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How to customize alert e-mails for multilingual environments
Posted by Martin Laplante on 12 May 2011 01:57 PM
In SharePoint 2010, there are at least three types of alert e-mails.

The first type is the immediate e-mail sent when you subscribe to an alert, of the type "You have successfully created an alert for ...".  It is NOT customizable.  Luckily, it is sent in whatever language the user happens to have selected at the time of subscribing to the alert.  The name of the table isn't translated by PointFire using the multingual translation list, but it may be translated if you have entered a SharePoint label for the table in that language.

The second type of e-mail is the alert e-mail itself whenever the alert is triggered.  To customize that alert, edit a copy (not the original) of the AlertTemplates.xml and the AlertTemplates_SMS.xml files, located in the located in the %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\14\Template\XML folder (12 in SharePoint 2007), then register the changes using the command

STSADM -o updatealerttemplates -url url -filename name_of_working_copy

After running this, it's a good idea to reset IIS and restart the SharePoint timer service.  The files contain several different templates for different types of lists and libraries, with names like "SPAlertTemplateType.DocumentLibrary".  These alert templates show some fixed text, which can be replaced with a bilingual version, and in some cases they refer to a SharePoint core resource. Resource variables listed in AlertTemplates.xml, such as "$Resources:variable_name" or "$Resources:core,variable_name", can be found in core.resx; located in the %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\Resources directory, or core.en-US.resx or similar, depending on how SharePoint was installed.  Do NOT edit these files.  Unfortunately, if installed in English, the alert always reads from core.en-US.resx , no matter what language is specified.  This is because timer job run by the SharePoint 2010 Timer Service is the one sending out the alert e-mails and this job runs in the context of the farm account in the installed language.  Translation of e-mails is an upcoming feature of PointFire.
The third type of email is one sent by workflows.  Not only are the e-mails sent by workflows mostly customizable, using either SharePoint Designer for simple workflows or Visual Studio, but workflows give you an opportunity to branch according to language.  The workflow itself will run using the site’s default language and not the user’s currently selected language, so any field name or filed value referenced will be in that default language.  Translation of e-mails is an upcoming feature of PointFire.
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