Hugo supports multiple languages side-by-side (added in Hugo 0.17). Define the available languages in a Languages section in your top-level config.toml (or equivalent).


DefaultContentLanguage = "en"
copyright = "Everything is mine"

help  = "Help"

title = "My blog"
weight = 1
linkedin = "english-link"

copyright = "Tout est à moi"
title = "Mon blog"
weight = 2
linkedin = "lien-francais"
help  = "Aide"

Anything not defined in a [Languages] block will fall back to the global value for that key (like copyright for the English (en) language in this example).

With the config above, all content, sitemap, RSS feeds, paginations and taxonomy pages will be rendered below / in English (your default content language), and below /fr in French.

When working with params in frontmatter pages, omit the params in the key for the translation.

If you want all of the languages to be put below their respective language code, enable defaultContentLanguageInSubdir: true in your configuration.

Only the obvious non-global options can be overridden per language. Examples of global options are BaseURL, BuildDrafts, etc.

Taxonomies and Blackfriday configuration can also be set per language, example:

tag = "tags"

angledQuotes = true
hrefTargetBlank = true

weight = 1
title = "English"
angledQuotes = false

weight = 2
title = "Français"
plaque = "plaques"

Translating your content

Translated articles are identified by the name of the content file.

Example of translated articles:

  1. /content/
  2. /content/

You can also have:

  1. /content/
  2. /content/

In which case the config variable defaultContentLanguage will be used to affect the default language This way, you can slowly start to translate your current content without having to rename everything.

If left unspecified, the value for defaultContentLanguage defaults to en.

By having the same base file name, the content pieces are linked together as translated pieces.

If you need distinct URLs per language you can set the slug in the non-default language file. Just define the custom slug for the french translation in your /content/ file:

slug: "a-propos"

You will get both /about/ and /a-propos/ URLs in your build, properly linked as translated pieces.

To create a list of links to translated content, use a template similar to this:

{{ if .IsTranslated }}
<h4>{{ i18n "translations" }}</h4>
    {{ range .Translations }}
        <a href="{{ .Permalink }}">{{ .Lang }}: {{ .Title }}{{ if .IsPage }} ({{ i18n "wordCount" . }}){{ end }}</a>
    {{ end}}
{{ end }}

The above can be put in a partial and included in any template, be it for a content page or the home page. It will not print anything if there are no translations for a given page, or if it is – in the case of the home page, section listing etc. – a site with only one language.

The above also uses the i18n func, see Translation of strings.

Translation of strings

Hugo uses go-i18n to support string translations. Follow the link to find tools to manage your translation workflows.

Translations are collected from the themes/[name]/i18n/ folder (built into the theme), as well as translations present in i18n/ at the root of your project. In the i18n, the translations will be merged and take precedence over what is in the theme folder. Language files should be named according to RFC 5646 with names such as en-US.toml, fr.toml, etc.

From within your templates, use the i18n function like this:

{{ i18n "home" }}

This uses a definition like this one in i18n/en-US.toml:

other = "Home"

Often you will want to use to the page variables in the translations strings. To do that, pass on the “.” context when calling i18n:

{{ i18n "wordCount" . }}

This uses a definition like this one in i18n/en-US.toml:

other = "This article has {{ .WordCount }} words."

An example of singular and plural form:

one = "One minute read"
other = "{{.Count}} minutes read"

And then in the template:

{{ i18n "readingTime" .ReadingTime }}

To track down missing translation strings, run Hugo with the --i18n-warnings flag:

 hugo --i18n-warnings | grep i18n

You can define your menus for each language independently. The creation of a menu works analogous to earlier versions of Hugo, except that they have to be defined in their language-specific block in the configuration file:

defaultContentLanguage = "en"

weight = 0
languageName = "English"

url    = "/"
name   = "Home"
weight = 0

weight = 10
languageName = "Deutsch"

url    = "/"
name   = "Startseite"
weight = 0

The rendering of the main navigation works as usual. .Site.Menus will just contain the menu of the current language. Pay attention to the generation of the menu links. absLangURL takes care that you link to the correct locale of your website. Otherwise, both menu entries would link to the English version because it’s the default content language that resides in the root directory.

    {{- $currentPage := . -}}
    {{ range .Site.Menus.main -}}
    <li class="{{ if $currentPage.IsMenuCurrent "main" . }}active{{ end }}">
        <a href="{{ .URL | absLangURL }}">{{ .Name }}</a>
    {{- end }}

Missing translations

If a string does not have a translation for the current language, Hugo will use the value from the default language. If no default value is set, an empty string will be shown.

While translating a Hugo site, it can be handy to have a visual indicator of missing translations. The EnableMissingTranslationPlaceholders config option will flag all untranslated strings with the placeholder [i18n] identifier, where identifier is the id of the missing translation.

Remember: Hugo will generate your website with these placeholders. It might not be suited for production environments.

Multilingual Themes support

To support Multilingual mode in your themes, some considerations must be taken for the URLs in the templates. If there are more than one language, URLs must either come from the built-in .Permalink or .URL, be constructed with relLangURL or absLangURL template funcs – or prefixed with {{.LanguagePrefix }}.

If there are more than one language defined, theLanguagePrefix variable will equal "/en" (or whatever your CurrentLanguage is). If not enabled, it will be an empty string, so it is harmless for single-language sites.