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Translation toolkit for Python

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README.rst

What is lingua?

Lingua is a package with tools to extract translateable texts from your code, and to check existing translations. It replaces the use of the xgettext command from gettext, or pybabel from Babel.

Message extraction

The simplest way to extract all translateable messages is to point the pot-extract tool at the root of your source tree.

$ pot-create src

This will create a messages.pot file containing all found messages.

Specifying input files

There are three ways to tell lingua which files you want it to scan:

  1. Specify filenames directly on the command line. For example:

    $ pot-create main.py utils.py
    
  2. Specify a directory on the command line. Lingua will recursively scan that directory for all files it knows how to handle.

    $ pot-create src
    
  3. Use the --files-from parameter to point to a file with a list of files to scan. Lines starting with # and empty lines will be ignored.

    $ pot-create --files-from=POTFILES.in
    

You can also use the --directory=PATH parameter to add the given path to the list of directories to check for files. This may sound confusing, but can be useful. For example this command will look for main.py and utils.py in the current directory, and if they are not found there in the ../src directory:

$ pot-create --directory=../src main.py utils.py

Configuration

In its default configuration lingua will use its python extractor for .py files, its XML extractor for .pt and .zpt files and its ZCML extractor for .zcml files. If you use different extensions you setup a configuration file which tells lingua how to process files. This file uses a simple ini-style format.

This minimal configuration tells lingua to use its XML extractor for files with the .html extension:

[extension:.html]
plugin = xml

Use the --config option to point lingua to your configuration file.

$ pot-create -c lingua.cfg src

This also allows you to use Babel extraction plugins available on your system. To prevent naming conflicts you need to prefix the name of a babel plugin with babel-. This file can be used to extract messages fromm JSON files if you have the PyBabel-json package installed:

[extension:.json]
plugin = babel-json

To find out which plugins are available use the -list-plugins option.

$ bin/pot-create --list-plugins
python
xml
zcml

Domain filtering

When working with large systems you may use multiple translation domains in a single source tree. Lingua can support that by filtering messages by domain when scanning sources. To enable domain filtering use the -d option:

$ pot-create -d mydomain src

Lingua will always include messages for which it can not determine the domain. For example, take this Python code:

print(gettext(u'Hello, World'))
print(dgettext('mydomain', u'Bye bye'))

The first hello-message does not specify its domain and will always be included. The second line uses dgettext to explicitly specify the domain. Lingua will use this information when filtering domains.

Specifying keywords

When looking for messages a lingua parser uses a default list of keywords to identify translation calls. You can add extra keywords via the --keyword option. If you have your own mygettext function which takes a string to translate as its first parameter you can use this:

$ pot-create --keyword=mygettext

If your function takes more parameters you will need to tell lingua about them. This can be done in several ways:

  • If the translatable text is not the first parameter you can specify the parameter number with <keyword>:<parameter number>. For example if you use i18n_log(level, msg) the keyword specifier would be i18n_log:2
  • If you support plurals you can specify the parameter used for the plural message by specifying tne parameter number for both the singular and plural text. For example if your function signature is show_result(single, plural) the keyword specifier is show_result:1,2
  • If you use message contexts you can specify the parameter used for the context by adding a c to the parameter number. For example the keyword specifier for pgettext is pgettext:1c,2.
  • If your function takes the domain as a parameter you can specify which parameter is used for the domain by adding a d to the parameter number. For example the keyword specier for dgettext is dgettext:1d,2. This is a lingua-specified extension.
  • You can specify the exact number of parameters a function call must have using the t postfix. For example if a funtion must have four parameters to be a valid call, the specifier could be myfunc:1,5t.

Babel plugin support

There are several packages with plugins for Babel's message extraction tool. Lingua can use those plugins as well. The plugin names will be prefixed with babel- to distinguish them from lingua extractors.

Comparison to other tools

Differences compared to GNU gettext:

  • Support for file formats such as Zope Page Templates (popular in Pyramid, Chameleon, Plone and Zope).
  • Better support for detecting format strings used in Python.
  • No direct support for C, C++, Perl, and many other languages. Lingua focues on languages commonly used in Python projects, although support for other langauges can be added via plugins.

Differences compared to Babel:

  • More reliable detection of Python format strings.
  • Lingua includes plural support.
  • Support for only extracting texts for a given translation domain. This is often useful for extensible software where you use multiple translation domains in a single application.

Validating translations

Lingua includes a simple polint tool which performs a few basic checks on PO files. Currently implemented tests are:

  • duplicated message ids (can also be checked with GNU gettext's msgfmt). These should never happen and are usually a result of a bug in the message extraction logic.
  • identical translations used for multiple canonical texts. This can happen for valid reasons, for example when the original text is not spelled consistently.

To check a po file simply run polint with the po file as argument:

$ polint nl.po

Translation:
    ${val} ist keine Zeichenkette
Used for 2 canonical texts:
1       ${val} is not a string
2       "${val}" is not a string
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