Capturing Content

Handling Plural Strings in the GDN

Languages vary in how they handle plural forms of nouns and unit expressions. Some languages, like English, have two forms. Other languages have a single or multiple forms.

The Smartling Global Delivery Network (GDN) allows you to specify that a string on your site requires translation to plural forms depending on the target language by using the Plural Class (sl_plural). Once you've tagged a string with the Plural Class, and captured the content in your Smartling GDN project, linguists will be able to apply the proper plural forms in accordance with the rules of the target language.

Applying the Plural Class

  1.  source HTML using the span class or id sl_plural. For example:
Uploaded <span class="sl_plural">3</span> seconds ago.
  1. In one of your target languages, capture the content you tagged by browsing the site. The source strings appear at Translations > Awaiting Authorization. The “1” icon indicates that the string is plural sensitive. Click to view all the plural forms in the original language.
  2. Authorize the string for translation.

Your linguists will now be able to translate the string to the relevant plural forms.

Translating Plurals

All forms of the translation move through workflow together. For example, if an editor rejects the translation because there is a problem with one plural form, they reject all plural forms for the translation. A translator only needs to modify the form that requires re-translation, but all plural forms are kept together.

Similarly, issues raised for the translation of plural sensitive strings apply to all the forms. If the issue only applies to a specific form, the text of the issue should specify the plural form.

To save the translation, you must provide a translation for each plural form in the target language (Smartling does not allow partial translations).


  • Smartling treats a string as plural if it contains at least one number wrapped in an HTML tag
  • Using the plural class or id sl_plural, and converts this number to a placeholder {0}
  • Smartling does not recognize text in the span class as plural sensitive. For example, the following string is not recognized as plural:
Uploaded <span class="sl_plural">three</span> seconds ago.
  • Fractions, decimals or white spaces are also not recognized. For example the following string will be treated as “33” (thirty-three)
Uploaded <span class="sl_plural">3.3</span> seconds ago.
  • Different numbers in the span class are treated as separate strings. For example the following strings will be treated as two separate (plural sensitive) strings: Uploaded {0} second ago and Uploaded {0} seconds ago.
Uploaded <span class="sl_plural">1</span> second ago.
Uploaded <span class="sl_plural">3</span> seconds ago.
  • If a string contains several numbers tagged as plural sensitive, Smartling allows only one plural span class per string.

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