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I18n tool to translate your Ruby application.
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R18n is a i18n tool to translate your Ruby application in several languages.

Use merb_r18n to localize Merb Web application and r18n-desktop to localize desktop application.


  • It has special support for countries with two official languages. If there isn’t translation in user locale, it will be found in locales, which user may know (not only in default locale). For example, many people in Belarus can understand Russian, and locale has information about it.

  • It can format numbers and time to the rules of the user locale, translate month and week days name and give other locale information.

  • It has translation for commons words, like “OK”, “Cancel”, etc.

  • It storage translation in rich YAML format. You can put procedures and pluralization (“1 comment”, “5 comments”) in your translation.

  • It can translate Web and desktop applications.



All supported locales are storage in R18n gem at locales dir. If you want to add your locale, please write me to

To get information about locale create R18n::Locale instance:

locale = R18n::Locale.load('en')

You can get from locale:

  • Locale title and RFC 3066 code:

    locale['title'] #=> "English"
    locale['code'] #=> "en"
  • Language direction (left to right, or right to left for Arabic and Hebrew):

    locale['direction'] #=> "ltr"
  • Week start day (“sunday” or “monday”)

    locale['week']['start'] #=> "sunday"


Translation files use YAML format and has name like en.yml (English) or en_US.yml (USA English dialect) with language/country code (RFC 3066).

In translation you can use:

  • Strings

    robot: This is robot
    percent: "Percent sign (%)"
  • Numbers

    number: 123
    float: 12.45
  • Pluralizable messages

    robots: !!pl
      0: No robots
      1: One robot
      n: %1 robots
  • Procedures

    sum: !!proc |x, y| x + y

To get translated string use method with key name or square brackets [] for keys, which is same with Object methods (class, inspect, etc):

i18n.robot    #=> "This is robot"
i18n["robot"] #=> "This is robot"

Translation may be hierarchical:       #=> "Add post"
i18n['post']['add'] #=> "Add post"

If locale willn’t be found in user locale R18n will search it in they sublocales or in another locale, which user know: #=> "В английском нет"

Translated string has locale method and you can get it locale (Locale instance or code string if locale is’t supported in R18n): #=> Locale ru (Русский)

You can replace some parameters in translated string by put it as arguments:

name: "My name is %1"'John') #=> "My name is John"

Pluralizable messages get item count from first argument:

i18n.robots(0)  #=> "No robots"
i18n.robots(1)  #=> "One robot"
i18n.robots(50) #=> "50 robots"

If there isn’t pluralization for some number, translation will be use 'n'. If there isn’t locale file for translation, it will be use English pluralization rule (0, 1 and 'n').

R18n already has translation for common words for most supported locales. See base/ in dir in gem.

i18n.yes    #=> "Yes"
i18n.cancel #=> "Cancel"
i18n.delete #=> "Delete"


You can print number and float according to the rules of the user locale:

i18n.l -12000.5 #=> "−12,000.5"

Number and float formatters will also put real typographic minus and put non-break thin spaces (for locale, which use it as digit separator).

You can translate months and week days names in Time, Date and DateTime by strftime method:

i18n.l, "%B"  #=> "September"

R18n has some time formats for locales: :month, :time, :date, :short_data, :long_data, :datetime, :short_datetime and :long_datetime:

i18n.l, :date #=> "09/21/2008"

By default strftime will be use :datetime format for Time and DateTime and :date for Date:

i18n.l        #=> "Sun Sep 21 19:50:04 GMT 2008"


R18n is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3. You can read it in LICENSE file or in


Andrey “A.I.” Sitnik <>

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