Creating localized NuGet packages

There are two ways to create localized versions of a library:

  1. Include all localized resources assemblies in a single package.
  2. Create separate localized satellite packages (NuGet 1.8 and later), by following a strict set of conventions.

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, as described in the following sections.

Localized resource assemblies in a single package

Including localized resource assemblies in a single package is typically the simplest approach. To do this, create folders within lib for supported language other than the package default (assumed to be en-us). In these folders you can place resource assemblies and localized IntelliSense XML files.

For example, the following folder structure supports, German (de), Italian (it), Japanese (ja), Russian (ru), Chinese (Simplified) (zh-Hans), and Chinese (Traditional) (zh-Hant):

    │   Contoso.Utilities.dll
    │   Contoso.Utilities.xml
    │       Contoso.Utilities.resources.dll
    │       Contoso.Utilities.xml
    │       Contoso.Utilities.resources.dll
    │       Contoso.Utilities.xml
    │       Contoso.Utilities.resources.dll
    │       Contoso.Utilities.xml
    │       Contoso.Utilities.resources.dll
    │       Contoso.Utilities.xml
    │       Contoso.Utilities.resources.dll
    │       Contoso.Utilities.xml

You can see that the languages are all listed underneath the net40 target framework folder. If you're supporting multiple frameworks, then you'll have a folder under lib for each variant.

With these folders in place, you'll then reference all the files in your .nuspec:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <file src="lib\**" target="lib" />

One example package that uses this approach is Microsoft.Data.OData 5.4.0.

Advantages and disadvantages

Bundling all languages in a single package has a few disadvantages:

  1. Shared metadata: Because a NuGet package can only contain a single .nuspec file, you can provide metadata for only a single language. That is, NuGet does not present support localized metadata.
  2. Package size: Depending on the number of languages you support, the library can become considerably large, which slows installing and restoring the package.
  3. Simultaneous releases: Bundling localized files into a single package requires that you release all assets in that package simultaneously, rather than being able to release each localization separately. Furthermore, any update to any one localization requires a new version of the entire package.

However, it also has a few benefits:

  1. Simplicity: Consumers of the package get all supported languages in a single install, rather than having to install each language separately. A single package is also easier to find on
  2. Coupled versions: Because all of the resource assemblies are in the same package as the primary assembly, they all share the same version number and don't run a risk of getting erroneously decoupled.

Localized satellite packages

Similar to how .NET Framework supports satellite assemblies, this method separates localized resources and IntelliSense XML files into satellite packages.

Do to this, your primary package uses the naming convention {identifier}.{version}.nupkg and contains the assembly for the default language (such as en-US). For example, ContosoUtilities.1.0.0.nupkg would contain the following structure:


A satellite assembly then uses the naming convention {identifier}.{language}.{version}.nupkg, such as The identifier must exactly match that of the primary package.

Because this is a separate package, it has its own .nuspec file that contains localized metadata. Be mindful that the language in the .nuspec must match the one used in the filename.

The satellite assembly must also declare an exact version of the primary package as a dependency, using the [] version notation (see Package versioning). For example, must declare a dependency on ContosoUtilities.1.0.0.nupkg using the [1.0.0] notation. The satellite package can, of course, have a different version number than the primary package.

The satellite package's structure must then include the resource assembly and XML IntelliSense file in a subfolder that matches {language} in the package filename:


Note: unless specific subcultures such as ja-JP are necessary, always use the higher level language identifier, like ja.

In a satellite assembly, NuGet will recognize only those files in the folder that matches the {language} in the filename. All others are ignored.

When all of these conventions are met, NuGet will recognize the package as a satellite package and install the localized files into the primary package's lib folder, as if they had been originally bundled. Uninstalling the satellite package will remove its files from that same folder.

You would create additional satellite assemblies in the same way for each supported language. For an example, examine the set of ASP.NET MVC packages:

Summary of required conventions

  • Primary package must be named {identifier}.{version}.nupkg
  • A satellite package must be named {identifier}.{language}.{version}.nupkg
  • A satellite package's .nuspec must specify its language to match the filename.
  • A satellite package must declare a dependency on an exact version of the primary using the [] notation in its .nuspec file. Ranges are not supported.
  • A satellite package must place files in the lib\[{framework}\]{language} folder that exactly matches {language} in the filename.

Advantages and disadvantages

Using satellite packages has a few benefits:

  1. Package size: The overall footprint of the primary package is minimized, and consumers only incur the costs of each language they want to use.
  2. Separate metadata: Each satellite package has its own .nuspec file and thus its own localized metadata because. This can allow some consumers to find packages more easily by searching with localized terms.
  3. Decoupled releases: Satellite assemblies can be released over time, rather than all at once, allowing you to spread out your localization efforts.

However, satellite packages have their own set of disadvantages:

  1. Clutter: Instead of a single package, you have many packages that can lead to cluttered search results on and a long list of references in a Visual Studio project.
  2. Strict conventions. Satellite packages must follow the conventions exactly or the localized versions won't be picked up properly.
  3. Versioning: Each satellite package must have an exact version dependency on the primary package. This means that updating the primary package may require updating all satellite packages as well, even if the resources didn't change.