Install Linguise automatic translation on phpBB forum

Table of Contents

phpBB technical requirements

The neural automatic translation to be used with phpBB Forum will require to use the PHP script (can be downloaded below). To install the Linguise script, you’ll need the following requirements:

  • Run PHP 7+
  • Apache, LiteSpeed, NGINX, IIS server
  • Make sure URL rewriting is activated on your server
  • phpBB 3 and above

1. Generate the API Key

After your connection or registration to your Linguise dashboard, you’ll need to setup a new domain first and save its settings to get the API Key.

You can select “Other PHP” platform to proceed with Linguise registration domain, like this documentation and the source and destination languages.

After that you’ll get:

  • The API key that validates your membership
  • The link to the Linguise script for the language switcher


The API key is what is required to activate the translation on your phpBB Forum website. Basically, the API key will check what language is activated on your domain and allows the automatic translation of the content.

For now, you can copy the API Key and keep it in your clipboard.

2. Upload and connect the Linguise translation script

The Linguise translation script needs to be uploaded on your server where phpBB is installed:

After the script is downloaded, unzip it and upload it to the root folder where the phpBB is installed.

  • Make sure it’s at the root level of your website (where your phpBB files are located)
  • Make sure the folder keeps its default name “linguise”

The Linguise API key will need to be copied into the Configuration.php file you’ve uploaded to your server, edit the file and copy your API Key between the simple quotes, replace the text REPLACE_BY_TOUR TOKEN.


3. Setup the phpBB URLs rewriting

In order to load your language on new URLs (like the URL needs to be configured in phpBB Administration Control Panel, Administration Control Panel (ACP) > General, and then on the left-hand side > Server Settings.

There are 2 options to activate, which are by the way the best one for SEO, they are:

  • Enable URL Rewriting option,
  • Use URL Rewriting (require editing a file to work properly)

Once you have activated “Enable URL Rewriting“, you will have to modify .htaccess file.

The URL by language needs to be configured in the .htaccess. Just copy the code below after the code RewriteEngine onavailable in the default phpBB .htaccess. 

					<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteEngine On
  RewriteRule ^(af|sq|am|ar|hy|az|eu|be|bn|bs|bg|ca|ceb|ny|zh-cn|zh-tw|co|hr|cs|da|nl|en|eo|et|tl|fi|fr|fy|gl|ka|de|el|gu|ht|ha|haw|iw|hi|hmn|hu|is|ig|id|ga|it|ja|jw|kn|kk|km|ko|ku|ky|lo|la|lv|lt|lb|mk|mg|ms|ml|mt|mi|mr|mn|my|ne|no|ps|fa|pl|pt|pa|ro|ru|sm|gd|sr|st|sn|sd|si|sk|sl|so|es|su|sw|sv|tg|ta|te|th|tr|uk|ur|uz|vi|cy|xh|yi|yo|zu|zz-zz)(?:$|/)(.*)$ linguise/linguise.php?linguise_language=$1&original_url=$2 [L,QSA]

You can now load all your translated pages using the URL, for example:

Let’s now load the language switcher.


4. Activate the language switcher

4.1 Load the Linguise JS script

The Linguise JS script link needs to be loaded on all your phpBB pages to display the language switcher with flags and alternate URLs in your HTML headers (for SEO purpose).

To copy the script link, from the Linguise dashboard go to the domain settings and copy the script link.

The easiest way to load this code in phpBB is to add it inside your website header or <head> code. phpBB comes with a special environment, and it has a specific file to add a script to the header.

It’s located in the overall_header.html file that you can find it by navigating to your CMS installation folder here: 

Edit the script file to include the script link in the header section like below. Additionally, you will need to purge the Cache once you have put the script inside the overall_header.html


The language switcher will be displayed by default in a floating bottom right position on your website. You are welcome to customize it as explained in the next chapter.


SEO important note: The number of languages you setup has a large impact on SEO. When you setup your translation languages, if you have a large amount of indexed pages (>500), search engine may take a lot of time to process them. It may impact your SEO in your original language. That’s why we recommend adding at first a maximum of 5 languages, then when it’s indexed, you can add languages in a batch of 3 per month.

Setup the language switcher in phpBB

The language switcher can be customized from the Linguise dashboard > Settings > Language flags display. Every modification here will be reflected on the website.

On the right side of the screen you have the preview of the language switcher. Here are the elements you can setup:

  • 3 layouts: side by side, dropdown or popup
  • The language switcher position
  • The language switcher content
  • Language names in English or native language
  • Flags shapes and size
  • Colors and box shadow

Load the language switcher in phpBB content


To display the Language switcher at the specific place, in the phpBB content, you should set the position as “In place”. 
Once you have set the position in the Linguise dashboard, you can add the shortcode below to include it. Click on the code below to put it in your clipboard.

Once it’s added, on the frontend you’ll have the flag and language names displayed in the HTML area you’ve added the code.

Activate the local cache system option

As an option, you can activate a local cache system that stores URLs and its related multilingual content to serve the pages faster. The local cache will save some data transfer between Linguise server and your website server. The cache is used only when a page has already been translated and has not been updated. The cache kept in priority will be the cache from the most viewed multilingual pages.

To complement that, you can define the amount of cache stored in MB. In the following example, the cache is activated and the amount of cache to keep is 500 MB.

					    /** Basic configuration **/
    public $cache_enabled = true;
    public $cache_max_size = 500; // In megabyte

Automatic translation on NGINX servers

Add the line corresponding to your CMS in your NGINX server configuration block.
It should be set before any other redirection, especially the redirection in your PHP main file.
					rewrite ^/(af|sq|am|ar|hy|az|eu|be|bn|bs|bg|ca|ceb|ny|zh-cn|zh-tw|co|hr|cs|da|nl|en|eo|et|tl|fi|fr|fy|gl|ka|de|el|gu|ht|ha|haw|iw|hi|hmn|hu|is|ig|id|ga|it|ja|jw|kn|kk|km|ko|ku|ky|lo|la|lv|lt|lb|mk|mg|ms|ml|mt|mi|mr|mn|my|ne|no|ps|fa|pl|pt|pa|ro|ru|sm|gd|sr|st|sn|sd|si|sk|sl|so|es|su|sw|sv|tg|ta|te|th|tr|uk|ur|uz|vi|cy|xh|yi|yo|zu|zz-zz)(?:$|/)(.*)$ /linguise/linguise.php?linguise_language=$1&original_url=$2 last;

Automatic translation on Windows IIS servers​

Add the line corresponding to your website builder in your Web.config file.
It should be set before any other redirection, especially the redirection to your PHP main file:

					<rule name="Linguise" stopProcessing="true">
<match url="^(af|sq|am|ar|hy|az|eu|be|bn|bs|bg|ca|ceb|ny|zh-cn|zh-tw|co|hr|cs|da|nl|en|eo|et|tl|fi|fr|fy|gl|ka|de|el|gu|ht|ha|haw|iw|hi|hmn|hu|is|ig|id|ga|it|ja|jw|kn|kk|km|ko|ku|ky|lo|la|lv|lt|lb|mk|mg|ms|ml|mt|mi|mr|mn|my|ne|no|ps|fa|pl|pt|pa|ro|ru|sm|gd|sr|st|sn|sd|si|sk|sl|so|es|su|sw|sv|tg|ta|te|th|tr|uk|ur|uz|vi|cy|xh|yi|yo|zu|zz-zz)(?:$|/)(.*)$" ignoreCase="false" />
        <conditions logicalGrouping="MatchAll" trackAllCaptures="false" />
            <action type="Rewrite" url="linguise/linguise.php?linguise_language={R:1}&amp;original_url={R:2}" appendQueryString="true" />

From SQLite to MySQL

Still in the Configuration.php there’s a setting to force the usage of MySQL instead of SQLite, in case SQLite is not installed on the server.

In this case, you’ll need to fill the MySQL information in this part of the Configuration.php file:

					    /** Advanced database configuration **/
     *  In case you don't want to use Sqlite, you can use MySQL
     *  To do so, you need to fill the following variables
     *  Linguise will create the tables for you
    public static $db_host = '';
    public static $db_user = '';
    public static $db_password = '';
    public static $db_name = '';
    public static $db_prefix = '';