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Setting up a VirtueMart 2 multi-language shop

To setup and maintain a multi-language site in VirtueMart 2 requires planning and care.

Before you start

There are a few things that needs to be done before you can start with a multi-language site. These things are:

  1. Which languages do I want to use?
    The first thing to do is decide which languages you are going to use and install them in your site so they become available to VirtueMart and CSVI.
  2. Which language is my primary language?
    This is a very important decision as all translations will be based off this language.
  3. Configure VirtueMart
    In VirtueMart you need to configure which languages you are going to use

In this document we will use English and Dutch as our languages where English is our primary language.

Configure VirtueMart

Now that we know we will use English and Dutch we will tell VirtueMart we want to use them. Go to Configuration in Joomla:

VirtueMart Configuration option

and set the lanugages in the Languages Options:

vm language settings

with the languages set click on Save & Close to store the settings.

Preparing Language Data

VirtueMart contains a few areas that are affected by multi-language settings, these areas are:

  • Categories
  • Manufacturers
  • Manufacturer categories
  • Products
  • Payment methods
  • Shipment methods
  • Vendors

In this tutorial we will be setting up these areas as they are the most common to import for a multi-language site:

  • Categories
  • Manufactuers
  • Products

Categories

To import the categories in English and Dutch we are going to need 2 files:

  • The primary language file
  • The translations file
    One translation file per language is needed. In this case we add Dutch so we have 1 translation file. If you also have German and Italian, you will have a total of 3 translation files: Dutch, German and Italian.

Primary language file

The primary language file contains the category data you want to import. The primary language file can look like this:

"category_path";"published"
"Power Tools/Outdoor Tools";"1"
"Power Tools/Indoor Tools";"1"
"Garden Tools";"1"

Translation language file

The translation language file contains only the translation of the category information. A translation is indicated by adding _trans to the field name, this gives us the field name category_path_trans.

The translation language file can look like this:

"category_path";"category_path_trans"
"Power Tools/Outdoor Tools";"Elektrisch gereedschap/Buitenshuis"
"Power Tools/Indoor Tools";"Elektrisch gereedschap/Binnenshuis"
"Garden Tools";"Tuingereedschap"

Manufacturers

To import the manufacturers in English and Dutch we are going to need 2 files:

  • The primary language file
  • The translations file
    One translation file per language is needed. In this case we add Dutch so we have 1 translation file. If you also have German and Italian, you will have a total of 3 translation files: Dutch, German and Italian.

Primary language file

The primary language file contains the manufacturer data you want to import. The primary language file can look like this:

"mf_name";"published"
"Apple";"1"
"Samsung";"1"
"Nokia";"1"

Translation language file

The translation language file contains only the translation of the manufacturer information. A translation is indicated by adding _trans to the field name, this gives us the field name mf_name_trans.

The translation language file can look like this:

"mf_name";"mf_name_trans"
"Apple";"Apple"
"Samsung";"Samsung"
"Nokia";"Nokia"

Importing Categories/Manufacturers

The import process of categories and manufacturers is the same, only the categories is shown here. The order in which we are going to import is:

  1. Primary language
    Since this is the language where all other languages are based on, this goes first
  2. Translation languages
    We can only import translations if there is a primary language, so this comes after the primary language has been imported

To make the imports a success it is important that the first time the import is done the categories and manufacturers are empty. The categories are stored in the tables virtuemart_categories and virtuemart_categories_xx_xx where xx_xx is the languages you use. The manufacturers are stored in the tables virtuemart_manufacturers and virtuemart_manufacturers_xx_xx where xx_xx is the languages you use. At the moment of writing, there is a bug in VirtueMart 2 that when you delete manufacturers, the manufacturer tables are not emptied. The advice is to use PhpMyAdmin to empty these tables manually.

Importing the primary language
Step 1

We want to do a category import so we choose the Import -> VirtueMart -> Category import and click on Go. When importing the manufacturers choose Manufacturer import instead of Category import.

Choose VirtueMart category import

Step 2

To import the primary language set the option Language and Translated Language to the same language. Our primary language is English, so here English is chosen for both.

Multi-language category primary settings

Step 3

With all the settings done we are going to load the file from our computer and import the primary categories or manufacturer file.

Sset import source

Step 4

Click on Process and let CSVI import the primary language categories or manufacturers.

Importing the translation language

After the import of the primary language is done, we can continue and import the translations.

Step 1

We want to do a category import so we choose the Import -> VirtueMart -> Category import and click on Go. When importing the manufacturers choose Manufacturer import instead of Category import.

Choose VirtueMart category import

Step 2

To import the translation language set the option Language to the primary language and Translated Language to the language included in the import file. Our primary language is English, so here English is chosen, the translation language we use is Dutch so Translated language is set to Dutch.

Multi-language category translation settings

Step 3

With all the settings done we are going to load the file from our computer and import the translation categories or manufacturer file.

Sset import source

Step 4

Click on Process and let CSVI import the translation language categories or manufacturer.

 

Importing Products

Product translations work different from the categories and manufacturers because products have a unique code, the product SKU. To import product translations we only need an import file per language.

Important! The category_path and the manufacturer_name must be in the same language as the product is.

An example file can look like this:

English

"product_sku";"product_name";"product_s_desc";"category_path";"manufacturer_name"
"G03";"Shovel";"Nice shovel.  You can dig your way to China with this one.";"Garden Tools";"Apple"


Dutch

"product_sku";"product_name";"product_s_desc";"category_path";"manufacturer_name"
"G03";"Schep";"Mooie schep.  Met deze schep graaf je een weg naar China.";"Tuingereedschap";"Apple"

Step 1

We want to do a product import so we choose the Import -> VirtueMart -> Product import and click on Go.

Choose VirtueMart Product import

Step 2

To import the product language set the option Language to the language your product import file is made for. We are now importing the English language so we choose Language English. When importing the Dutch product file, we choose Dutch here.

Multi-language product language settings

Step 3

With all the settings done we are going to load the file from our computer and import the product file.

Sset import source

Step 4

Click on Process and let CSVI import the product translation.

Products are not showing up in the product list

After you have imported products and go to VirtueMart to check and see if they are there you might find that no products show up. The reason for this is that VirtueMart uses a different language than what you imported them in. For example, your site has 2 languages, English and Dutch where English is your site default language.

Joomla site language

(Extensions -> Language manager)

After you import your first products in the Dutch language, VirtueMart won't show them because it is looking for English products. To see the list of Dutch products you need to go to Extensions -> Language manager and set your Site language to Dutch as default. Now go back to VirtueMart and your products will show up.

Conclusion

We have now imported the categories, manufacturers and products in 2 languages, more languages can be added by importing more translations lists.

It is important to always respect the primary language. Any changes made to the primary language must be made to the translations as well. Especially important is when something is deleted from the primary language, it must be deleted from the translation language also as otherwise the link between the primary language and the translation is broken.

TESTIMONIAL

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