Overriding Language Keys

Liferay DXP Core and portlet module language*.properties files implement site internationalization. They’re fully customizable, too. This tutorial demonstrates this in the following topics:

  • Overriding Global Language Keys
  • Overriding a Module’s Language Keys

Modifying Global Language Keys

Language files contain translations of your application’s user interface messages. But you can also override the default language keys globally and in other applications (including your own). Here are the steps for overriding language keys:

  1. Determine the language keys to override
  2. Override the keys in a new language properties file
  3. Create a Resource Bundle service component

Determine the language keys to override

So how do you find global language keys? They’re in the Language[xx_XX].properties files in the source code or your Liferay DXP bundle.

  • From the source:


  • From a bundle:


All language properties files contain properties you can override, like the language settings properties:

## Language settings


There are also many simple keys you can override to update default messages and labels.

## Category titles

category.cms=Content Management

For example, Figure 1 shows a button that uses Liferay’s publish default language key.


Figure 1: Messages displayed in Liferays user interface can be customized.

Figure 1: Messages displayed in Liferay's user interface can be customized.

Next, you’ll learn how to override this key.

Override the keys in a new language properties file

Once you know the keys to override, create a language properties file for the locale you want (or the default Language.properties file) in your module’s src/main/resources/content folder. In your file, define the keys your way. For example, you could override the publish key.

publish=Publish Override

To enable your change, you must create a resource bundle service component to reference your language file.

Create a Resource Bundle service component

In your module, create a class that extends java.util.ResourceBundle for the locale you’re overriding. Here’s an example resource bundle class for the en_US locale:

    property = { "language.id=en_US" }, 
    service = ResourceBundle.class
public class MyEnUsResourceBundle extends ResourceBundle {

    protected Object handleGetObject(String key) {
        return _resourceBundle.getObject(key);

    public Enumeration<String> getKeys() {
        return _resourceBundle.getKeys();

    private final ResourceBundle _resourceBundle = ResourceBundle.getBundle(
        "content.Language_en_US", UTF8Control.INSTANCE);


The class’s _resourceBundle field is assigned a ResourceBundle. The call to ResourceBundle.getBundle needs two parameters. The content.Language_en_US parameter is the language file’s qualified name with respect to the module’s src/main/resources folder. The second parameter is a control that sets the language syntax of the resource bundle. To use language syntax identical to Liferay’s syntax, import Liferay’s com.liferay.portal.kernel.language.UTF8Control class and set the second parameter to UTF8Control.INSTANCE.

The class’s @Component annotation declares it an OSGi ResourceBundle service component. It’s language.id property designates it for the en_US locale.

    property = { "language.id=en_US" }, 
    service = ResourceBundle.class

The class overrides these methods:

  • handleGetObject: Looks up the key in the module’s resource bundle (which is based on the module’s language properties file) and returns the key’s value as an Object.

  • getKeys: Returns an Enumeration of the resource bundle’s keys.

Your resource bundle service component redirects the default language keys to your module’s language key overrides.

Important: If your module uses language keys from another module and overrides any of that other module’s keys, make sure to use OSGi headers to specify the capabilities your module requires and provides. This lets you prioritize resource bundles from the modules.

To see your Liferay language key overrides in action, deploy your module and visit the portlets and pages that use the keys.

Figure 2: This button uses the overridden publish key.

Figure 2: This button uses the overridden `publish` key.

That’s all there is to overriding global language keys.

Overriding a Module’s Language Keys

What do you do if the language keys you want to modify are in one of Liferay’s applications or another module whose source code you don’t control? Since module language keys are in the respective module, the process for overriding a module’s language keys is different from the process of overriding global language keys.

Here is the process:

  1. Find the module and its metadata and language keys
  2. Write your custom language key values
  3. Prioritize your module’s resource bundle

Find the module and its metadata and language keys

In Gogo shell, list the bundles and grep for keyword(s) that match the portlet’s display name. Language keys are in the portlet’s web module (bundle). When you find the bundle, note its ID number.

To find the Blogs portlet, for example, your Gogo commands and output might look like this:

g! lb | grep Blogs
  152|Active     |    1|Liferay Blogs Service (1.0.2)
  184|Active     |    1|Liferay Blogs Editor Config (2.0.1)
  202|Active     |    1|Liferay Blogs Layout Prototype (2.0.2)
  288|Active     |    1|Liferay Blogs Recent Bloggers Web (1.0.2)
  297|Active     |    1|Liferay Blogs Item Selector Web (1.0.2)
  374|Active     |    1|Liferay Blogs Item Selector API (2.0.1)
  448|Active     |    1|Liferay Blogs API (3.0.1)
  465|Active     |    1|Liferay Blogs Web (1.0.6)

List the bundle’s headers by passing its ID to the headers command.

g! headers 465

Liferay Blogs Web (465)
Manifest-Version = 1.0
Bnd-LastModified = 1459866186018
Bundle-ManifestVersion = 2
Bundle-Name = Liferay Blogs Web
Bundle-SymbolicName = com.liferay.blogs.web
Bundle-Version: 1.0.6
Web-ContextPath = /blogs-web

Note the Bundle-SymbolicName, Bundle-Version, and Web-ContextPath. The Web-ContextPath value, following the /, is the servlet context name.

Important: Record the servlet context name, bundle symbolic name and version, as you’ll use them to create the resource bundle loader later in the process.

For example, here are those values for Liferay Blogs Web module:

  • Bundle symbolic name: com.liferay.blogs.web
  • Bundle version: 1.0.6
  • Servlet context name: blogs-web

Next find the module’s JAR file so you can examine its language keys. Liferay follows this module JAR file naming convention:

[bundle symbolic name]-[version].jar

For example, the Blogs Web version 1.0.6 module is in com.liferay.blogs.web-1.0.6.jar.

Here’s where to find the module JAR:

  • Liferay’s Nexus repository
  • [Liferay Home]/osgi/modules
  • Embedded in an application’s or application suite’s LPKG file in [Liferay Home]/osgi/marketplace.

The language property files are in the module’s src/main/resources/content folder. Identify the language keys you want to override in the Language[_xx].properties files.

Checkpoint: Make sure you have the required information for overriding the module’s language keys:

  • Language keys
  • Bundle symbolic name
  • Servlet context name

Next you’ll write new values for the language keys.

Write custom language key values

Create a new module to hold a resource bundle loader and your custom language keys.

In your module’s src/main/resources/content folder, create language properties files for each locale whose keys you want to override. In each language properties file, specify your language key overrides.

Next you’ll prioritize your module’s language keys as a resource bundle for the target module.

Prioritize Your Module’s Resource Bundle

Now that your language keys are in place, use OSGi manifest headers to specify the language keys are for the target module. To compliment the target module’s resource bundle, you’ll aggregate your resource bundle with the target module’s resource bundle. You’ll list your module first to prioritize its resource bundle over the target module resource bundle. Here’s an example of module com.liferay.docs.l10n.myapp.lang prioritizing its resource bundle over target module com.liferay.blogs.web’s resource bundle:


Let’s examine the example Provide-Capability header.

  1. liferay.resource.bundle;resource.bundle.base.name="content.Language" declares that the module provides a resource bundle whose base name is content.language.

  2. The liferay.resource.bundle;resource.bundle.aggregate:String=... directive specifies the list of bundles whose resource bundles are aggregated, the target bundle, the target bundle’s resource bundle name, and this service’s ranking:

    • "(bundle.symbolic.name=com.liferay.docs.l10n.myapp.lang),(bundle.symbolic.name=com.liferay.blogs.web)": The service aggregates resource bundles from bundles com.liferay.docs.l10n.myapp.lang and com.liferay.blogs.web. Aggregate as many bundles as desired. Listed bundles are prioritized in descending order.
    • bundle.symbolic.name=com.liferay.blogs.web;resource.bundle.base.name="content.Language": Override the com.liferay.blogs.web bundle’s resource bundle named content.Language.
    • service.ranking:Long="2": The resource bundle’s service ranking is 2. The OSGi framework applies this service if it outranks all other resource bundle services that target com.liferay.blogs.web’s content.Language resource bundle.
    • servlet.context.name=blogs-web: The target resource bundle is in servlet context blogs-web.

Deploy your module to see the language keys you’ve overridden.

Now you can modify the language keys of modules in Liferay’s OSGi runtime. Remember, language keys you want to override might actually be in Liferay’s core. You can override global language keys too.

Resource Bundle Override Sample Project

Upgrading Core Language Key Hooks


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