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Multilingual Plone UI package, enables maintenance of translations for both Dexterity types and Archetypes

Project Description


Talking about multi-language support in Plone is talk about Products.LinguaPlone. It has been the defacto standard for managing translations of Archetypes-based content types in Plone through the years. Somehow its functionality never made its way into the Plone core and today is in legacy status. Nowadays, Plone faces the rising of Dexterity content types and its incoming adoption into the Plone core in the near future (4.3) and complete the transition to Plone as default content types in Plone 5. was designed originally to provide Plone a whole multilingual story. Using ZCA technologies, enables translations to Dexterity and Archetypes content types as well managed via an unified UI.

This module provides the user interface for managing content translations. It’s the app package of the next generation Plone multilingual engine. It’s designed to work with Dexterity content types and the old fashioned Archetypes based content types as well. It only works with Plone 4.1 and above due to the use of UUIDs to reference the translations.

After more than 7 years, a GSOC, redesigns, reimplementations due to deprecated libraries, two major Plone versions finally we are able to say that is finally here.


PAM is composed of four packages, two are mandatory:

  • (UI)
  • plone.multilingual (core)

and two optionals (at least one should be installed):

  • plone.multilingualbehavior (enables Dexterity support via a behavior)
  • archetypes.multilingual (enables Archetypes support)


To use this package with both Dexterity and Archetypes based content types you should add the following two lines to your eggs buildout section:

eggs =

If you need to use this package only with Archetypes based content types you only need the following line:

eggs =


After re-running your buildout and installing the newly available add-ons, you should go to the Languages section of your site’s control panel and select at least two or more languages for your site. You will now be able to create translations of Plone’s default content types, or to link existing content as translations.


These are the most important features PAM provides.

Root Language folders

After the setup, PAM will create root folders for each of your site’s languages and put translated content into the appropriate folders. A language folder implements INavigationRoot, so from the user’s point of view, each language is “jailed” inside its correspondent language folder. There are subscribers in place to capture user interaction with content and update the language in contents accordingly, for example when user moves or copy content between language folders.

Babel view

An evolution of the LP translate view, unified for either Archetypes and Dexterity content types. It features an already translated content viewer for the current content being edited via an ajaxified dinamic selector that shows them on the fly on user request.

Language independent fields

PAM has support for language independent fields, but with a twist respect the LP implementation. As PAM does design does not give more relevance to one translated object above the others siblings (has no canonical object), fields marked as language independent get copied over all the members of the translation group always. The PAM UI will warn you about this behavior by reminding you that the values in the field on the other group participants will be overwritten.

Translation locator policy

When translating content, this policy decides how it would be placed in the site’s structure. There are two policies in place:

  • LP way, the translation gets placed in the nearest translated folder in parent’s hierarchy
  • Ask user where to place the translated element in the destination language root folder

Language selector policy

While browsing the site, the language selector viewlet allows users to switch site’s content language and ease access between translations of the current content. There are two policies in place in case the translation of a specific language does not exist (yet):

  • LP way, the selector shows the nearest translated container.
  • Shows the user an informative view that shows the current available translations for the current content.

Neutral root folder support

The root language folders are used to place the tree of the correspondent language content. However, there are some use cases we need content that does not belongs to any language. For example, for assets or side resources like images, videos and documents. There is need to maintain a language neutral folder for place this kind of objects. After PAM setup, there is a special folder called Language shared. All items placed in this folder will have neutral as its default language and will be visible from the other root language folders as they were placed there.

Translation map

In order to ease the translation tasks, we devised a tool that displays in a useful way all the current translated objects and its current translation information. The map also shows a list of missing translations in case you want to build a mirrored (completely) translated site.

Google Translation Service integration

If you are subscriber of the Google Translation service (a paid service), you can setup your API key on Languages site setup. Then, you will notice a new icon in the babel view that takes the original field on the left side and using Google Translations service, translates its contents and fill the right side field.

LinguaPlone migration

You can migrate your existing LP powered site to PAM using the Migration tab in the languages control panel. This non-destructive procedure will copy the translation information stored in content objects used by LP to the translation storage structures used in PAM.


Sometimes, it can be handy to have at hand a procedure that dumps translation information to an exportable format for later use. You can do so in the tab Backup in languages control panel.

For information about making your Dexterity content type translatable, see the plone.multilingualbehavior documentation.

Marking objects as translatables


By default, if PAM is installed, Archetypes-based content types are marked as translatables


Users should mark a dexterity content type as translatable by assigning a the multilingual behavior to the definition of the content type either via file system, supermodel or through the web.

Marking fields as language independant


The language independent fields on Archetype-based content are marked the same way as in LinguaPlone:



If you want to completely remove LinguaPlone of your installation, you should make sure that your code are dependant in any way of LP.


There are four ways of achieve it.

Grok directive

In your content type class declaration:

from plone.multilingualbehavior import directives


In your content type XML file declaration:

<field name="myField" type="zope.schema.TextLine" lingua:independent="true">
    <description />


In your code:

from plone.multilingualbehavior.interfaces import ILanguageIndependentField
alsoProvides(ISchema['myField'], ILanguageIndependentField)

Through the web

Via the content type definition in the Dexterity Content Types control panel.

Internal design of plone.multilingual

All the internal features are implemented on the package plone.multilingual.

The key points are:

  1. Each translation is a content object
  2. There is no canonical object
  3. The translation reference storage is external to the content object
  4. Adapt all the steps on translation
  5. Language get/set via an unified adapter
  6. Translatable marker interface(s)

There is no canonical content object

Having a canonical object on the content space produces a dependency which is not orthogonal with the normal behavior of Plone. Content objects should be autonomous and you should be able to remove it. This is the reason because we removed the canonical content object. There is a canonical object on the translation infrastructure but is not on the content space.

Translation reference storage

In order to maintain the relations between the different language objects we designed a local utility that stores the relation tree on a BTree. The relations with all the content are done using default Plone implementation of UUIDs. We decided to push on that direction because:

  • UUID are the actual content object identifier
  • It’s faster to access or modify one (or several) translation at once without waking objects
  • It’s easier to work on all the translation (exports/imports)
  • It’s easier to maintain the integrity of all the translations
  • It allows to access to the whole translation graph from one centralized point of view enabling other uses of this graph, for example, the translation map

Adapt all the steps on translation

The different aspects involved on a translation are adapted, so it’s possible to create different policies for different types, sites, etc.

  • ITranslationFactory - General factory used to create a new content

    • ITranslationLocator - Where we are going to locate the new translated content

      Default : If the parent folder is translated create the content on the translated parent folder, otherwise create on the parent folder.

    • ITranslationCloner - Method to clone the original object to the new one

      Default : Nothing

    • ITranslationIdChooser - Which id is the translation

      Default : The original id + lang code-block

  • ILanguageIndependentFieldsManager - Manager for language independent fields

    Default: Nothing

Language get/set via an unified adapter

In order to access and modify the language of a content type regardless the type (Archetypes/Dexterity) there is a interface/adapter:


You can use:

from plone.multilingual.interfaces import ILanguage
language = ILanguage(context).get_language()

or in case you want to set the language of a content:

language = ILanguage(context).set_language('ca')

Translatable marker interface

In order to know if a content can be translated there is a marker interface:



GNU General Public License, version 2


This is the planned feature list for PAM:


  • Babel view
  • Root language folders
  • Translation locator policy
  • Language selector policy
  • Neutral root folder support
  • Translation map
  • Google Translation Service integration
  • LinguaPlone migration
  • Backup


  • XLIFF export/import
  • Iterate support: we know there are some needs about iterate integration
  • LinguaPlus/linguatools set of useful tools
  • Outdated translations alerts and translation workflows support


  • support
  • Add support for Deco layouts and content types
  • Pluggable translation policies
  • Pluggable language policies negotiations

Credits has been developed based on LinguaPlone by:

Design and development –
Iskra (Ramon Navarro Bosch, Victor Fernandez de Alba)
Additional funding/sponsorship:
Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, Centre for New European studies (Jonathan Lewis)

Also many thanks to

Jan-Carel Brand:
For language independent field implementation on AT
Anne Walter:
For pushing for a initial working version

Thomas Massmann, Martijn Pieters, Martin Aspelli, David Glick


1.0b3 2012-10-04

  • Select the original language in the dexterity babel edit form. [maurits]
  • Add after migration action on view [do3cc]
  • Multilingual Map [ramon]
  • Univeral link [ramon]
  • Catalog patch bug solving [ramon]
  • Language selector bug solving [sneridagh]
  • Babel view javascripts unification and optimization [ramon]
  • Neutral language folder and menu options added [ramon]
  • New tests [sneridagh]
  • Moving templates to templates folder [ramon]
  • Updating language options [ramon]
  • Menu refactoring [ramon]
  • Allow to see all content on adding translation [ramon]

1.0b2 - 2012-07-08

  • change language index to Language to LinguaPlone coexistance [ramon]
  • don’t rebuild the complete catalog on installing [pbauer]
  • add indexes via setuphandler instead of xml to prevents purging on reinstall [pbauer]
  • make babel-view align fields next to each other [do3cc]
  • updated .po files [gborelli]
  • Added script in order to simplify updating translations [gborelli]
  • Added italian translation [gborelli]
  • Do not fail when the front-page cannot be moved to a new folder during setup. [maurits]
  • Make it possible to override the portal_type that is used when creating a root language folder. [maurits]

1.0b1 - 2012-04-03

  • Added Google Translation Service ajax service [ramon]
  • Added babel view on AT [sneridagh]
  • Added babel view on dexterity [ramon]
  • Added the option to not filter language on folder_contents view [ramon]
  • Added to translation menu to edit a translated language [ramon]
  • Initial setup of a site moving content to language folders [ramon]

0.1a2 - 2011-12-04

  • Improved Control Panel [ramon]
  • Improved Language Control Panel site languages selector widget to be more usable.
  • Setup the root folder layout for each configured site languages on languages control panel save settings [ramon, sneridagh]
  • Adapt languageselector viewlet from LP [ramon]
  • Re-enable and adapt the searchResults patch again [ramon]
  • Cleaning description of packages and registerProfile of paml [sneridagh]

0.1a1 - 2011-10-03

  • Initial version [ramon, awello, sneridagh]

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