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Watch Your Language

Watch Your Language

As many users are no doubt aware, Amazon operates throughout the world, with each locale acting almost like a separate company. Associate-O-Matic can be selected to operate in most of these locales. Currently, you can set up an online store for the following markets: The United States, Canada, Great Britain, France and Germany. Eventually we hope to make the software compatible for the Japanese market as well (Please note that you must register for an Associate ID for each locale you wish to create a store in. See Amazon’s Associate Agreement for details on payment options in each locale).

But what if you want to customize your site for other languages? There are many AOM stores in Thailand, Indonesia, Greece, and all around the world. While these sites get their product data from one of the Amazon locales mentioned above, it might be helpful to have as much of the store as possible using the same language as your customers. There are also options to customize your site, no matter what language you use, to a deeper level.

The key to this is the cfg.lang.php file, located in the /aom directory folder. This file contains all the text used by the program, broken down into English, German and French, as shown in these examples:

Engish (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk) –

$str[‘1’] = “Home”;
$str[‘2’] = “Advanced Search”;
$str[‘3’] = “Shopping Cart”;
$str[‘4’] = “Page not found”;
$str[‘5’] = “This item is no longer available”;
$str[‘6’] = “This category is no longer available”;
$str[‘7’] = “The server is busy. Please refresh this page in a moment.”;

German (Amazon.de) –

$str[‘1’] = “Start”;
$str[‘2’] = “Erweiterte Suche”;
$str[‘3’] = “Einkaufswagen”;
$str[‘4’] = “Seite nicht gefunden”;
$str[‘5’] = “Dieser Artikel ist nicht mehr vorhanden”;
$str[‘6’] = “Diese Kategorie ist nicht mehr vorhanden”;
$str[‘7’] = “Der Server ist momentan beschäftigt. Bitte aktualisieren Sie diese Seite in einigen Sekunden.”;

French (Amazon.fr) –

$str[‘1’] = “Accueil”;
$str[‘2’] = “Recherche approfondie”;
$str[‘3’] = “Afficher le panier”;
$str[‘4’] = “La page demandée ne peut être affichée”;
$str[‘5’] = “Cet article n’est plus disponible”;
$str[‘6’] = “Cette catégorie n’est plus disponible”;
$str[‘7’] = “Le serveur est occupé. Veuillez rafraîchir la page dans un instant.”;

Each section currently contains 357 words or phrases, plus the (required) text of the Amazon disclaimer. You can edit the section that corresponds to the Amazon locale your site is set to use. Each line is considered a string, as shown by the $str variable name.

It’s also possible to utilize HTML in the strings. This has advantages beyond just changing the language. For example you could make sure that some words or phrases are bolded:

$str[’17’] = “Your shopping cart is <b>empty</b>”;

–  Your shopping cart is empty

You could even include images using the standard img src format (<img src=”/path/to/image.gif”>):

$str[’17’] = “Your shopping cart is empty <img src=”/images/eek.gif”>”;

–  Your shopping cart is empty Eek! Your cart is totally, completely empty! Quick, buy something!

The possibilities are endless.

There are three important notes to consider, however. The first is that any ‘non-standard’ characters or symbols may not display correctly, due to the <meta charset> tag used by your site (You may see examples in the French text above). The charset tag tells the browser which character set to use in displaying the text; AOM currently uses utf-8. If your chosen langage characters are not showing up correctly, you may need to change this tag (the best way would be with a custom header file).

Second, please bear in mind that while you can change all the language used by AOM itself, you cannot change the language Amazon sends in its product information. This will include product names, descriptions, reviews, etc. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that.

Finally, if you do decide to make any changes to the cfg.lang.php file, it’s vital that you then keep a backup copy of the changed file in a secure place, such as your computer. When AOM is upgraded, installing the new version will overwrite this file, and any changes you make will be lost. If you have a backup, it’s no problem to copy the changes (only the changes – not the whole file!), paste them into the new file, update any new words or terms that may be included, and carry on as before.

But if you don’t have a copy backed up, you will have to start all over from scratch.  So consider yourself warned.

Now, armed with the knowledge above, you can help make your online store a more inviting place for your customers to shop at.

fin.

ende.

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