Guidance for creating a multilingual EPUB

4 posts / 0 new
Last post


Is it possible to create a single EPUB that contains multiple translations within the package? For example, let's say that I have a book that's been translated from English into Japanese, French, and German. What I'd like to do is have a single book whose OEBPS folder contains the translations as follows:


If someone in one of those regions opens the EPUB, the reader would load the localized version.

Is that possible? If so, can anyone provide a pointer in the spec for how to do this? I assume there's some magic to work on the OPF file, but seem to be hitting a wall.



You can include multiple renditions by having a rootfile element in the container.xml file point to each package document, but right now there's nothing in the specifications that specifies how a reading system is to pick from them.

The Multiple Rendition Publications specification will address the scenario you suggest (and many others), but it's only a working draft right now. In your case, you'd add the rendition:language attribute to each rootfile to allow a reading system to pick the version that meets the reader's preferred language. There would also be the option to select any of the others, with the rendition:description attribute providing the human-readable label (the attribute name is likely to be changed to title or label, as it's not terribly accurate as is).

The hope is to get it to a recommendation in the next few months.

Thanks for the quick response, Matt. Will keep my eyes on the Multiple Rendition Publications spec with high hopes. Of course, then we have to wait for the readers to catch up, but this does bode well. :)


But currently you still can provide a manual choice in the navigation document and for backwards compatibility in the NCX document as well. Doing this, the advantages are, that the reader still has the full control and it works for all viewers.

Secondary menu