Building a Laravel Translation Package – Wrangling Translations


November 2nd, 2018

Building a Laravel Translation Package – Wrangling Translations

As we’ve discussed earlier in the series, out of the box, Laravel translations are stored in language files. These can be either PHP array-style syntax or straight up JSON files.

The Laravel Translation package interacts with the files in order to achieve the following:

  • List all languages
  • Add a language
  • List all translations
  • Add a translation
  • Update existing translations

The plan for the package is, much like many features of Laravel, to expose multiple drivers to power the translation management. The first driver will utilize Laravel’s existing file-based translations with plans to later add a database driver. With this in mind, we first define a contract to which driver will implement to ensure all the required methods are available to the package.

The file driver needs to interrogate the filesystem in order to return the data in the required format. This involves a lot of filtering, mapping and iterating, so we will lean quite heavily on Laravel’s collections.

Listing languages

To generate a collection of languages, we use the filesystem to get an array of directories from the configured language path, wrapping the result in a collection.

$directories = Collection::make($this->disk->directories($this->languageFilesPath));

Next, we utilize the mapWithKeys function to iterate over the directories, stripping the language from the path (it will be the last segment) and returning a key => value array.

return $directories->mapWithKeys(function ($directory) {
$language = basename($directory);
return [$language => $language];

The result looks something like this:

// $this->allLanguages()->toArray();
‘en’ => ‘en’,
‘fr’ => ‘fr’,
‘es’ => ‘es’,

Adding languages

To create a new language, we need to add a new directory and empty JSON file to the configured language path and name it after the language we’re adding.

if (! $this->disk->exists(“{$this->languageFilesPath}/{$language}.json”)) {

Then, we use the filesystem to add a new file to the language path containing an empty JSON encoded array.

Using the JSON_UNESCAPED_UNICODE | JSON_PRETTY_PRINT constants ensure the generated JSON is in the right format.

Listing translations

When listing translations we want to ensure we differentiate the group (array style) translations from the single (JSON style).

To get the group translations, we can use the filesystem to get all the files from the language directory.

$groups Collection($this->disk->allFiles(“{$this->languageFilesPath}/{$language}“));

Then, to get the translations, we can iterate over all the files in the directory and use the filesystem’s getRequire method to require the file giving us direct access to the array.

$groups->mapWithKeys(function ($group) {
return [$group->getBasename(‘.php’) => $this->disk->getRequire($group->getPathname())];

The result looks something like this:

‘auth’ => [
‘failed’ => ‘These credentials do not match our records’,


We can get the single translations by using json_decode on the contents of the file.

if ($this->disk->exists($this->languageFilesPath.“/$language.json”)) {
return new Collection(json_decode($this->disk->get($singlePath), true));

The result looks something like this:

‘hello’ => ‘hello’,

Adding/updating translations

Translations are added and updated in largely the same fashion. First, we get the contents of the file the translation should be added to in array format. Then, we check whether or not the key to be added already exists. If it does, we update the value and if not, we append the new key and value to the array. Finally, the whole array is written back to the file.


$translations = $this->getGroupTranslationsFor($language);
$values = $translations->get($group);
$values[$key] = $value;
$translations->put($group, $values);
“<?php\n\nreturn “.var_export($translations, true).‘;’.\PHP_EOL


$translations = $this->getSingleTranslationsFor($language);
$translations->put($key, $value);
json_encode((object) $translations, JSON_UNESCAPED_UNICODE | JSON_PRETTY_PRINT)

Some of the code samples have been truncated for clarity. You can see the full code for the files mentioned in the article below:

Driver Interface
File Driver

This driver lays the foundation from which we can build upon. Next time, we’ll build out the user interface which will ship with the package. It utilizes a combination of Tailwind CSS and Vue.js, two frameworks which have been widely adopted by the Laravel community.

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Joe Dixon

Founder and CTO of ubisend. Proud Father to two tiny heroes, Husband, developer, occasional globetrotter.