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Create Language Packs for User Interface Text

All new language packs are created by editing and altering an existing one. Two different workflows are available to complete this process. The workflow chosen depends on the skill level of the translator and the extent of the translation they would like to create. This topic explains these workflows and the pros and cons for each.

Make a new language pack available to users

  1. Create the new language pack by one of the two methods described in the following sections:
  2. Save the changes.
  3. Return to the Language Packs page.
  4. Select Manage for the new language pack.
  5. Make the language pack Available.
  6. Define the availability at the Course, Organization, and User level.
  7. Log out of Blackboard Learn.
  8. Log in to test the results. For example, if this language pack is meant for the course level, then log in as an instructor or course administrator and change the course settings to adopt the new language pack.
  9. View Blackboard Learn and verify that the language pack is in effect from the appropriate perspective: course, organization, or user.

Create a language pack by copying and editing an existing one

Creating a new language pack by this method is a good choice for users who are familiar with the language they want to create. For example, if a user speaks both English and Spanish, and he or she is creating an Icelandic language pack, exporting the English language pack as the copied language is a good strategy.

Copying an existing language pack makes changes to the new manifest automatically and allows the translator to use the Blackboard language pack editor for editing locale bundles and properties files.

The Name and Code of the new language pack are important considerations. The name should be descriptive and easily recognizable; "English (New Zealand)", for example. If you are creating language packs for others to use then the Code must conform to the ISO standards for country and language codes. Put them both together and the format is as follows: the language code in two lower-case letters followed by an underscore and then followed by the country code in two upper-case letters. Following this format, English (New Zealand) would have the following code: en_NZ.

To learn more about the ISO country codes and other standards, visit the ISO web site:

  1. Select Language Packs on the Administrator Panel.
  2. Select Copy next to an existing language pack.
  3. Enter a Name for the new language pack.
  4. Enter a Code for the new language pack.
  5. After the copy is complete, use the language pack editor to edit the locale bundles.
  6. Save the changes.

If you are creating a language pack that is not going to be shared with others,  the name of a language pack does not have to follow the ISO country code format. For example, a custom language pack for the Polish language could be developed for use by the students of State University: pl_PL_SU. 

Create a language pack by exporting and editing an existing one

Users may export an existing language pack and go through all of the steps using tools external to Blackboard Learn to create a new language pack. When the exported package is opened, two top level items appear. The manifest file and the locale name directory. The locale name directory contains all of the images and locale bundles. The manifest file includes metadata about the Language pack, such as the name, vendor information, and release number.

If this method is used, the user must update the manifest. Some translators may want to update the manifest, to change information about the vendor, release number, and other metadata regarding the language pack that is not accessed through the automated process.

This is a good solution for users who would like to create a complete language pack or for users who prefer to use a specific text editor for translating locale bundles. Once the language pack is exported the images may be translated and any text editor may be used.

Here is an example of the manifest for the en_US language pack:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<manifest><languagepack><name value="English (United States&amp;#x202D;)&amp;#x202C;"/><locale

value="en_US"/><leftToRight value="true"/><description value=""/><version value="1.0.0"/><bbversion

value="9.0.351.4"/><vendor><id value=""/><name value=""/><url value=""/><description value=""/></vendor></languagepack></manifest>

The important information can be identified by the following tags:

Manifest Tags
Manifest Tag Description
<name value="" /> The name of the language pack.
<description value=""/> A description of the language pack.
<version value="" /> The version of the language pack.
Blackboard Learn System Information
<bbversion value=""/ This field should not be edited.
The version of Blackboard Learn in current use. This information is important to the maintenance of the language pack. Customized language packs can stop working when Blackboard Learn is updated.
Vendor Information Enclosed Within the <vendor> Tags
<id value=""/> The ID of the translation vendor.
<name value=""/> The name of the translation vendor.
<description value=""/> A description of the translation vendor.
  1. Select Language Packs on the Administrator Panel.
  2. Select Export next to an existing language pack. This will be the copied language, meaning that the user will work from it to create the new language pack.
  3. Select OK to save the ZIP package.
  4. Open the ZIP package and unzip the contents.
  5. Open the bb-lp-manifest.xml file in a text editor.

    The structure of this file must be preserved.

  6. Make the appropriate changes to the file regarding the name of the language pack, a description, version, vendor ID, vendor name, and vendor description.
  7. Open each of the locale bundles in a text editor and edit accordingly.

    Using an external tool to edit the locale bundles requires caution. Working directly in the code provides no context for the text strings, unlike working in the language pack editor. Make sure that the text strings have been identified before editing.

  8. Save all files and add them back to the ZIP package.
  9. Import the new language pack through the Admin Panel after the translation process has been completed.