Modify translations of a website UI in-place
Python JavaScript
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This re-usable Django app enables non-technical website owners to translate the user interface of their site, on the site itself.

It works for websites which are created with Django and use Django's internationalization framework.

When a site is in "live translation" mode, a "translate" button and a translation editor pop-up window are automatically created for each translate string on a page. The button appears when the mouse pointer touches the translated text. Clicking on the button opens the translation editor pop-up window, which displays the original string with editable translations in different languages.

When translations are modified in the pop-up window, the changes are saved back into the original gettext .po files on the server. Any changes to the translation in the active language are immediately updated on the page.

When in live translation mode, the website re-compiles any changed .po files and reloads all compiled .mo files on every request. This has a considerable effect on performance, so the live translation mode should only be used on non-public instances of the site.

If the source code for the website is managed with a version control system on the server, the changes can be committed to a local branch and pushed to a remote server. This is done with a simple "upload changes" link in a management interface. Alternatively, the changes can be e-mailed to a developer as a diff file.


Django-livetranslation requires the polib Python package, which can be installed from the Python Package Index using easy_install:

easy_install polib

Clone the django-livetranslation source code from GitHub:

git clone

Install the app:

cd django-livetranslation
python install

If you have the pip package installer, you can simply:

pip install polib
pip install -e git+git://


You'll need to activate a special middleware, the backend app and the live translation mode in your




<The middleware adds JavaScript on every HTML page and loads the jQuery library from the Google CDN. See Loading jQuery below for customization instructions.

For instructions on how to enable internationalization support in your Django project, see the Django documentation on


In your templates, instead of {% load i18n %} load the modified internationalization template tags. They replace Django's own tags and are used similarly:

{% load livetranslation_tags %}

{% trans "Original string" %}
{% blocktrans %}Original string{% endblocktrans %}

In your Python code, import the translation functions from django-livetranslation instead of Django. An example view:

from django.shortcuts import render_to_response
from livetranslation import ugettext as _

def myview(request):
    return render_to_response('mytemplate.html',
                              {'myvar': _(u'Original string')})

An example model:

from django.db import models
from livetranslation import ugettext_lazy as _

class MyModel(models.Model):
    myfield = models.TextField(help_text=_(u'Original text'))

Loading jQuery

The middleware tries to be smart and detect if jQuery is already being loaded on the page by looking for a <script> tag with a familiar-looking src= URL. It matches the filename part of the URL in the following forms:

  • jquery.js
  • jquery.min.js
  • jquery-<version>.js
  • jquery-<version>.min.js

The match is case insensitive and <version> can contain digits and periods.

If a matching <script> tag is not found, one is inserted to load jQuery 1.4.2 from the Google CDN.

If the detection doesn't work correctly for you or you want to customize the jQuery URL, you can customize the process in

# never load jQuery

# load the provided URL if it isn't already loaded
LIVETRANSLATION_JQUERY = '/path/jQuery-strangefilename.js'

# if the regex doesn't match a <script> tag, load the given URL
LIVETRANSLATION_JQUERY = (r'.*/jquery-1\.4\.2(?:-min)?\.js',  # src= regex
                          '/path/jquery-1.4.2.min.js')        # URL