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Lektor i18n plugin

This plugin enables a smarter way to translate a Lektor static website using old-good PO files. So you can use your beloved translation processes and tools.


The idea of this plugin is to capture the sentences or paragraphs from your content and templates, and populate a standard Gettext PO file. Using usual tools, user can translate these files, very easily. Then the plugin will merge the translations into new alternative content files, providing a translated website.


Configuration file


content = en
translations = fr,es,it
i18npath = i18n
translate_paragraphwise = False

Where :

  • content is the language used to write files (default is en)
  • translations is the list of target languages (you want to translate into).
  • i18npath is the directory where translation files will be produced/stored (default is i18n). This directory needs to be relative to root path.
  • translate_paragraphwise specifies whether translation strings are created per line or per paragraph. The latter is helpful for documents wrapping texts at 80 character boundaries. It is set to False by default.


If you plan to localise your templates as well, you can use {{ _("some string") }} in your templates. To make this work, pybabel should be installed (pip install pybabel; maybe pip3). A babel.cfg also has to exist in your project root with this content:

[jinja2: **/templates/**.html]
encoding = utf-8

Translatable fields

In order for a field to be marked as translatable, an option has to be set in the field definition. Both blocks and flowblocks fields are subjects to translations.

in flowblocks/*.ini and/or models/*.ini, mark a field as translatable with :

name = Page
label = {{ this.title }}

label = Title
type = string
translate = True

label = Body
type = markdown
translate = True

Both title and body are now translatable. It means that during the parsing phase, all sentences from title or body fields from the files with Page model will populate the collected PO file.

Another flowblock example:

name = Section Block
button_label = Section

label = Title
type = string
translate = True

label = Body
type = markdown
translate = True

label = Image
type = select
source = record.attachments.images

label = Image Position
type = select
choices = left, right
choice_labels = Left, Right
default = right

Here again, body and title will be translated. But image and image_position won't.

Non-english content

Thanx to a limitation of msginit it's not so easy to translate a website with default language set to anything but english.

So if your default content language is not english, you will have to edit the first contents-en.po file and remove the translations (by hand ?)...




This plugin has been tested with Lektor 3..0.x.


Both Gettext and Pybabel are required. For a Debian/Ubuntu system, this means a simple :

sudo apt-get install gettext python3-babel

On macOS, use a decent package manager, like MacPorts or Homebrew. With Homebrew:

brew install gettext

and then pip to fetch pybabel:

pip install babel


Very straightforward :

$ lektor plugins add lektor-i18n

Verify installation with a simple :

$ lektor plugins list
lektor-i18n (version 0.1)


The translation mechanism is hooked into the build system. So translating a website just means building the website.

$ lektor build

On first call, a new i18n directory (can be changed in configuration file) will be created on top the lektor tree.

This directory will be populated with a single contents.pot file, compiling all the sentences found by the plugin. The list of fields eligible to translation is configured in the models/flows definition with translate=True added to each field.

For each translation language (still from the configuration file), a content-<language>.po file will be created/updated. These are the files that need to be translated with your prefered tool (like POEdit or Transifex).

All translation files (contents-*.po) are then compiled and merged with the original files to produce all the contents-<language>.lr files in their respective directories.

Due to the way Lektor building system is designed, all these steps happen on every build. This means that sometime, after translating the contents-*.po files, it might be required to run the build system twice to see the translation appear in the final HTML files.

Project file

It's still the user responsability to modify the project file in order to include the expected languages :

name = English
primary = yes
locale = en_US

name = French
url_prefix = /fr/
locale = fr

See Lektor Documentation for more information.


This plugin is provided as-is by NumeriCube a human-sized Paris-based company prodiving tailored services to smart customers.

We will be happy to try to help you with this plugin if need. Just file an issue on our GitHub account.


A plugin for using GetText .PO files to translate Lektor sites content




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