Language support

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▶ Add-on development
▶ Language support
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The following page explains exactly how to add a new language translation to Kodi, and how to maintain/update an existing language file in Kodi.
English (United Kingdom) is the default language of Kodi so it is the English language in the Git repository that is always up-to-date.
Please always base your translations of the latest English language file from Git. The latest language files for Kodi can be found and downloaded here (link).

1 Language add-ons

By default Kodi only includes one language which is English (united Kingdom). All other languages have been moved to individual language add-ons which are available form our Kodi repository for download and install. They are auto update by Team Kodi once in a while and pushed to our repository from which you will receive these updates depending on what language(s) you have installed.

2 What is langinfo.xml

The langinfo.xml file contains language and region specific localization settings used internally by Kodi. Basically it is the default code page Kodi uses for this language file.

2.1 Layout of a langinfo.xml file


The <charset> section: <gui>: Specifies the character encoding of everything within Kodi that is not unicode. E.g. id3 tags with none unicode encoding. <subtitle>: Default character encoding of subtitles when using a TTF (True-Type-Font). Choose one encoding for each in the list below. The values may differ if you like.
The <dvd> section: Defines the default languages for DVD-Video menu, audio and subtitle language for the VideoPlayer. Choose one for each entry out of the list of ISO-639 language abbreviations. If the DVD-Video you are playing does not support the language that you specified then it will default to English.

3 What is strings.po

This files contains all strings displayed in the user interface of Kodi.

3.1 Layout of the strings.po file

# Kodi Media Center language file
# Addon Name: Skin Widgets
# Addon id:
# Addon Provider: Martijn, phil65
msgid ""
msgstr ""
"Project-Id-Version: Kodi Addons\n"
"Report-Msgid-Bugs-To: [email protected]\n"
"POT-Creation-Date: YEAR-MO-DA HO:MI+ZONE\n"
"PO-Revision-Date: YEAR-MO-DA HO:MI+ZONE\n"
"Last-Translator: Kodi Translation Team\n"
"Language-Team: English (\n"
"MIME-Version: 1.0\n"
"Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8\n"
"Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit\n"
"Language: en\n"
"Plural-Forms: nplurals=2; plural=(n != 1);\n"

msgctxt "#32001"
msgid "Recommended"
msgstr ""

msgctxt "#32002"
msgid "Random Items"
msgstr ""

# empty string with id 32003

msgctxt "#32004"
msgid "Randomize time (minutes)"
msgstr ""

msgctxt "#32005"
msgid "Use season folders"
msgstr ""

This is a format defined by GNU gettext but adapted in a very specific way by Kodi. The blocks of 3 settings in the example above are defined by GNU gettext as:

msgctxt context
msgid untranslated-string
msgstr translated-string

Where the text is defined by untranslated-string and context serves to differentiate identical values.

Take note, in Kodi, these are used as follows:

msgctxt "#label_id"
msgid label_text
msgstr translation

where label_id is a numeric ID. These IDs are reserved by Kodi:

  • strings 30000 thru 30999 reserved for plugins and plugin settings
  • strings 31000 thru 31999 reserved for skins
  • strings 32000 thru 32999 reserved for scripts
  • strings 33000 thru 33999 reserved for common strings used in add-ons

and are used in settings.xml to label settings.

label_text defines the English text for the label.

translation is empty for "en_GB" labels, and the translation for other languages with msgid retaining the English text.

The important thing is that you cannot refer to the label with msgid in the file, you need to use the label_id which must be encoded in msgctxt as above.

You can of course edit .po files in a text editor or with a specialist editor. There is a tool that will help converting old settings.xml files to the settings.po format:

3.2 Layout of the language folders

Kodi loads the strings.po file depending on the set interface language. Should it find a matching language it will try to load that strings.po. If not available it will always fall back to English (United Kingdom). For this to work you will need to place the strings.po in the correctly named folder depending on the language. These folders use "language-country" naming scheme.





Please use lower case for folder and file names.

An extensive example list of used languages can be found here

3.3 Layout of the old strings.xml file

Stop hand.png Strings.xml support was completely removed from v19 Matrix. Addons should update and comply to the strings.po file from now on.

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
       <string id="32001">Recommended</string>
       <string id="32002">Random Items</string>
       <string id="32003">Only unplayed</string>
       <string id="32004">Randomize time (minutes)</string>
       <string id="32005">Use season folders</string>
       <string id="32006">Use timer</string>
       <string id="32007">After database update</string>
       <string id="32008">Update method</string>
       <string id="32009">Recent Items</string>

Each string is enclosed in a <string> tag. It contains a tag named id="32001" with a number Kodi uses to reference a string internally.

Hint: Multi-Line Text-Values
If you want your text-values to span multiple lines, you can insert a new line character [br] in your tag. Although we highly discourage this as it could cause skin problems as not all text boxes have enough room to display these.

For example:

   <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <string id="32001"><value>This will be on the first line[br]And this will be on the second line</string>

The encoding attribute of the XML header sets the charset the file is encoded with. See List of charsets of possible values. If you don't know what charset your language uses please follow this link to find out.

4 String ID range

Follow the specified string ID range

  • strings 30000 thru 30999 reserved for plugins and plugin settings
  • strings 31000 thru 31999 reserved for skins
  • strings 32000 thru 32999 reserved for scripts
  • strings 33000 thru 33999 reserved for common strings used in add-ons

5 Adding a new language to Kodi

See: Translations

6 Maintaining a language

The English (UK) language file ([1]) is the master for all language files. From time to time the English (UK) language file changes. This will instantly be automatically updated at Weblate translation pages.

How to keep track of changes: Use our Translation System

7 Related articles in the Kodi online manual

8 Notes for developers

Kodi uses UTF-8 as internal character encoding. Please make sure if you add new features to Kodi which depend on external data to convert these to UTF-8 if they aren't already. Use the languagefile from branches/linuxport, since we merge that file into trunk.