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Extra gettext keywords handling in Django

Project description

© 2014-2015 Thomas Khyn

Tested with Django 1.4 to 1.8 and all supported versions of Python.


The django makemessage management command parses the code of an application to generate .pot and .po files, provided the strings to be translated are called by the gettext-like functions (gettext, ugettext, ngettext, ugettext_lazy, etc.) or the _ alias.

However, it is quite common to use other aliases than _, for example for lazy translation, where _l can be used.

Before version 1.7, Django does not provide a way to specify other aliases that may be used for translation strings. This plugin fills this gap, without having to patch the django code itself.

From version 1.7, it is possible to use the xgettext_options in a custom makemessages command. Using this app saves you the hassle of programming a custom command.


As straightforward as it can be, using pip:

pip install django-extra_keywords

Then you will need to add 'extra_keywords' to your INSTALLED_APPS. Note that it does not make any sense to have this application installed in production and that it may only used in a development settings module.


Once installed, you can:

  • either define GETTEXT_EXTRA_KEYWORDS in your settings module as a tuple or list containing the keywords you would like to add:

    GETTEXT_EXTRA_KEYWORDS = ('_l', '_n:1,2')
  • or use it from the command line, using the --extra-keyword option (with no s, to add several keywords you have to repeat the option): makemessages [...] --extra-keyword=_l [...]

Keyword format

When using aliases for one-argument functions (ugettext, ugettext_lazy …), simply use the alias as a keyword. When using aliases for several arguments functions, you need to specify them, according to the following table:

Function type

Keyword format









Example: if _n is an alias for ungettext, the keyword to use in GETTEXT_EXTRA_KEYWORDS or the makemessages command is '_n:1,2'.

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