Using a new localization/language in 2.0+

I am working on implementing an instance of OpenMRS to use in teaching in the Netherlands. Having the interface in English is not a problem, but I would like to be able to use the local terms for concepts. I have added “nl” to the locale.allowed.list and changed the default locale to nl in the Global Properties list. I have tried adding a TOMCAT_HOME/webapps/openmrs/WEB-INF/ file, but I’m not sure what to put in it, and I get the impression that this might not be the way that languages work any more since I don’t see any other files. I’ve looked at Translating the Reference Application - Projects - OpenMRS Wiki , but I don’t see instructions for how to use one of these translations. (Also, Dutch isn’t one of them - I assume that we won’t need to provide a complete translation, just a translation for the terms we want to be translated in our system?) Finally: There are a few things that I want to “translate” to things that are useful for students, but should not be considered a 1:1 English:Dutch translation. Is it possible to keep a local translation table, or is this all centralized now? Thanks in advance!

  • Stephanie “Ace” Medlock Amsterdam University Medical Center, University of Amsterdam

Is this about simply translating concepts? Or the entire web application?

Hi Daniel! Thanks for your prompt reply. It’s a little bit of both. The most important thing is to use the localized names for concepts. I can of course just change the English names to Dutch ones in our database, but I’d rather figure out how to do it the right way.

It would also be nice to be able to “localize” the interface. In this case it will not be a 1:1 translation, but will be slightly more verbose headings that help them understand where we want them to document specific items. This is a “nice to have” but not a “need to have” for our project, though.

Stephanie, any concept translations should be directed to me and the CIEL dictionary, if you choose to do those…

Great. thanks!

I would like to use a Dutch translation of concepts. I don’t see one listed in the CIEL translations, so I assume that one doesn’t exist yet?

I would also like to use some names for concepts that are not exactly translations, but are handy for the cases we will use in our course. These probably should not be added to a general concept dictionary, but kept as a local version. Is that also possible? We also don’t want automatic updates - since it’s for a class it’s important that it’s the same for all students that are in the same school year.


I need to have an exact translation of the fully-specified name in Dutch first, then I can add another name if it is a synonym. However, if the concept is different, than I cannot add that additional name to the original concept. For example, if the concept was “Recurrent cephalgia” and you wanted to add “headache”, I could not, since the original concept was “recurrent headache”. Does that make sense?

Concepts_Dutch.csv (11.9 KB)

Hello and thanks for your reply!

I’ve attached a list of the existing concepts in OpenMRS that overlap with the ones I want to use, and a Dutch translation for those concepts. These are all fairly literal translations; I have removed the ones that are not literal.

I will want to use some non-literal translations, though. For example, we want the students to use ICD R23.2 “Flushing” for the symptom “hot flashes”, so we want to use the Dutch word for hot flashes instead of the more general term for flushing. We will need to turn off automatic updating of the vocabulary, because it’s important that all students who take this course get the same information throughout the school year.

If you can explain how I can get OpenMRS to use the Dutch names for these concepts without automatic updating, that would help a lot! I might still have a few questions after that, but I think that’ll get me to the next step.

Thanks again!

These have now been added to the next CIEL release which should happen this coming weekend. I am not sure of how you can use get these without taking the release. If you use OpenConceptLab, then the translations should be added to your dictionary.


Can you tell me a little bit more about the consequences of “taking the release”? The system we’ll be running is for educational use, with new groups of students starting every 3 weeks. It’s important that each group of students sees the same thing that the last group did, thus automatic updates are not desirable in our situation. We will also need some “local local” concepts that are specific to our curriculum and would not be appropriate for other Dutch hospitals.

Would “taking the release” = following the instructions here: Open Concept Lab - Documentation - OpenMRS Wiki ? If we are using Open Concept Lab, can we still have concepts that are only on the local installation (and not part of Open Concept Lab)? Does “taking the release” imply accepting automatic updates that might happen in the middle of a class/school year?

Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for your help!

Yes, although it may be worth looking into supplying them via the Initializer Module if you might have multiple installations running. Even if not, one of the aims of the Initializer module is to ensure that we have repeatable

If you use the Open Concept Lab module, you can subscribe to a particular version of CIEL. The version of CIEL will be stable and will not be updated after release, so no automatic updates will happen in the middle of class or the school year.

Great, thanks! I will experiment with it and let you know if I have further questions. We will eventually have multiple installations, but right now we’re still working on getting the first one running. :slight_smile:

Btw, if you develop any instruction-related materials using OpenMRS in a university course that you’d be happy to share, I’d be very interested!

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The same would apply to a custom dictionary you create. There are no updates applied automatically to your server.