mu88 Developer Blog

Localizing texts in a server-side Blazor app

Like so many of us, I’m playing around with the different varieties of Blazor. Recently, I’ve ported an application based on Angular 2 and Electron to Blazor Server and Electron.NET. Thereby, I came across the topic of translating the app.

Technically, my purpose was not just translating the app into a specific language. I wanted to do it properly. Maybe you’ve stumbled across the terms i18n and l10n. Those cryptic acronyms stand for internationalization and localization. The first one simply means: I modify my code in a way so that it is capable of handling different languages. The second one means: Now lets introduce the translations for the different languages. So i18n can be considered as the base of l10n and it allows you to add new languages without changing the code consuming it.
Do you wonder where these strange names come from? It is pretty simple: take VS Code or Notepad++, paste the words internationalization and localization into it and count the number of characters between i and n resp. l and n: 18 and 10.

But how to apply i18n and l10n to Blazor Server? At the time of porting my app (a couple of month ago), there were almost no information about that topic. So I had to find my own solution.

Since Blazor Server is an ASP.NET Core application, I’ve written an injectable component called CustomTranslator:

As you can see, the interface ICustomTranslator accepts a string and returns the translation. The implementation CustomTranslator does a lookup in a property called Localizer. This component is a built-in functionality of ASP.NET Core (see here) and it comes from the Dependency Injection container.

To use the custom translation service, it has to be registered within Startup.cs:

Let’s go through this step by step. Within ConfigureServices(), basic localization is enabled and we’re telling ASP.NET Core to look for all translations in the resource folder Resources. Next, the custom translation component is registered within the Dependency Injection container as a singleton.
The array supportedCultures within Configure() defines all the languages the application will support. The following line configures the application to support the requested languages and defines that the default language of my application is German (de).

Now we can go to any Razor page and the Dependency Injection container will provide the custom translation component:

By using the following code, the translator can be consumed:

Of course, we could also consume the translation component in any other class provided by the Dependency Injection container:

And that’s all! Well, almost :wink: The code would work, but it wouldn’t do anything because there are no translations yet. By creating the two resource files Resources\CustomTranslator.en.resx (English) and Resources\CustomTranslator.de.resx (German) and adding the key SomeString with an appropriate translation, the mission is completed. When running the app, the UI will be localized in German.

If I’d like to add support for French, all I had to do would be:

  • Create a file Resources\CustomTranslator.fr.resx containing all the translations.
  • Add new CultureInfo("fr") to the array supportedCultures in Startup.Configure().

As you’ve hopefully seen, doing i18n and l10n with Blazor Server is not difficult at all. For people being familiar with ASP.NET Core, it should be super straight-forward.
For me, the biggest challenge was to understand that the folder name Resources and file names CustomTranslator.<<language>>.resx have to match an exact pattern. Otherwise, they won’t be recognized.

Thank you for reading!