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Foreign Language Templates Overview

A foreign language template is any template you create using a language other than the language you chose as the Default Language for New templates in the HotDocs Options dialog box (this can have ramifications for formatting number and date values in your target language). For example, if you routinely author your templates in French, but you want to create a template in German, you need to instruct HotDocs to format any Number and Date variables in accordance with German format expectations, instead of French.


HotDocs Author is fully Unicode compliant, meaning you can make templates in any language, regardless of whether that language uses Latin script or some other writing system. Currently, however, the HotDocs Author interface and documentation are available only in English.

While you can add text to a template in any language you want (and therefore, have a "foreign language template"), if you want to change the way HotDocs formats numbers and dates in your template, you can either:

When you change the formatting language in this way, you override the Assembly Formatting Language template property.

You can change the formatting language using the LANGUAGE instruction at any point in a template to change the language HotDocs uses to format the values Date and Number variables gather in the interview (or that come from system functions such as TODAY).

The LANGUAGE instructions does not affect the formats that govern the other variable types. These formats (for example, Text formats) don't require language-specific formats because they translate better between languages since they are based on rules such as capitalization that apply more evenly across languages. You can choose to use the default formats for the other types of variables or create your own. For example, if you want to use a Spanish True/False variable format, type Sí/No in the variable's Default Format property or the Format property on the placeholder field for that variable.

The LANGUAGE instruction currently only works within a HotDocs field.

In addition to changing the formatting language, you can set properties to:

Common Tasks

Among others, creating a foreign language template enables you to perform the following common tasks:


When creating a foreign language template, you should first decide which language you want to use for naming your components, as it is not a good idea to mix and match languages, particularly if you do not know who else may need to make edits to your template later. When making this decision you should consider:

  • The language your team members are most comfortable with
  • Whether you need to integrate with any third-party systems – if so, you should use the language these systems use, keeping in mind as well, that variable names constitute the identities by which you look up answers in an answer file.

The languages that HotDocs supports appear in the drop-down list when you change the formatting language. Rather than choosing something from the list, you can use Advanced HotDocs Field Editor Tool to add a the Language Culture Name for any Microsoft supported languages instead. The difference between those that Microsoft supports and those that HotDocs supports has to do with number and date formats. Microsoft only supports basic number and date formats that use digits and separators (there is no support for ordinals, spelled out days, months, and years, etc.). For those languages HotDocs supports, HotDocs provides both the basic formatting and ordinals, etc., enabling you to create your own formats for those languages that appear in the drop-down list.

When choosing a language from the drop-down list, you may need to adapt the list of formats that appear in the My Formats property and format date and Number variables so they are specific to your target language. For example, while the ordinal date format dth day of Mmmm, yyyy works great in English to produce (for example) a date of 15th day of February, 2018, if you change the formatting language to Spanish and then choose this same format for a Date variable field, this date appears as 15° day of Febrero, 2018. To ensure your Spanish ordinal dates appear properly, you would need to create a new format that puts the "day of" language into your target language (Spanish). In this case, if you create and then choose a format like this: 1º día de Mmmm, yyyy, the date appears properly as 15° día de Febrero, 2018.

Only the Spanish language formats recognize the gender-specific use of the word one (uno, una, and un).

Scope of Operation

Unlike other instructions you use within a template, the LANGUAGE instruction does not require an END statement. Rather, the instruction applies from where you insert the instruction to the end of the current context. This means that if you place a LANGUAGE instruction at the beginning of a template, the formatting associated with the language you specify with the instruction applies until you add a different LANGUAGE instruction. Even though there is no END for the LANGUAGE instruction, you can add another LANGUAGE instruction at any time. If you choose DEFAULT from the drop-down list, you can also set the language back to the default language you specified for the current scope of operations. You can also set interview and document assembly language preferences in the Template Properties dialog box.

If you do not specify the default language for an auxiliary template, the parent template's language scope extends to the date and number formats HotDocs uses to assemble the auxiliary template. If you do add a different LANGUAGE instruction in the auxiliary template, that instruction only applies to the portion of the assembled document that corresponds to the auxiliary template's content.

Interview Language Settings

HotDocs also enables you to choose the language you want HotDocs to display the interview in using the Interview Language template property. When you choose the interview language, if HotDocs supports that language, HotDocs will load the appropriate language module in the interview runtime to display an interview in that language. The interview language modules control:

  1. The language of the text in interview interface elements (button names, menu items, date picker's calendar, etc.)
  2. The formatting of date values entered during the interview (the order the template user can enter day, month, and year and the language the template user can type for month names)
  3. The formatting of number values entered during the interview (appropriate thousands and decimal separators)

If you do not choose any language, HotDocs uses US English (en-US) to display the interview. If you set the interview language property using a language code for which there is no built in module, HotDocs still displays an interview; however, the only locale-specific features that you will get are the formatting of the thousands and decimal separators and the formatting and the order of day month and year for dates.

The languages supported in interview are US English, UK English, French, German and Dutch.

To ensure that the language module you want to use is working as expected, you can run a Test interview.

Common Reference Topics

Among others, the following reference topic relates to this conceptual area: