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Version: 3.2.1

i18n - Using git

A possible translation strategy is to version control the translation files with Git (or any other VCS).


This strategy has advantages:

  • Easy to get started: just commit the i18n folder to Git
  • Easy for developers: Git, GitHub and pull requests are mainstream developer tools
  • Free (or without any additional cost, assuming you already use Git)
  • Low friction: does not require signing up to an external tool
  • Rewarding: contributors are happy to have a nice contribution history

Using Git also present some shortcomings:

  • Hard for non-developers: they do not master Git and pull-requests
  • Hard for professional translators: they are used to SaaS translation software and advanced features
  • Hard to maintain: you have to keep the translated files in sync with the untranslated files

Some large-scale technical projects (React, Vue.js, MDN, TypeScript, Nuxt.js, etc.) use Git for translations.

Refer to the Docusaurus i18n RFC for our notes and links studying these systems.


This is a walk-through of using Git to translate a newly initialized English Docusaurus website into French, and assume you already followed the i18n tutorial.

Prepare the Docusaurus site

Initialize a new Docusaurus site:

npx create-docusaurus@latest website classic

Add the site configuration for the French language:

export default {
i18n: {
defaultLocale: 'en',
locales: ['en', 'fr'],
themeConfig: {
navbar: {
items: [
// ...
type: 'localeDropdown',
position: 'left',
// ...
// ...

Translate the homepage:

import React from 'react';
import Translate from '@docusaurus/Translate';
import Layout from '@theme/Layout';

export default function Home() {
return (
<h1 style={{margin: 20}}>
<Translate description="The homepage main heading">
Welcome to my Docusaurus translated site!

Initialize the i18n folder

Use the write-translations CLI command to initialize the JSON translation files for the French locale:

npm run write-translations -- --locale fr

1 translations written at i18n/fr/code.json
11 translations written at i18n/fr/docusaurus-theme-classic/footer.json
4 translations written at i18n/fr/docusaurus-theme-classic/navbar.json
3 translations written at i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-docs/current.json

Use the --messagePrefix '(fr) ' option to make the untranslated strings stand out.

Hello will appear as (fr) Hello and makes it clear a translation is missing.

Copy your untranslated Markdown files to the French folder:

mkdir -p i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-docs/current
cp -r docs/** i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-docs/current

mkdir -p i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-blog
cp -r blog/** i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-blog

mkdir -p i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-pages
cp -r src/pages/**.md i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-pages
cp -r src/pages/**.mdx i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-pages

Add all these files to Git.

Translate the files

Translate the Markdown and JSON files in i18n/fr and commit the translation.

You should now be able to start your site in French and see the translations:

npm run start -- --locale fr

You can also build the site locally or on your CI:

npm run build
# or
npm run build -- --locale fr


Follow the same process for each locale you need to support.


Keeping translated files consistent with the originals can be challenging, in particular for Markdown documents.

Markdown translations

When an untranslated Markdown document is edited, it is your responsibility to maintain the respective translated files, and we unfortunately don't have a good way to help you do so.

To keep your translated sites consistent, when the website/docs/ doc is edited, you need backport these edits to i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-docs/current/

JSON translations

To help you maintain the JSON translation files, it is possible to run again the write-translations CLI command:

npm run write-translations -- --locale fr

New translations will be appended, and existing ones will not be overridden.


Reset your translations with the --override option.

Localize edit URLs

When the user is browsing a page at /fr/doc1, the edit button will link by default to the unlocalized doc at website/docs/

Your translations are on Git, and you can use the editLocalizedFiles: true option of the docs and blog plugins.

The edit button will link to the localized doc at i18n/fr/docusaurus-plugin-content-docs/current/