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Internationalization of a Timber theme works pretty much the same way as it does for default WordPress themes. Follow the guide in the WordPress Theme Handbook to setup i18n for your theme.

Twig has its own i18n extension that gives you {% trans %} tags to define translatable blocks, but there’s no need to use it, because with Timber, you have all you need.

Translation functions #

Timber supports all the translation functions used in WordPress:

  • __()
  • _x()
  • _n()
  • _nx()
  • _n_noop()
  • _nx_noop()
  • translate()
  • translate_nooped_plural()

The functions _e() and _ex() are also supported, but you probably won’t need them in Twig, because {{ }} already echoes the output.


<p class="entry-meta"><?php _e( 'Posted on', 'my-text-domain' ) ?> [...]</p>


<p class="entry-meta">{{ __('Posted on', 'my-text-domain') }} [...]</p>

sprintf notation #

You can use sprintf-type placeholders, using the format filter:


<p class="entry-meta"><?php printf( __('Posted on %s', 'my-text-domain'), $posted_on_date ) ?></p>


<p class="entry-meta">{{ __('Posted on %s', 'my-text-domain')|format(posted_on_date) }}</p>

If you want to use the sprintf function in Twig, you have to add it yourself.

Generating localization files #

To generate .pot, .po and .mo files, you need a tool that supports parsing Twig files to detect all your translations. While there are a lot of tools that can parse PHP files, the solution that works best for Twig files is Poedit.

Generating l10n files with Poedit 2 #

Poedit 2 fully supports Twig file parsing (Pro version only) with the following functions: __(), _x(), _n(), _nx().

Generating l10n files with Poedit 1.x #

Internationalization functions in Twig files are not automatically parsed by gettext in Poedit 1.x. The are multiple workarounds listed below.

Note however that the first two methods may miss some strings. Quotes can cause gettext to skip over __ calls. Here’s an example for a string in an HTML attribute that won’t be recognized:

<nav aria-label="{{ __('Main menu', 'my-textdomain') }}" />

As a workaround, you could assign the translation to a variable, which you can then use in the attribute.

{% set nav_aria_label = __('Main Menu', 'my-text-domain') %}
<nav aria-label="{{ nav_aria_label }}">

Let gettext parse Twig files as PHP files #

The quick and dirty workaround is to start each Twig file with {#<?php#}. By doing this, gettext will interpret whatever comes next as PHP, and start looking for __.

Use a custom Python parser #

Alternatively, you can use a custom parser for Python instead. This will throw a warning or two, but most of your strings are extracted! ("Most" because this method has the same problems with quotes as the PHP workaround above.) To add the parser, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Poedit project for your theme if you haven't already, and make sure to add __ on the Sources keywords tab.
  2. Go to Edit > Preferences.
  3. On the Parsers tab, add a new parser with these settings:
    • Language: Timber
    • List of extensions: *.twig
    • Parser command: xgettext --language=Python --add-comments=TRANSLATORS --force-po -o %o %C %K %F
    • An item in keyword list: -k%k
    • An item in input files list: %f
    • Source code charset: --from-code=%c
  4. Save and Update!

Use Twig Gettext Extractor #

Another solution is Twig Gettext Extractor, a special Twig parser for Poedit. The linked page contains instructions on how to set it up.

Use a gulp script #

You can use a gulp script to generate POT files instead of using Poedit. The script will convert gettext functions in Twig into PHP tags and save each file as a PHP file in a cache folder. It will then iterate over these cached files (including other PHP files in your project) and generate a POT file. This approach will also consider strings in HTML attributes.

You can find installation instructions in the comments of the gulpfile in the linked gist. Basic understanding of NPM is required.