How to provide Multi-language support

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Created: ed_welch (29 May 2007)
Last edited: hamishwillee (13 Aug 2013)

Managing the different text translations of a game can easily be done by supplying a simple text file for each language in the resource folder. For instance, resource strings for English go in en.txt:


resource strings for Spanish es.txt:

Añadir| Elegir| Eliminar| Ver | etc...

In this case we choose "|" as a delimiter. It's important to use a character that doesn't commonly appear in text.

Then you can parse the text into an array using the following code:

import java.io.*;
import java.util.Vector;
public class Translator
private static Vector text;
public static final short add = 0;
public static final short choose = 1;
public static final short remove = 2;
public static final short view = 3;
private static final int maxBuffer = 0x800;
public Translator()
public static void readText()
text = new Vector();
// get the text resource as a stream
InputStream is = Runtime.getRuntime().getClass()
InputStreamReader isr = new InputStreamReader(is);
char[] buffer = new char[maxBuffer];
char[] currItem = new char[400];
int n = 0;
int read = 0;
int currPos = 0;
char c;
String strText;
read = isr.read(buffer, 0, maxBuffer);
if (read == -1)
n = 0;
// now we have a part of the file stored in buffer, so then
// we load it into curr string
while(n < read && buffer[n] != '|')
currItem[currPos] = buffer[n];
if (currPos >= currItem.length-1)
DebugStuff.print("buffer overflow at "+text.size()+" item");
} // end while
if (n == read) break;
// we have recieved a token before finishing the buffer
if (n < read)
strText = new String(currItem, 0, currPos);
currPos = 0;
if (n == read) break;
c = buffer[n];
} while (c == '\n' || c == '\r' || c == ' ');
// Note: there might be a problem if white space after token occurs exactly after reading a block
} while(true);
} while (true);
// note: any trailing characters without a delimiter will be ignored
catch (IOException e)
static String get(int id)
if (id >= text.size()) return "missing string";
return (String)text.elementAt(id);

(In fact this is quite handy code to use for parsing any text delimited file)

  • Note: this code does not support Unicode.

Finally you access the localised strings as follows:

String str = Translator.get(Translator.add)
This page was last modified on 13 August 2013, at 13:56.
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