How To: Add a New Language to a Portal Using the GIS Portal Toolkit 3.1


Instructions provided describe how to enable new languages in a metadata Portal implemented using the GIS Portal Toolkit.


The GIS Portal Toolkit version 3.1 is available in five (5) languages by default: German, Spanish, French, Dutch and Chinese. GPT 3.1 can be customized for use in nearly any language. The following steps outline necessary modifications to enable new non-English languages in the GPT:

  1. Change the language settings of the Web browser. Instructions for how to do so for Internet Explorer can be found at
  2. Take note of the language suffix of the language specified in the Web browser when the language settings are changed. For example, the suffix for 'Arabic-Egypt' is 'ar-eg'.
  3. The Portal can recognize any number of additional languages by the existence of language resource files that are present in its \\Portal\WEB-INF\classes folder. By default, this folder contains five (5) files with the prefix 'gpt_' and have the '.properties' extension. Each is a version of the 'gpt.properties' file translated into German, Spanish, French, Dutch or Chinese.

    To add a new language to the GPT, translate the 'gpt.properties' file into the language of interest.
  4. Save the translated file with a filename similar to the other language files. For example, the 'Arabic-Egypt' file would be saved as 'gpt_ar_eg.properities'. Remember to use underscores and not dashes in the filename.
  5. Place the translated file in the same folder as the 'gpt.properties' file. The Portal looks for a 'gpt.properties' file that matches the language of the Web browser's language settings, and finds the newly created language file. If it cannot find the file or if there is a problem with it, the Portal defaults to use the original 'gpt.properties' file, which is in English by default.
  6. If characters of the new language are not within the ISO 8859-1 character set, the translated file must specify all 'external' characters in their Unicode equivalents. Make a backup copy of the file in case there are errors and translate the file to Unicode. A Java utility that translates text files to Unicode is available at the following link:
  7. Save the file again with the same filename used before the Unicode translation, and double-check that it is in the \\Portal\WEB-INF\classes\ folder.
  8. From step 1 above, the language settings in the Web browser should already be set to the language of choice. Launch the Portal in a Web browser and it should display in the newly added language.