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a jQuery plugin that makes it easy to internationalize your web site.
JavaScript CoffeeScript HTML CSS
Branch: master


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A jQuery plugin that makes it easy to i18n your static web site.


  • Lazily loads JSON translation files based on a simple naming convention.
  • By default, applies the translations to your document based on simple attribute convention.
  • Tested with jQuery versions 1.7.2, 1.8.3, 1.9.1, 1.10.2, 1.11.0, 2.0.3, 2.1.0

Getting Started

Download the production version or the development version.

Load the jquery-localize plugin on your page.

It's the file located at dist/jquery.localize.js

Mark up tags whose content you want to be translated

Somewhere in your html:

<h1 data-localize="greeting"> Hello! </h1>

Provide a JSON language file that has translations:


  "greeting": "Bonjour!"

Use the localize plugin.

// In a browser where the language is set to French

// You can also override the language detection, and pass in a language code
$("[data-localize]").localize("example", { language: "fr" })

Gory Details

Language file loading

The first argument of the localize method is the name of the language pack. You might have a different language pack for different parts of your website.

Here's an example of loading several language packs:


If the language of the browser were set to "fr", then the plugin would try to load:

  • header-fr.json
  • sidebar-fr.json
  • footer-fr.json

if the language of the browser also had a country code, like "fr-FR", then the plugin would ALSO try to load:

  • header-fr-FR.json
  • sidebar-fr-FR.json
  • footer-fr-FR.json

This let's you define partial language refinements for different regions. For instance, you can have the base language translation file for a language that translates 100 different phrases, and for countries were maybe a some of those phrases would be out of place, you can just provide a country-specific file with just those special phrases defined.

Skipping Languages (aka Optimizing for My Language)

This is useful if you've got a default language. For example, if all of your content is served in english, then you probably don't want the overhead of loading up unecessary (and probably non-existant) english langauge packs (foo-en.json)

You can tell the localize plugin to always skip certain languages using the skipLanguage option:

//using a string will skip ONLY if the language code matches exactly
//this would prevent loading only if the language was "en-US"
$("[data-localize]").localize("example", { skipLanguage: "en-US" })

//using a regex will skip if the regex matches
//this would prevent loading of any english language translations
$("[data-localize]").localize("example", { skipLanguage: /^en/ })

//using an array of strings will skip if any of the strings matches exactly
$("[data-localize]").localize("example", { skipLanguage: ["en", "en-US"] })

Applying the language file

If you rely on the default callback and use the "data-localize" attribute then the changes will be applied for you.



<p data-localize="title">Tracker Pro XT Deluxe</p>
<p data-localize="search.placeholder">Search...</p>
<p data-localize="search.button">Go!</p>
<p data-localize="footer.disclaimer">Use at your own risk.</p>
<p data-localize="menu.dashboard">Dashboard</p>
<p data-localize="menu.list">Bug List</p>
<p data-localize="menu.logout">Logout</p>

application-es.json (fake spanish)

  "title": "Tracker Pro XT Deluxo",
  "search": {
    "placeholder": "Searcho...",
    "button": "Vamos!"
  "footer": {
    "disclaimer": "Bewaro."
  "menu": {
    "dashboard": "Dashboardo",
    "list": "Bug Listo",
    "logout": "Exito"

Localize it!

$("[data-localize]").localize("application", { language: "es" });


You can provide a callback if you want to augment or replace the default callback provided by the plugin. Your callback should take at least 1 argument: the language data (contents of your json file). It can optionally accept a second argument, which is a reference to the default callback function. This is handy if you still want the default behavior, but also need to do something else with the language data.

$("[data-localize]").localize("application", {
    language: "es",
    callback: function(data, defaultCallback){
        data.title = data.title + currentBugName();

See the test/samples for working examples.


To contribute to this plugin, please read the contributing guidelines.

Credits & Licensing

Copyright (c) Jim Garvin (, 2008.

Dual licensed under the GPL ( and MIT ( licenses.

Written by Jim Garvin (@coderifous) for use on Please use it, and contribute changes.

Based off of Keith Wood's Localisation jQuery plugin.

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