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Database Backend for Rails I18n
 Project Readme

A Database Backend For Rails I18N

Stores your translations in the database, rather than yaml files. As you tag items with i18n.t() throughout your code base, all untranslated items are marked and added to the database. An admin panel is provided so translators can quickly translate untranslated text. All lookups occur in a cache store of your choice prior to hitting the database.


  • In implementing this into another project, I realized that the currency support is currently broken. It basically boils down to the i18n gem accessing some of the Rails i18n yaml’s in a different way than others. In this case, it’s requesting a parent key, and expects a hash to be returned containing the children. This is not baked in the plugin at the moment, and any contributions toward this would be well received. Thank you wlorentson!
  • The translations_controller is unprotected, and you’ll probably want to add some kind of authorization filter to it to make sure the outside world can’t access it.


    script/generate i18n_backend_database       # add migration
    rake db:migrate                             # migrate

    rake i18n:populate:load_default_locales     # populate default locales
    rake i18n:populate:from_rails               # populate the locales and translations tables from all Rails Locale YAML files.
    rake i18n:populate:from_application         # populate the translation tables from translation calls within the application.
    rake i18n:populate:synchronize_translations # create non-default locale translation records from default locale translations.
    rake i18n:populate:all                      # run all populate tasks.
    rake i18n:translate:google                  # translate all untranslated string values using Google Language Translation API.

In config/initialisers/i18n.rb

    I18n.backend = # registers the backend
    I18n.backend.cache_store = :memory_store   # optional: specify an alternate cache store
    I18n.backend.localize_text_tag = '##'      # optional: specify an alternate localize text tag, the default is ^^

In config/routes.rb to register admin panel routes

    map.from_plugin 'i18n_backend_database'


All non-user generated text provided by the application needs to be wrapped in a call to I18n.t().

I18n.t("Hello there!")

Interpolation is handled by passing in key/value pairs as a value to an interpolation tag ( {{ }} ).

I18n.t("Hello there {{name}}!", :name => "Dylan")

I18n.t("Click {{here}} or {{there}}", :here => "link_to(I18n.t('midnite'), croix_path)", :there => "link_to(I18n.t('staten_island'), wu_path)")

Pluralization is handled by passing in a “count” key value pair, which is a unique interpolation value.

I18n.t("You are {{count}} years old", :count => 100)

Links to external documents that need to be translated should be tagged as well.


All fragment cache view blocks need to have their keys prepended with the current locale.


Date/Time localization is handled by using the I18n.l method. The format used will be :default (see next item for explanation).


Date/Time localization can take a format parameter that corresponds to a key in the translations table (the Rails defaults :default, :short, and :long are available). We could in theory create our own like

I18n.l(@user.joined_at, :format => :default) I18n.l(@user.joined_at, :format => :short) I18n.l(@user.joined_at, :format => :espn_default)

Date/Time localization can take a custom format string as well.

I18n.l(@user.joined_at, :format => "%B %e, %Y")

Text stored in a database can be localized by tagging the text being stored and then localizing in the view etc.

I18n.tlt("is now friends with") => "^^is now friends with^^""shane ^^is now friends with^^ dylan") => "shane ahora es con amigos dylan"

Images can be translated with the I18n.ta tag

<%= image_tag(I18n.ta("logos/elc.gif"), :size => "134x75") %>

In this example, for a locale es, there should be an image: public/es/images/logos/elc.gif