this will automatically load forms created later
    siLangDispatcher1.FileName := sOurSibFile;
  // load translations into already created forms
    siLangDispatcher1.LoadAllFromFile(sOurSibFile);
  end;
end;

Select any of the ways above, depending on your own preferences.

To dynamically display the available languages:

  • Add the new top level menu item to the application's main menu.
Creating the languages menu

Picture 2. Creating the languages menu.

  • Add the code that will dynamically adjust and create menu items according to the available languages. This code can be added to the main form OnShow event:
// changing active language upon menu item click
procedure TMainForm.LanguageMenuItemClick(Sender: TObject);
begin
  MastData.siLangDispatcher1.ActiveLanguage := TMenuItem(Sender).Tag;
  TMenuItem(Sender).Checked := True;
end;

procedure TMainForm.FormShow(Sender: TObject);
var
   MenuItem: TMenuItem;
   I: Integer;
begin
  for I := 1 to MastData.siLangDispatcher1.NumOfLanguages do
  begin
    MenuItem := TMenuItem.Create(Self);
      // set Caption
    MenuItem.Caption := MastData.siLangDispatcher1.LangNames[I - 1];
      // set Tag property for easier language switching
    MenuItem.Tag := I;
    MenuItem.RadioItem := True;
      // display current language
    MenuItem.Checked := I = MastData.siLangDispatcher1.ActiveLanguage;
    // set event handler
    MenuItem.OnClick := LanguageMenuItemClick;
      // add menu item
    Language1.Add(MenuItem);
  end;
end;

Please note! The code of language updating and displaying must be executed after loading of the translations file.

4. Conclusion.

Run the project and "that's all"! The task which looked complicated at first sight was solved in few minutes using TsiLang Components Suite. Users will be able to translate your applications without recompiling and even without your assistance. You can offer your users to use SIL Editor, which could be downloaded from http://www.tsilang.com/download.html.

TsiLang Components Suite home page: http://www.tsilang.com.

Latest version can be downloaded from: http://www.tsilang.com/download.html.

You can download this article in PDF format here: creating_multilanguage_applications_translated_by_users.pdf.

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