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JSON Translate

Rails I18n library for ActiveRecord model/data translation using PostgreSQL's JSONB datatype or MySQL's JSON datatype. It provides an interface inspired by Globalize3 but removes the need to maintain separate translation tables.


  • ActiveRecord >= 4.2.0
  • I18n
  • MySQL support requires ActiveRecord >= 5 and MySQL >= 5.7.8.


gem install json_translate

When using bundler, put it in your Gemfile:

source ''

gem 'activerecord'

# PostgreSQL
gem 'pg', :platform => :ruby
gem 'activerecord-jdbcpostgresql-adapter', :platform => :jruby

# or MySQL
gem 'mysql2', :platform => :ruby
gem 'activerecord-jdbcmysql-adapter', :platform => :jruby

gem 'json_translate'

Model translations

Model translations allow you to translate your models' attribute values. E.g.

class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
  translates :title, :body

Allows you to translate the attributes :title and :body per locale:

I18n.locale = :en
post.title # => This database rocks!

I18n.locale = :he
post.title # => אתר זה טוב

You also have locale-specific convenience methods from easy_globalize3_accessors:

I18n.locale = :en
post.title # => This database rocks!
post.title_he # => אתר זה טוב

To find records using translations without constructing JSON queries by hand:

Post.with_title_translation("This database rocks!") # => #<ActiveRecord::Relation ...>
Post.with_title_translation("אתר זה טוב", :he) # => #<ActiveRecord::Relation ...>

In order to make this work, you'll need to define an JSON or JSONB column for each of your translated attributes, using the suffix "_translations":

class CreatePosts < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def up
    create_table :posts do |t|
      t.column :title_translations, 'jsonb' # or 'json' for MySQL
      t.column :body_translations,  'jsonb'
  def down
    drop_table :posts

I18n fallbacks for missing translations

It is possible to enable fallbacks for missing translations. It will depend on the configuration setting you have set for I18n translations in your Rails config.

You can enable them by adding the next line to config/application.rb (or only config/environments/production.rb if you only want them in production)

config.i18n.fallbacks = true

Sven Fuchs wrote a detailed explanation of the fallback mechanism.

Temporarily disable fallbacks

If you've enabled fallbacks for missing translations, you probably want to disable them in the admin interface to display which translations the user still has to fill in.


I18n.locale = :en
post.title # => This database rocks!
post.title_nl # => This database rocks!


I18n.locale = :en
post.title # => This database rocks!
post.title_nl # => nil

You can also call your code into a block that temporarily disable or enable fallbacks.

I18n.locale = :en
post.title_nl # => This database rocks!

post.disable_fallback do
  post.title_nl # => nil

post.enable_fallback do
  post.title_nl # => This database rocks!