TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Consider that you are working on a standard that should be translated into some other languages. The document structure (figures, table structures, ...) is constant among languages. Is there any facility/technique/strategy/package to streamline multilingual documents production?

Is it possible to use a gettex-like method in (la)tex?

share|improve this question
babel or polyglossia, maybe? – Vafa Khalighi Jun 22 '12 at 6:16
look at one of the packages parcolumns, paracol, parallel or parrun or other related packages – matth Jun 22 '12 at 8:37
translator package which comes with beamer provides some tools for automatic translations. – Ignasi Jun 22 '12 at 16:42
@Reza: Actual I'm thinking about some supporting scripts for such a task. Are you familiar with ruby (or rake)? – knut Jun 24 '12 at 20:35

One possible problem you may have is keeping the different language versions up-to-date with respect to each other.

One possible solution is to write your document as a parallel text, with the different languages mixed together in small lumps so that the writer sees multiple languages in the same window.

A good (simple) way to handle this is to use the `comment' package. Here's the outline of an example using English and Portuguese:

English master document:


Portuguese master document:


Common body:

Some English text, maybe up to a whole paragraph or list

Algum texto em português, talvez até um parágrafo

Common, language-independent text can live outside of either environment, and will be included in both language versions.

share|improve this answer

There is another way to support internationalization within your LaTeX documents. For instance, below is the support for english and german languages I made some time ago:




Next, if you need you can define different commands for months, date formats, etc:


Finally, in text you can write something like this:

\en{English text.}
\de{Deutscher Text.}

After all, when you've created the whole document you can simple switch between languages setting in the document preamble either \entrue or \detrue. All this allows you to keep multilingual texts up-to-dated near each other.

share|improve this answer

Preamble: I hope I understand you correct: You have multiple documents, each document is written in one language, the content is the same. There is no language mixture inside one document.

I would create a directory per language. The I separate the document in small files (a file per chapter, perhaps per section. tables and figures in there own files).

Something like this:


Then I would start with a main document (English or the language you know best). Inside the document I add comments as sync point.

After this you need a diff-tool to compare the directories and files. The sync comments inside the document align the texts during comparison.

For the graphics I would create:


graphics contains the language independent graphics. If you have language depending graphics (e.g. with legends) you can add the to the subdirectories.

Then you define:


With a bit more work, you may write a script, that creates a new bi- (or more) lingual document using the parallel.sty. The you can use a printed document version instead the diff tool.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.