Combining the languages


I am not sure if this topic is new, however I couldn't find anything relevant to my issue here. Is it possible to force Zotero to use technical information such as Vol., p., ed., and so on depends on the language of the source? I often cite different languages sources in one document. So If the source in English it is totally ok. But when I cite the source in Russian, I have to manually replace Vol. with Том, ed. with ред., p. with c. And so on.

However I do indicate the language of source in its entry. So what do you think? Is it possible that Zotero uses relevant technical info depends on the language of the source indicated in its entry?
  • edited June 12, 2016
    It can be done in Zotero, but it requires changes to the style that are not valid against the official CSL schema. For details (and an example) see this recent thread.
  • Thank you for info! I cannot open the link, could you repeat it?
    One thing I still can't get is that CSL is based on html, so what is the problem in modifying it?
  • There is no problem editing CSL files--the language is designed to be customizable. Basic instructions here:

    What fbennet was saying is that testing for an item's language in an <if> statement is not officially supported by the CSL language spec. That said, Zotero will recognize and properly handle styles that do have such tests.
  • Thank you, bwiernik! I'll look through instructions and try to figure it out. I am not familiar with html, though ((
  • edited June 12, 2016
    CSL has little to do with HTML. Citation Style Language is used by several personal bibliography management software packages to properly format citations that are inserted into documents. You can read more about CSL here:

    See also bwiernik's link above.

    I don't know if your problem can be solved with the CSL editor (anyone?) but going beyond the editor may be a reach unless you have rudimentary programming experience or working with logic statements. It is for me and I cut my teeth with FORTRAN-4 and COBOL in the 1960s and 70s.

    edit: I need to relearn CSL each time I try something so, if it is anything that is the least bit complex I hire an expert. :end-edit

    If fbennett's Juris-M can do what you want (he'll need to say if it can) and if you will be doing most of your writing with a need to adapt citations to the language of the cited article; you might want to migrate to that version of Zotero. (Juris-M used to be called Multilingual Zotero (MLZ). That has been expanded to better produce citations to legal within and to legal documents. See:
  • Kostiantyn,

    Sorry, I mistyped the URL. It's fixed now. CSL-M (an extended version of CSL) can produce the effect you want. The linked thread is to a very recent request for the same functionality. It's done by setting multiple cs:layout sections in cs:citation and cs:bibliography. That is not permitted in standard CSL, and a style written in that way will raise a warning when you attempt to install it in Zotero; but it is known to work.

    As for the coding of it, multiple layouts are not supported in the CSL visual editor, so as DWL-SDCA says, you would need to use other tools. I have built an editor here that I like very much, but I seem to be the only one who does. :-)

    If there is a specific style that you would like to multilingual-ize, post back to this thread, and I can take a look. If it's a simple conversion, I can set it up for you.
  • Gentlemen, thank you very much for your advices! I will try to deal with MLZ and will certainly look through the editor you mentioned, fbennett.

    Actually, there are three main styles that I use most of the time, it is APA, Chicago (for the footnotes) and Ukrainian DSTU. The last one, however, has never been developed as it should be. I would like to multilingualize the APA and Chicago.

    I never knew there are modifications of Zotero. That is really cool! I've tried almost every citation managers (EndNote, Mendeley, Papers 3, ReadCube, Bookend, RefMe) and now I understand that I should have started with Zotero :)
  • Note that MLZ is now called Juris-M
  • Yes, sorry -- here is the top-level link to the Juris-M site, of course.
  • Juris-M is a huge thing, as far as I can see. Actually, I also do my reseaerch in legal field, so that's what I need. It does not provide the feature I need though. Multilanguage functionality here is based upon the idea of transcription and translation of the data stored in the mani fields such as Autor, Journal or Editor. I think the only way to handle it is to adopte the csl file. Unfortunately, it is beyond my skills...
  • If you do multiple language and/or legal work, you will probably find Juris-M to be helpful for you. Like fbennet said, if you can provide specific styles and languages who would like supported, we might be able to help you adapt the styles.
  • bwiernik, thank you!

    Basically, my idea is described above. I want Zotero (or Juris-M) to use the field "Language" for modifying the technical information. As I see it:

    if "Language = Russian or Ukrainian" then:
    Vol. -> Т.
    Issue -> №
    Page -> с
    Editor -> ред.
    Translator -> пер.

    etc., I am not sure that I can recall all the elements of citation. As I understand, any csl file contains this info (because we can choose the language of citations). Perhaps it is just me, but I consider it as such an obvious thing, I don't understand, why it is not supported by csl yet.

    If it is possible, I'd very appreciate this feature to be somehow realized in Chicago 16 (full note) and APA 6.
  • Chicago Full Note is easy for us, because we already have a Juris-M version. APA will take some time, because I will need to prepare a Juris-M compatible version of the style.

    Which languages do you need to localize? Just Russian and Ukranian, or should other locales be included?
  • fbennett, thank you very much!

    I need only Russian and Ukrainian and they are quite similar in the context I need.

    By the way, when I tested Juris-M I faced with a strange thing about MLZ Chicago Full Note. When I try to cite a document type "Report", which is a very common thing for legal writing, Word creates a footnote with this text: [CSL STYLE ERROR: reference with no printed form.]. However, if I choose normal Chicago Full Note style, everything is Ok. I understand that it might be a topic for Juris-M forums to discuss, but as far as we get here perhaps you know the issue.
  • Thanks for flagging the bad Report entry. Is there are value in the Jurisdiction field when the ERROR cite text appears (and if so, what is its value)?

    Locally, we are shepherding about 20 Masters theses through the submission process, with the deadline at the end of the month. It's possible that the style bug you've encountered has been cleared, but with the info above we can be sure to squash it.

    I'll put up a RU/UK version of JM Chicago Full Note later today.
  • I have put up draft (and untested) version of a JM CMS Polyglot style, with a note on its requirements for legal referencing support. Give it a try, and post back if there are things in it that need fixing.
  • Thank you, fbennet, I'll test it!

    As for error I mentioned, yes, I have a value in Jurisdiction field. In one case that is UN Jurisdiction (as it is the report of Secretary-General), in the other - European Jurisdiction (I cited the report in Vienna Commission). Both times I had the same result.
  • edited November 29, 2017
    Hi to all,
    Is the possibility to use multiple languages scheduled in - say - Zotero 5.1? I would hopefully understand @adamsmith 's comment in this way.
    If it would not be the case, what is the best way to give access to a CSL file which would include multiple layouts according to the language (e.g. for this review)?
  • @NMonteix, we haven't come to agreement yet to how to best implement per-item style localization in official CSL, so there isn't a clear ETA.

    That said, assuming Zotero allows you to install an invalid style, you might be able to use a non-official multi-layout style as described at, assuming this still works in current versions of Zotero's citeproc-js CSL processor. (Its creator, @fbennett, has been implementing some features that go beyond the official CSL specification to improve legal and multilingual citation support in his Zotero fork, Juris-M (
  • +1 for this feature. In my opinion this is a must for Zotero, since "multilangual" footnotes are widely used in Humanities. Here is a shortened example for my usage case (notice how the "page" indicator varies across languages: p. / str. / с. ): "The Breakup of Yugoslavia" (...), p. 101-107; "Jugoslavija danas" (...), str. 23-27; "Нови хоризонти пред Западните Балкани" (...), с. 88-91. I hope that CSL devs and contributors will consider somehow adding an option for this in the near future, since many researchers heavily depend on it.
  • @aandreev Look at, a version of Zotero with extensive multilingual support
  • @bwiernik Wow! I didn't even knew that this exist! Why [the hell] it isn't included in Zotero Upstream?? Seriously, I don't understand why some awesome FOSS projects decide to split in different entities which provide different aspects of the functionality needed to achieve the big project goal...
  • Juris-M started out as an experimental fork of Zotero to test new legal and multilingual features. Since then, the scope of the changes (particularly on the legal citation side) has become large enough that merging them represents a major investment of effort that has not been a priority alongside more central development needs for more widely used features. Some of the features of Juris-M might eventually be incorporated into Zotero. The Juris-M developer, @fbennett maintains feature parity and incorporates changes in vanilla Zotero into Juris-M.
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