Languages and Translations


Languages & Translations

With these settings, you can:

  • Add a new language option for your interface
  • Export interface text for bulk translation
  • Import translations
  • Translate individual parts of the interface


When translations are enabled, the available languages will be shown on the top right of the Aspen Discovery interface and in the dropdown menu on the top right.



What Languages are Available?

With the way languages are structured in Aspen, you technically could have your catalog in any language by using a translation service or human to update the language. 

Languages that we have robust translations available of are:

  • English (en)
  • Spanish (es)
  • French (fr)
  • Haitian-Creole (ht)
  • Portuguese (pt)
  • Arabic (ar)
  • Amharic (amh)
  • Chinese (zi)
  • Chinese (chi)
  • Korean (ko)

With Aspen's Community Shared Content, translations are continually being worked on and more languages are being added.

If you do not see a language above and would like to share it with the Community to work on the translation with other libraries, reach out to the Aspen team at ByWater Solutions to add the language to our community server.


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Adding Languages

To set up a new Language.

Check the list of languages that are currently available in Aspen.

1. Visit Languages and Translations > Languages.

2. Define the language you'd like to set up. Below is an example of what the settings for Portuguese would look like.



  • Weight: Leave as zero.
  • Code: The language code. Use the list of Codes for the representation of names of languages published by the Library of Congress to find the correct one. 
  • Display Name - Native: The language name in the target language.
  • Display Name - English: The language name in English.
  • Locale: An identifier consisting of a language code and a country / region code, e.g. en-US. Locales may be used to define language / region specific preferences in the user interface. See the ISO list of country codes to find the correct one.
  • Facet Value: How the language will display in search facets. Typically this will also be the English display name.


At the bottom, there is an option to display the language to translators only. Translators will need the Translate Aspen permission assigned to one of their roles. (Click here for help with users and permissions.) When this option is checked, the interface translations will not be available to the public. When the translator has completed translations to their satisfaction, return to these settings and uncheck this box so the translated interface will be available to your users.

If that language is available from the Aspen Community via Community Content Sharing, there is nothing else for you to do and the language will load. Learn more about the Community Content Sharing options.


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Translation Mode

Translation mode is an easy way to start translating anything on your library page. First, make sure you have the correct language to translate. If you are not set in the correct language, use the "Languages" dropdown menu in the top right corner to change the language. Then, click "Start Translation Mode" in the top right corner.



When in translation mode, translators are able to see boxes next to translatable items that correspond to the term and the translated term.


Note: You can also Start or Stop Translation Mode in Aspen Administration > Languages and Translations > Translations > Start Translation Mode.



Green boxes have already been translated (but can be modified) and red boxes have not been translated yet.

Simply click on the item you wish to translate, and edit accordingly. You can view all of your current translations in the Translations section in the Languages and Translations tab in Administration Home.


Note: Any changes to languages and translations are global per server. If you share a server with several other libraries with their own individual catalogs, translation changes will be applied to ALL libraries. 

Manual Translations

While Translation Mode is great for words that might show up while browsing and searching the catalog, to get a more extensive look at all the terms and phrases available for translation in Aspen, there is another way to make manual translations.


Go to Aspen Administration > Languages and Translations > Translations

By default, Aspen will show all terms. If you want to hide terms that have already been translated and focus only on untranslated terms, check Hide terms that have been translated already.

To see terms during a certain time period, you can use the Show Terms created since calendar and narrow down by date and/or time. This does take into consider API calls and translations in LiDA as well.

If you only want to focus on terms showing to the public or the admin, you have options in the Show Terms displaying to dropdown:

  • Either Public or Administration Users
  • Only Public Users
  • Only Administration Users

Selecting Only Public Users is a great way to focus in on translations that are showing for the public and weeding out translations in back end menus!

Aspen will attempt to filter out metadata terms and phrases by default but if you want this data included, you can check Show metadata (from MARC Records, eContent, etc.)

Aspen will attempt to filter out Admin entered data by default but if you want this data included, you can check Show admin entered data (list names, system messages, etc.). This would be typically data where text boxes exist elsewhere for you to translate them (see list here) and translations should typically be done there. 

To search for a term to translate, enter the term or phrase in Show Terms Containing

To search for a term that has already been translated, enter the term or phrase in Show Terms Containing

Note: Any changes to languages and translations are global per server. If you share a server with several other libraries with their own individual catalogs, translation changes will be applied to ALL libraries. 


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Importing/Exporting Translations

Why would you want to import and export languages? 

You would want to import languages if you are setting up a whole new language within Aspen that is not currently available from the Aspen Community Sharing Languages. Or, if you have done extensive translation work on an existing language and you would like to update your existing translations in Aspen.

Import and Export Languages

In Aspen Administration > Languages & Translations > Translations you can click Import Translations or Import Bulk Translations to import any new or updated languages.


For exporting translations, follow the same steps, but choose one of the exporting options. If you already have some translations in place for the language and do not wish to replace those specific ones, leave the box next to "Overwrite Existing Translations?" unchecked.


Export All Translations - This will download a CSV file where languages will be separated out by column. The first column contains the interface term, and subsequent columns are for the language translations. Each column has a header containing the language code. If you set these languages up prior to exporting translations (click here for instructions on setting up a new language), the column headers will be added to the spreadsheet for you automatically.



If your Aspen site is live and you wish to add a new language, it would be best to wait to set up the new Language option(s) until you're ready to import your translations. This way, users will not see a language option for the interface before there are translations available.

When you are ready to import your translations, return to this section and click Import Translations. Select the language translations you'd like to import.



Export Bulk Translations - This will download a txt file of all the interface terms used in Aspen, which you can then run through a translation tool such as Google Translate. When you are finished, upload the translated file via Import Bulk Translations. Important - make sure your current interface translation matches the language of the translation you are importing. For example, if you are uploading a Russian translation, make sure you are currently have the Russian interface active.


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Hide Translations While Working on a Language

If you are actively working on a translation and do not want it to show publicly to patrons yet, you can go to Aspen Administration > Languages and Translations > Languages > select the language you are working on > check Display To Translators Only.

Once checked, regular users won't see this language as an option to select for the interface translation. When you're ready for the translation to be available to everyone, return to these settings and uncheck Display to Translators Only. 


Translating Facet Results

Translating the results within the facets are OFF by default in translation mode. For facets, such as Subject, there are thousands of words that may never need to be translated so we keep this off for speed and performance.

To turn translation on for specific facet results (example: Changing OverDrive to Libby), go to Catalog/Grouped Works > Grouped Work Facets > edit the facet setting.  Navigate to the facet that you want to translate within and check the box for "Translate?"



Once you return to the search results, open up the search facet and click Start Translation Mode in the top-right corner of the screen. You will now be able to translate the options within the facet(s).


Note: If you have multiple Grouped Work Facets settings attached to different catalogs, and you'd like the same facets translatable for all of them, you must repeat this process for all Grouped Work Facets settings. 

What can be changed with Settings vs. Translation Mode?

Translation Mode and the Translation search tool are a great way to customize parts of your Aspen interface. With so many options, we wanted to list out parts of the interface that can easily be changed within Aspen settings rather than resorting to using Translation tools.


Format Labels: Change these in ILS Integration > Indexing Profiles > Format Information. Edit the value in the Format column to change the format label in the catalog. 

Status Labels: Change these in ILS Integration > Indexing Profiles > Status Mappings. Edit the value in the Status column to change the status label in the catalog. 

Sign-in Labels: Change these in Primary Configuration > Library Systems > ILS/Account Integration > Login > Login Form Username Label and Login Form Password Label.

Facet Labels: Change these in Catalog/Grouped Works > Grouped Work Facets > edit the setting. Edit the value in the Display Name fields to change the facet label.

Home and Browse Links: In Theme & Layout > Layout > "Where to use custom Home Link from Library Settings" -- if you are using an option that enables the Breadcrumbs and Menu links, you can change the breadcrumb/menu link text here.

Account Expiration Near / Account Expired Messages: In Primary Configuration > Library Systems > ILS/Account Integration, if you have "Show Expiration Warnings" checked, you can configure those messages in the Expiration Near Message and Expired Message fields.

Holds Disclaimer Message: This optional message will display within the holds screen when a user places a hold. This can be configured/edited in Primary Configuration > Library Systems > ILS/Account Integration > Holds > Hold Disclaimer.

Self Registration Form Message / Success Message: Can change these in Primary Configuration > Library Systems > ILS/Account Integration > Self Registration. 

Materials Request New Request Summary: Can change this in Primary Configuration > Library Systems > Materials Request > New Request Summary. This is the message that displays above the materials request form when using the Koha ILS request system or Aspen's request system.

Library Hours / Holiday message in User Account: The message that displays in user accounts on the Checked Out Titles and Titles On Hold screens can be enabled or disabled in Primary Configuration > Library Systems > ILS/Account Integration > "Show Library Hours Notice on Account Pages."

The hours and holiday information that displays here pulls from the hours set up in Location settings and the Holidays set up in Library Systems settings. If the placeholder variables for the library/hours/holiday are edited out of the text via Translation tools, this will break the display of this message.


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User Experience

Selecting a Language When Logged In

When a user is logged into Aspen and clicks on Languages in your header, it will take the user into My Account > My Preferences.

If you have multiple language translations available in your Aspen catalog, then users can choose which language to display the catalog in. Once they select a language and save, the user will see an additional menu of options pop up - "Do you want to prefer materials in English?". The options for users are:

  • No, show interfiled with other languages
  • Yes, show above other languages
  • Yes, only show my preferred language

Note: The menu options in the dropdown menu do not automatically translate to the selected language. You can translate these options by either entering translatation mode or going into the Translations section of Aspen.


Selecting a Language When Not Logged In

When users are not logged in and browsing Aspen, they will see a Languages option in the top right corner of your header.

When a user clicks on this, they will be presented with any of the languages you have set up on your Aspen server.

Once they select a language and click Update Settings, the catalog will automatically translate to that language.

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