Programming language: TypeScript
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 or later
Tags: Localization    
Latest version: v1.8.0

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attranslate is a tool for synchronizing translation-files, including JSON/YAML/XML and other formats. attranslate is optimized for smooth rollouts in hectic project environments, even if you already have many translations. Optionally, attranslate works with automated translation-services. For example, let's say that a translation-service achieves 80% correct translations. With attranslate, a quick fix of the remaining 20% may be faster than doing everything by hand. Other than that, attranslate supports purely manual translations or even file-format-conversions without changing the language.

Why attranslate?

In contrast to paid services, a single developer can integrate attranslate in a matter of minutes. attranslate can operate on the very same translations-files that you are already using. This is possible because attranslate operates on your file in a surgical way, with as little changes as possible.


Cross-platform Support

attranslate is designed to translate any website or app with any toolchain. attranslate works for i18n/JavaScript-frameworks/Android/iOS/Flutter/Ruby/Jekyll/Symfony/Django/WordPress and many other platforms. To make this possible, attranslate supports the following file formats:

  • Flat or nested JSON
  • Flat or nested YAML
  • PO/POT-files
  • Android-XML or any other XMLs with text-contents
  • iOS-Strings
  • Flutter-ARB
  • CSV (e.g. for Google Docs or Microsoft Excel)

Preserve Manual Translations

attranslate recognizes that automated translations are not perfect. Therefore, whenever you are unhappy with the produced results, attranslate allows you to simply overwrite texts in your target-files. attranslate will never ever overwrite a manual correction in subsequent runs.

Optionally Overwrite Outdated Translations

attranslate is capable of detecting outdated translations. Overwriting outdated translations helps to ensure the freshness of translations. However, in hectic project environments, it might be easier to leave outdated translations as-is. Therefore, attranslate leaves outdated translations as-is unless you explicitly configure it to overwrite them.

Available Services

attranslate supports the following translation-services:

  • manual: Translate texts manually by entering them into attranslate.
  • Google Cloud Translate
  • Azure Translator
  • sync-without-translate: Does not change the language. This can be useful for converting between file formats, or for maintaining region-specific differences.

Usage Examples

Translating a single file is as simple as the following line:

attranslate --srcFile=json-simple/en.json --srcLng=en --srcFormat=nested-json --targetFile=json-simple/de.json --targetLng=de --targetFormat=nested-json --service=manual

If you have multiple target-languages, then you will need multiple calls to attranslate. You can write something like the following script to avoid unnecessary duplication:

# This example translates an english JSON-file into spanish, chinese and german. It uses Google Cloud Translate.
COMMON_ARGS=( "--srcLng=en" "--srcFormat=nested-json" "--targetFormat=nested-json" "--service=google-translate" "--serviceConfig=$SERVICE_ACCOUNT_KEY" )

# install attranslate if it is not installed yet
attranslate --version || npm install --global attranslate

attranslate --srcFile=$BASE_DIR/en/fruits.json --targetFile=$BASE_DIR/es/fruits.json --targetLng=es "${COMMON_ARGS[@]}"
attranslate --srcFile=$BASE_DIR/en/fruits.json --targetFile=$BASE_DIR/zh/fruits.json --targetLng=zh "${COMMON_ARGS[@]}"
attranslate --srcFile=$BASE_DIR/en/fruits.json --targetFile=$BASE_DIR/de/fruits.json --targetLng=de "${COMMON_ARGS[@]}"

Similarly, you can use attranslate to convert between file-formats. See sample scripts for more examples.

Usage Options

Run attranslate --help to see a list of available options:

Usage: attranslate [options]

  --srcFile <sourceFile>              The source file to be translated
  --srcLng <sourceLanguage>           A language code for the source language
  --srcFormat <sourceFileFormat>      One of "flat-json", "nested-json",
                                      "yaml", "po", "xml", "ios-strings",
                                      "arb", "csv"
  --targetFile <targetFile>           The target file for the translations
  --targetLng <targetLanguage>        A language code for the target language
  --targetFormat <targetFileFormat>   One of "flat-json", "nested-json",
                                      "yaml", "po", "xml", "ios-strings",
                                      "arb", "csv"
  --service <translationService>      One of "manual",
                                      "google-translate", "azure"
  --serviceConfig <serviceKey>        supply configuration for a translation
                                      service (either a path to a key-file or
                                      an API-key)
  --cacheDir <cacheDir>               The directory where a translation-cache
                                      is expected to be found (default: ".")
  --matcher <matcher>                 One of "none", "icu", "i18next",
                                      "sprintf" (default: "none")
  --overwriteOutdated <true | false>  If true, overwrite outdated translations
                                      in subsequent runs. Leave this at false
                                      unless you know what you are doing.
                                      (default: "false")
  --keySearch <regExp>                A regular expression to replace
                                      translation-keys (can be used for
                                      file-format conversions) (default: "x")
  --keyReplace <string>               The replacement for occurrences of
                                      keySearch (default: "x")
  -v, --version                       output the version number
  -h, --help                          display help for command

Integration Guide

Firstly, ensure that nodejs is installed on your machine. Once you have nodejs, you can install attranslate via:

npm install --global attranslate

Alternatively, if you are a JavaScript-developer, then you should install attranslate via:

npm install --save-dev attranslate

Next, you should write a project-specific script that invokes attranslate for your specific files. See sample scripts for guidance on how to translate your project-specific files.

Service Configuration

If you use attranslate with an automated translation-service, then you need to configure an API-key. API-keys can be obtained for free, but you might need to register an account. See [service config](docs/SERVICE_CONFIG.md) for guidance on how to obtain API-keys for specific services.

Once you have an API-key, pass your API-key to attranslate via the --serviceConfig flag.

Interpolations and Matchers

:warning: For many projects, attranslate works out of the box without configuring any matchers. Therefore, we recommend skipping this section unless you encounter unexpected problems that are hard to fix manually.

Many websites/apps use interpolations to insert dynamic values into translations. For example, an interpolation like Your name is {{name}} might be replaced with Your name is Felix.

To help with interpolations, attranslate provides so-called matchers. A matcher replaces interpolations with placeholders before they are sent to a translation service. attranslate offers the following matchers for different styles of interpolations:

  • ICU: Matches ICU interpolations like {name}.
  • i18n: Matches i18next interpolations like {{name}}.
  • sprintf: Matches sprintf-style interpolations like %s.
  • None: Doesn't match any interpolations.

You can select a matcher with the --matcher option.

Translation Cache

:warning: If --overwriteOutdated is set to false, then attranslate does not generate any translation-cache.

The purpose of the translation-cache is to detect outdated translations, such that outdated translations can be overwritten in subsequent runs. The translation-cache consists of attranslate-cache-*-files. It is allowed to delete a translation-cache at any time. However, to make it work smoothly, you should put your attranslate-cache-*-files under version control.

Continuous Integration

To detect common mistakes like missing translations, it is advisable to run attranslate via continuous integration (CI). For example, the command git diff --exit-code can be used to trigger a CI failure whenever a file has been modified by attranslate.