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Jekyll Multiple Languages Plugin

Jekyll Multiple Languages Plugin

Jekyll Multiple Languages is an internationalization plugin for Jekyll. It compiles your Jekyll site for one or more languages with a similar approach as Rails does. The different sites will be stored in subfolders with the same name as the language it contains.

The plugin was developed as a utility at Daresay


Build Status Gem Version

!! We are looking for more maintainers !!

Are you using this plugin? Could you test and verify incoming PRs? Please give us a shout!

Table of Contents

1. Current Release Notice

1.6.0 is the current stable release.

The support for Octopress is dropped, but the plugin should still work with it since Octopress core is Jekyll. Octopress 3 now has its own multi languages plugin:

2. Features

  • Supports multiple languages with the same code base.
  • Supports all template languages that your Liquid pipeline supports.
  • Uses Liquid tags in your HTML for including translated strings.
  • Compiles the site multiple times for all supported languages into separate subfolders.
  • Works with the --watch flag turned on and will rebuild all languages automatically.
  • Contains an example website, thanks to @davrandom
  • Supports translated keys in YAML format
  • Supports translated template files
  • Supports translated links

3. Installation

3.1. Using the gem

This plugin is available as a Ruby gem,

Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'jekyll-multiple-languages-plugin'

And then execute: $ bundle install

Or install it yourself as: $ gem install jekyll-multiple-languages-plugin

To activate the plugin add it to the Jekyll _config.yml file, under the plugins option:

  - jekyll-multiple-languages-plugin

See the Jekyll configuration documentation for details.

3.2. Manually

  1. Download the repository with Git or your preferred method.
  2. Inside your Jekyll _plugins folder, create a new folder called jekyll-multiple-languages-plugin.
  3. Copy or link the directory lib, that is inside the downloaded repository, into your _plugins/jekyll-multiple-languages-plugin folder of your Jekyll project.

3.3. As a Git Submodule

If your Jekyll project is in a git repository, you can easily manage your plugins by utilizing git submodules.

To install this plugin as a git submodule:

$ git submodule add git:// _plugins/multiple-languages

To update:

$ cd _plugins/multiple-languages
$ git pull origin master

4. Configuration

4.1. _config.yml

Add the languages available in your website into your _config.yml (obligatory):

languages: ["sv", "en", "de", "fr"]

The first language in the array will be the default language, English, German and French will be added into separate subfolders.

To avoid redundancy, it is possible to exclude files and folders from being copied to the localization folders.

exclude_from_localizations: ["javascript", "images", "css"]

In code, these specific files should be referenced via baseurl_root. E.g.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="{{ "/css/bootstrap.css" | prepend: site.baseurl_root }}"/>

If you wish to avoid having the default_lang built into the root of your website, use:

default_locale_in_subfolder: true

4.2. Folder structure

Create a folder called _i18n and add sub-folders for each language, using the same names used on the languages setting on the _config.yml:

  • /_i18n/sv.yml
  • /_i18n/en.yml
  • /_i18n/de.yml
  • /_i18n/fr.yml
  • /_i18n/sv/pagename/
  • /_i18n/en/pagename/
  • /_i18n/de/pagename/
  • /_i18n/fr/pagename/

5. Usage

5.1. Translating strings

To add a translated string into your web page, use one of these liquid tags:

{% t key %}
{% translate key %}

This will pick the correct string from the language.yml file during compilation.

The language.yml files are written in YAML syntax which caters for a simple grouping of strings.

  swedish: Svenska
  english: English
  home: Home
  work: Work

To access the english key, use one of these tags:

{% t global.english %}
{% translate global.english %}

You can also access translated strings by accessing the site.translations hash, this allows you to loop through your translations within Liquid using the translated string's index:

{% for item in site.translations[site.lang].my_nested_yaml_collection %}
    <p>{{ item[0] }} -> {{ item[1] }}</p>
{% endfor %}

or the translated string's assignment:

    title: First
    message: Message
    title: Second
    message: Message
{% for item in site.translations[site.lang].my_nested_yaml_collection %}
      <h2>{{ item["title"] }}</h2>
      <p>{{ item["message"] }}</p>
{% endfor %}

5.2. Including translated files

The plugin also supports using different markdown files for different languages using the liquid tag:

{% tf pagename/ %}
{% translate_file pagename/ %}

This plugin has exactly the same support and syntax as the Jekyll's built in liquid tag:

{% include file %}

so plugins that extend its functionality should be picked up by this plugin as well.

5.3. Permalinks and Translating Links

To use localized pages with permalinks, you must provide a default permalink and the language specific permalinks, for example, permalink_fr for French.

To translate links, you must also add a unique namespace on the YAML front matter along with the permalinks.


layout:         default

namespace:     team

permalink:      /team/
permalink_fr:   /equipe/

And then you can use the translate link liquid tag like this:

<a href="{% tl team %}"> <!--This link will return /team if we are in the English version of the website and /fr/equipe if it's the French version</a>-->

<a href="{% tl team fr %}"> <!--This link will always return /fr/equipe</a>-->

or the longer version:

<a href="{% translate_link team %}"> <!--This link will return /team if we are in the English version of the website and /fr/equipe if it's the french version</a>-->

<a href="{% translate_link team fr %}"> <!--This link will always return /fr/equipe</a>-->

5.4. i18n in templates

Sometimes it is convenient to add keys even in template files. This works in the exact same way as in ordinary files, however sometimes it can be useful to include a different string in different pages even if they use the same template.

A perfect example is this:

    <title>{% t page.title %}</title>

So how can I add different translated titles to all pages? Don't worry, it's easy. The Multiple Languages plugin supports Liquid variables, as well as strings so, define a page variable in your page definition

layout: default
title: titles.home

and <title>{% t page.title %}</title> will pick up the titles.home key from language.yml

  home: "Home"

5.5. Link between languages

This plugin gives you the variables

{{ site.lang }}


{{ site.baseurl_root }}

to play with in your template files.

This allows you to create solutions like this:

{% if site.lang == "sv" %}
  {% capture link1 %}{{ site.baseurl_root }}/en{{ page.url}}{% endcapture %}
  <a href="{{ link1 }}" >{% t global.english %}</a>
{% elsif site.lang == "en" %}
  {% capture link2 %}{{ site.baseurl_root }}{{ page.url  }}{% endcapture %}
  <a href="{{ link2 }}" >{% t global.swedish %}</a>
{% endif %}

This snippet will create a link that will toggle between Swedish and English. A more detailed description of the variables used follows:

Name Value Example
site.lang The language used in the current compilation stage en
site.baseurl Points to the root of the site including the current language
site.baseurl_root Points to the root of the page without the language path
page.url The current page's relative URL to the baseurl /a/sub/folder/page/

5.6. Creating pages

Depending on the theme, or your preferences, you need to create a "template" page in the root folder or in a folder (ex. _pages). Inside each page (in this example an you should have at least the following in the header and body:

layout: page
title: About
permalink: /about/

{% translate_file about/ %}

Inside each of the language folders, you should create mirror pages to provide the actual content for that language (ex. i18n/es/about/ Make sure to erase the headers from those md files, or else your site will break.

5.7. Creating posts

There are no global posts. The posts are localized by language. And your posts will live in the _i18n/[lang]/_posts directory. So if, for example, you have English language on your website you should put your posts on _i18n/en/_posts directory.

5.8. Select pages to translations

Sometimes you want to generate only selected versions of the page, especially excluding default language. You can do this using languages tag.


permalink:      /team/
permalink_fr:   /equipe/

languages: ["fr"]

This generate only french version of the page.

6. License

This project is available under the MIT License.

7. Example website

This repository has an example website where you can test the plugin. After downloading the repository, get into the example directory and run: bundle install to install the newest version of Jekyll (edit the Gemfile to install another version) and all other dependencies.

Then run bundle exec jekyll serve to start the Jekyll server. Using your web browser, access the address http://localhost:4000.

7.1. Adding a new language

Imagine you want to add German pages on the test website. First, add a new language to the list of languages on _config.yml:

languages: ["it", "en", "es", "de"]

Create a new folder for the language under the _i18n folder and add a markdown file containing the translation, just like on the other language folders, and you're done.

7.2. Adding new page

Let's say you want to create an about page for the example website, you will create an about.html page on the root of the website (same place as index.html), with this:

layout: page
title: About
permalink: /about/

{% translate_file about/ %}

Then, create a file named under _i18n/en with the English content. Repeat this for the other languages (_i18n/es/ ...). When running the website, visit the address http://localhost:4000/about to see the English version, http://localhost:4000/es/about for the Spanish one, etc.

8. Changelog

  • 1.8.0
    • I18n for site and Front Matter configurations @pgoltsev
  • 1.7.0
    • Option to build the default language into a subfolder
    • Configurable verbosity
    • Improved documentation
    • Removed deprecation warning
  • 1.6.1
    • Improved testing
    • Support for Jekyll 4
    • Russian examples
    • Translations rebuilt every time page is reloaded in developer mode
  • 1.6.0
    • fix: check if static_file_r_path is set
    • Missing slash before lang prefix in lang picker example
    • Updated with _posts directory
    • Build translations in pre_render hook
    • If include not found, fall back to default language
  • 1.5.1
    • Fix a bug (#70) where site.static_files would be empty on subsites if exclude_from_localizations is used.
    • Some overall project enhancements and minor fixes.
    • A simple Rake task is available to test the plugin, CI services now have something to run.
  • 1.5.0
    • Enables Liquid expansions within Liquid Tags.
    • The example website post language switchers were rewritten in an algorithmic way.
  • 1.4.2
    • Exposes the site.translations hash containing the translated strings to Liquid.
  • 1.4.1
    • Fixes a bug during site regeneration where translation paths were being nested based on wrongly set Jekyll variables.
  • 1.4.0
    • Support for Jekyll 3, thanks to @pedrocarmona
    • How to create pages documentation, thanks to @elotroalex
    • Many bug fixes
    • Code refactoring, cleanup and reorganization
    • Files and folders reorganization
    • Improved and fixed issues on the example website
    • Improvements and fixes on documentations
    • Improved license files
  • 1.3.0
    • Support for localized links and custom permalinks, thanks to @jasonlemay
    • Support for excluding posts from translation, thanks to @ctruelson
  • 1.2.9
    • Bug fix when excluding files from translation, again thanks to @h6
  • 1.2.8
    • Support for excluding files from translation, thanks to @h6
  • 1.2.7
    • Support for Jekyll 2.5+, thanks to @caxy4
  • 1.2.6
    • Added fallback to default language, thanks to @agramian
  • 1.2.5
    • Fixed a bug when global variables weren't as global as expected
  • 1.2.4
    • Fixed a bug when changes in .yml files got lost during live reload.
  • 1.2.3
    • Much, much, much faster compilation when lots of translated strings.
  • 1.2.2
    • Supports translated posts in Octopress
  • 1.2.1
    • Supports writing translated posts in Jekyll
    • Supports translated .yml files in Octopress
  • 1.2.0
    • Renamed the project to jekyll-multiple-languages-plugin
  • 1.1.2
    • Support for both variables and strings in translate_file
  • 1.1.1
    • Fixed documentation
  • 1.1.0
    • Pull request that removed dirty forward slash from URLs
  • 1.0.0
    • First release

9. Contributing

  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create a new Pull Request


User Contribution
@pgoltsev version 1.8.0
@pedrocarmona support for Jekyll 3
@elotroalex added a how to create page to README
@mohamnag permalink generation bug fix
@jasonlemay support for localized links
@ctruelson support for excluding posts
@Bersch better paths
@Davrandom plugin usage example
@agramian fallback to default language
@h6 exclude files from translation
@leoditommaso update the example page

Created by

@kurtsson from Daresay (

Maintained by

Former maintainer

10. Other Language Plugins

Below is a list of other language plugins for Jekyll (2019/06/27):

Seems to be maintained:

Seems to be unmaintained / abandoned:

This plugin will in the future try to merge all pertinent features of all those plugins into it.