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Doing Internalization in Angular

Posted on:August 1, 2023 at 12:00 AM (3 min read)


Creating applications that can effortlessly transcend language barriers has become imperative in our increasingly globalised world. Internalization, also known as internationalization or i18n, is the process of designing software so that it can be easily adapted to different languages and regions without engineering changes. In this post, we will discuss how to perform internalization in Angular.

Angular, a popular web application framework developed by Google, offers excellent support for internalization. It provides tools and techniques for your applications to cater to various languages and locales.

Let’s dive into the steps of how you can internalize your Angular application:

Step 1: Install Angular’s i18n Library

Firstly, you need to add the i18n library to your Angular project. Navigate to the root directory of your Angular project via the command line and run the following command:

ng add @angular/localize

This command will install the necessary packages required for internalization.

Step 2: Mark Content for translations

Next, you will need to mark the content in your application that needs to be translated. Angular provides a special i18n attribute for this purpose. Here is an example of marking a simple greeting message for translation:

<h1 i18n>Hello, world!</h1>

You can also add descriptions and custom ids to your translations to provide more context:

<h1 i18n="site main greeting|An introduction header for the site">
  Hello, world!

Step 3: Extract i18n messages

Once you’ve marked all the content for translation, you’ll need to extract it into a translation source file. Angular CLI provides a command to perform this operation:

ng xi18n --output-path locale

This command will generate a messages.xlf file in a new locale folder. This file contains all the text in your application that has been marked for translation.

Step 4: Translate the text

Now, it’s time to translate the extracted messages. Open the messages.xlf file and add a element under each element with the translated text. Here’s an example for translating English text to Spanish:

<trans-unit id="site main greeting" datatype="html">
<source>Hello, world!</source>
<target>¡Hola, mundo!</target>

For multiple languages, you should duplicate the messages.xlf file and rename each one to include the locale identifier (e.g., for Spanish).

Step 5: Configure Angular to use translations

Once your translations are ready, you need to instruct Angular to use them. This can be achieved by adjusting the Angular compiler’s configuration.

You can serve your application in a specific locale by using the —configuration option followed by the locale identifier:

ng serve --configuration=es

For production builds, you need to add configurations for each locale in the “production” section of your angular.json file:

  "configurations": {
    "es": {
      "aot": true,
      "outputPath": "dist/my-project/es/",
      "i18nFile": "src/locale/",
      "i18nFormat": "xlf",
      "i18nLocale": "es",
      "i18nMissingTranslation": "error"

Then, you can build your app using:

ng build --configuration=production,es

Step 6: Serve your translated app

With your application built for the desired locale, you can now serve it to your users. Remember that you have separate builds for different languages, so you must serve the right one based on the user’s locale.

And that’s it! By following these steps, you can successfully internationalize your Angular application. Remember, internalization helps you reach a broader audience and improves user experience by providing content that resonates with the user’s language and cultural context. Happy coding!