Localization (i18n)

The :i18n extension provides a way to localize your site. Activate it in your config.rb:

activate :i18n

By default this will search the locales folder in the root of your project for YAML files representing each locale you want to support. The YAML file is a set of keys and values for each string you need to localize in your site. The keys, which is how you will refer to these strings in your templates, must be the same in each locale, but the values will change. Here are two example YAML files.


  hello: "Hello"


  hello: "Hola"

Localizable templates live in the source/localizable folder by default (see below on how to change this option). Each template in that folder will have access to the I18n helper. Using this helper, you can refer to keys from your YAML files and inject the language-specific values into your template. Here's a simple source/localizable/hello_world.html.erb template:

    <%= I18n.t(:hello) %> World

This would output two files:

You can use t as a shortcut for I18n.t in your templates:

    <%= t(:hello) %> World

Localized Paths

Each individual language is accessible in its own namespaced path. By default, the first language lives at the root of the site (see below to change this option). The default path is to simply use the language name (the name of the YAML file) in the path:


You can change this with the :path option, but remember: the URL will always include the name of the YAML file:

activate :i18n, :path => "/langs/:locale/"

Now the paths would be:


If you are unhappy using the YAML file names as part of your path, you can remap them to different values.

activate :i18n, :path => "/langs/:locale/",
  :lang_map => { :en => :english, :es => :spanish, :fr => :french }

Now the paths would be:


Localizing Paths

In some cases you may want to localize the name of the file in addition to its contents. You can use the special paths key in your language YAML files to rename URLs to be language-specific.

Let's say we have a file source/localizable/hello.html.erb. By default, this will output as:


If we want to rename that file to hola.html for Spanish only, we can use the paths key in locales/es.yml:

  hello: "Hola"
    hello: "hola"

Now, the files would be output as:


Localizable Templates

By default, the contents of source/localizable will be built in multiple languages while the rest of your templates will continue to work normally. The name of this folder can be changed with the :templates_dir option:

# Look in `source/language_specific` instead
activate :i18n, :templates_dir => "language_specific"

Manually specifying languages

If you'd prefer specify a list of supported languages rather than automatically discovering files in locales/, you can use the :langs option:

activate :i18n, :langs => [:en] # Ignore all languages except :en

Default (Root) Language

By default, the first language (either specified by :langs or discovered in your locales/ folder) will be the "default" language and will be mounted at the root of your site. Given our two languages, files localized to :en will be at the root:

You can change the default or disable mounting a specific language at the root entirely using the :mount_at_root option:

activate :i18n, :mount_at_root => :es # Mount spanish at root instead
# or
activate :i18n, :mount_at_root => false # All languages will be prefixed

Localizing Entire Templates

It can be inefficient to put translations of large blocks of text into the locale YAML files. To help with this, Middleman offers a way to localize entire templates. For example, if you had index.html, you could create two templates, index.en.html.erb and index.es.html.erb. When the site is built, you'll get:

build/index.html is English
build/es/index.html is Spanish

To use this localization method, be sure to put your files inside the localizable folder.