How to internationalize a Remix application (Part 1)
de

remix localization

Let's talk about internationalization (i18n) for Remix...

When it comes to JavaScript localization, one of the most popular frameworks is i18next and one of the most famous Remix module for i18next is remix-i18next. It was created in October 2021 by Sergio Xalambrí.

There is also a second part of this blog post, that focuses more on a continuous localization workflow.

TOC

So first of all: "Why i18next?"

i18next was created in late 2011. It's older than most of the libraries you will use nowadays, including your main frontend technology (React, Angular, Vue, ...).
➡️ sustainable

Based on how long i18next already is available open source, there is no real i18n case that could not be solved with i18next.
➡️ mature

i18next can be used in any javascript (and a few non-javascript - .net, elm, iOS, android, ruby, ...) environment, with any UI framework, with any i18n format, ... the possibilities are endless.
➡️ extensible

There is a plenty of features and possibilities you'll get with i18next compared to other regular i18n frameworks.
➡️ rich

Here you can find more information about why i18next is special and how it works.

Let's get into it...

Prerequisites

Make sure you have Node.js and npm installed. It's best, if you have some experience with simple HTML, JavaScript and basic React and Remix, before jumping to remix-i18next.

Getting started

Take your own Remix project or use this example app here.

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git clone -b start [email protected]:locize/locize-remix-i18next-example.git
cd locize-remix-i18next-example
npm i
npm run dev

We are going to adapt the app to detect the language according to the user’s preference. And we will create a language switcher to make the content change between different languages.

Let's install some i18next dependencies:

npm install remix-i18next i18next react-i18next i18next-browser-languagedetector i18next-fs-backend i18next-http-backend

Create a i18nextOptions.js file and add the following code:

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export default {
debug: process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production',
fallbackLng: 'en',
supportedLngs: ['en', 'de'],
defaultNS: 'common',
react: { useSuspense: false }
}

And a i18n.server.js file and add the following code:

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import { RemixI18Next } from 'remix-i18next'
import i18nextOptions from './i18nextOptions'
import Backend from 'i18next-fs-backend'
import { resolve } from 'node:path'

export default new RemixI18Next({
detection: {
// This is the list of languages your application supports
supportedLanguages: i18nextOptions.supportedLngs,
// This is the language you want to use in case the user language is not
// listed above
fallbackLanguage: i18nextOptions.fallbackLng,
},
// This is the configuration for i18next used when translating messages server
// side only
i18next: {
backend: { loadPath: resolve('./public/locales/{{lng}}/{{ns}}.json') },
},
// The backend you want to use to load the translations
// Tip: You could pass `resources` to the `i18next` configuration and avoid
// a backend here
backend: Backend,
})

Prepare some folders like this:

Now in your entry.client.jsx adapt the code like this:

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import { hydrate } from 'react-dom'
import { RemixBrowser } from '@remix-run/react'
import i18next from 'i18next'
import { I18nextProvider, initReactI18next } from 'react-i18next'
import LanguageDetector from 'i18next-browser-languagedetector'
import Backend from 'i18next-http-backend'
import { getInitialNamespaces } from 'remix-i18next'
import i18nextOptions from './i18nextOptions'

// initialize i18next using initReactI18next and configuring it
if (!i18next.isInitialized) // prevent i18next to be initialized multiple times
i18next
.use(initReactI18next) // Tell i18next to use the react-i18next plugin
.use(LanguageDetector) // Setup a client-side language detector
.use(Backend) // Setup your backend
.init({
...i18nextOptions,
backend: { loadPath: '/locales/{{lng}}/{{ns}}.json' },
// This function detects the namespaces your routes rendered while SSR use
// and pass them here to load the translations
ns: getInitialNamespaces(),
detection: {
// Here only enable htmlTag detection, we'll detect the language only
// server-side with remix-i18next, by using the `<html lang>` attribute
// we can communicate to the client the language detected server-side
order: ['htmlTag'],
// Because we only use htmlTag, there's no reason to cache the language
// on the browser, so we disable it
caches: [],
}
})
.then(() => {
// then hydrate your app wrapped in the I18nextProvider
return hydrate(
<I18nextProvider i18n={i18next}>
<RemixBrowser />
</I18nextProvider>,
document
)
})

And in your entry.server.jsx adapt the code like this:

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import { renderToString } from 'react-dom/server'
import { RemixServer } from 'remix'
import { createInstance } from 'i18next'
import { I18nextProvider, initReactI18next } from 'react-i18next'
import Backend from 'i18next-fs-backend'
import { resolve } from 'node:path'
import i18nextOptions from './i18nextOptions'
import i18n from './i18n.server'

export default async function handleRequest(
request,
statusCode,
headers,
context
) {
// First, we create a new instance of i18next so every request will have a
// completely unique instance and not share any state
const instance = createInstance()

// Then we could detect locale from the request
const lng = await i18n.getLocale(request)
// And here we detect what namespaces the routes about to render want to use
const ns = i18n.getRouteNamespaces(context)

// First, we create a new instance of i18next so every request will have a
// completely unique instance and not share any state.
await instance
.use(initReactI18next) // Tell our instance to use react-i18next
.use(Backend) // Setup our backend.init({
.init({
...i18nextOptions, // use the same configuration as in your client side.
lng, // The locale we detected above
ns, // The namespaces the routes about to render want to use
backend: {
loadPath: resolve("./public/locales/{{lng}}/{{ns}}.json"),
}
})

// Then you can render your app wrapped in the I18nextProvider as in the
// entry.client file
const markup = renderToString(
<I18nextProvider i18n={instance}>
<RemixServer context={context} url={request.url} />
</I18nextProvider>
);

headers.set("Content-Type", "text/html");

return new Response("<!DOCTYPE html>" + markup, {
status: statusCode,
headers: headers,
})
}

The last important piece is the root.jsx file:

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import {
Links,
LiveReload,
Meta,
Outlet,
Scripts,
ScrollRestoration,
useLoaderData
} from '@remix-run/react'
import { json } from '@remix-run/node'
import { useChangeLanguage } from 'remix-i18next'
import remixI18n from './i18n.server'
import { useTranslation } from 'react-i18next'
import styles from './styles/index.css'

export const loader = async ({ request }) => {
const locale = await remixI18n.getLocale(request)
const t = await remixI18n.getFixedT(request, 'common')
const title = t('headTitle')
return json({ locale, title })
}

export const handle = {
// In the handle export, we could add a i18n key with namespaces our route
// will need to load. This key can be a single string or an array of strings.
i18n: ['common']
};

export function meta({ data }) {
return { title: data.title }
}

export const links = () => {
return [{ rel: 'stylesheet', href: styles }]
}

export default function App() {
const { i18n } = useTranslation()
const { locale } = useLoaderData()

// This hook will change the i18n instance language to the current locale
// detected by the loader, this way, when we do something to change the
// language, this locale will change and i18next will load the correct
// translation files
useChangeLanguage(locale)

return (
<html lang={i18n.language}>
<head>
<meta charSet="utf-8" />
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1" />
<Meta />
<Links />
</head>
<body>
<Outlet />
<ScrollRestoration />
<Scripts />
<LiveReload />
</body>
</html>
)
}

We're ready to start to use the t function.
In your pages files, you can now use react-i18next to access the t function:

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import { useTranslation } from 'react-i18next'

export const handle = {
// In the handle export, we could add a i18n key with namespaces our route
// will need to load. This key can be a single string or an array of strings.
i18n: ['index']
};

export default function Index() {
const { t, ready, i18n } = useTranslation('index')
if (!ready) return <Loading /> // i18next may not be ready when changing route with <Link>

return (
<>
<div>{t('title')}</div>
</>
)
}

Add the keys to your translations, i.e. public/locales/en/index.json:

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{
"title": "Welcome to Remix"
}

You can do this for all your pages and components:

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import { Link, useLoaderData } from '@remix-run/react'
import { json } from '@remix-run/node'
import { useTranslation, withTranslation, Trans } from 'react-i18next'
import { Component } from 'react'
import logo from '../logo.svg'
import styles from '../styles/app.css'
import Loading from '../components/Loading'

export const links = () => {
return [{ rel: 'stylesheet', href: styles }]
}

class LegacyWelcomeClass extends Component {
render() {
const { t } = this.props
return <h2>{t('title')}</h2>
}
}
const Welcome = withTranslation('index')(LegacyWelcomeClass)

// Component using the Trans component
function MyComponent({ t }) {
return (
<Trans t={t} i18nKey="description.part1">
To get started, edit <code>src/App.js</code> and save to reload.
</Trans>
)
}

export const handle = {
// In the handle export, we could add a i18n key with namespaces our route
// will need to load. This key can be a single string or an array of strings.
i18n: ['index']
};

export default function Index() {
const { t, ready, i18n } = useTranslation('index')
if (!ready) return <Loading /> // i18next may not be ready when changing route with <Link>

return (
<div className="App">
<div className="App-header">
<img src={logo} className="App-logo" alt="logo" />
<Welcome />
</div>
<div className="App-intro">
<MyComponent t={t} />
</div>
<div>{t('description.part2')}</div>
<hr />
<div>
<Link to="/second">{t('goto.second')}</Link>
</div>
</div>
)
}

This looks like the normal react-i18next usage.
Due to we're not using Suspense here, just make sure you check the ready flag before calling the t function. The translations will get lazy loaded as soon as you navigate on client side to another page.

We can also translate stuff like the page title.
Since remix-i18next can translate text inside loaders or actions, we can do this for example in our root.jsx:

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import {
Links,
LiveReload,
Meta,
Outlet,
Scripts,
ScrollRestoration,
useLoaderData
} from '@remix-run/react'
import { json } from '@remix-run/node'
import { useChangeLanguage } from 'remix-i18next'
import remixI18n from './i18n.server'
import { useTranslation } from 'react-i18next'
import styles from './styles/index.css'

export const loader = async ({ request }) => {
const locale = await remixI18n.getLocale(request)
const t = await remixI18n.getFixedT(request, 'common')
const title = t('headTitle')
return json({ locale, title })
}

export const handle = {
// In the handle export, we could add a i18n key with namespaces our route
// will need to load. This key can be a single string or an array of strings.
i18n: ['common']
};

export function meta({ data }) {
return { title: data.title }
}

export const links = () => {
return [{ rel: 'stylesheet', href: styles }]
}

export default function App() {
const { i18n } = useTranslation()
const { locale } = useLoaderData()

// This hook will change the i18n instance language to the current locale
// detected by the loader, this way, when we do something to change the
// language, this locale will change and i18next will load the correct
// translation files
useChangeLanguage(locale)

return (
<html lang={i18n.resolvedLanguage}>
<head>
<meta charSet="utf-8" />
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1" />
<Meta />
<Links />
</head>
<body>
<Outlet />
<ScrollRestoration />
<Scripts />
<LiveReload />
</body>
</html>
)
}

Add the keys to your translations, i.e. public/locales/en/common.json:

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{
"headTitle": "New Remix App"
}

Language Switcher

remix-i18next by default will detect the current language in this order:

  • the lng search parameter
  • a cookie (if you pass one)
  • the session (if you pass the sessionStorage)
  • the Accept-Language header
  • the fallback language you configured

We additionally like to offer the possibility to change the language via some sort of language switcher.

So let's add a section in our index.js file:

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import { Link, useLoaderData } from '@remix-run/react'
import { json } from '@remix-run/node'
import { useTranslation, withTranslation, Trans } from 'react-i18next'
import { Component } from 'react'
import logo from '../logo.svg'
import styles from '../styles/app.css'
import Loading from '../components/Loading'

export const loader = async ({ request }) => {
return json({
lngs: {
en: { nativeName: 'English' },
de: { nativeName: 'Deutsch' }
}
})
}

export const handle = {
// In the handle export, we could add a i18n key with namespaces our route
// will need to load. This key can be a single string or an array of strings.
i18n: ['index']
};

export const links = () => {
return [{ rel: 'stylesheet', href: styles }]
}

class LegacyWelcomeClass extends Component {
render() {
const { t } = this.props
return <h2>{t('title')}</h2>
}
}
const Welcome = withTranslation('index')(LegacyWelcomeClass)

// Component using the Trans component
function MyComponent({ t }) {
return (
<Trans t={t} i18nKey="description.part1">
To get started, edit <code>src/App.js</code> and save to reload.
</Trans>
)
}

export default function Index() {
const { lngs } = useLoaderData()
const { t, ready, i18n } = useTranslation('index')
if (!ready) return <Loading /> // i18next may not be ready when changing route with <Link>

return (
<div className="App">
<div className="App-header">
<img src={logo} className="App-logo" alt="logo" />
<Welcome />
</div>
<div className="App-intro">
<div>
{Object.keys(lngs).map((lng) => (
<Link
key={lng}
style={{ marginRight: 5, fontWeight: i18n.resolvedLanguage === lng ? 'bold' : 'normal' }}
to={`/?lng=${lng}`}
>
{lngs[lng].nativeName}
</Link>
))}
</div>
<MyComponent t={t} />
</div>
<div>{t('description.part2')}</div>
<hr />
<div>
<Link to="/second">{t('goto.second')}</Link>
</div>
</div>
)
}

To persist the current locale, we will save it in a cookie. Just create a new cookie.js file:

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import { createCookie } from 'remix'

export let i18nCookie = createCookie('i18n', {
sameSite: 'lax',
path: '/',
})

And use it like this in i18n.server.js:

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import { RemixI18Next } from 'remix-i18next'
import i18nextOptions from './i18nextOptions'
import Backend from 'i18next-fs-backend'
import { resolve } from 'node:path'
import { i18nCookie } from './cookie'

export default new RemixI18Next({
detection: {
// persist language selection in cookie
cookie: i18nCookie,
// This is the list of languages your application supports
supportedLanguages: i18nextOptions.supportedLngs,
// This is the language you want to use in case the user language is not
// listed above
fallbackLanguage: i18nextOptions.fallbackLng,
},
// This is the configuration for i18next used when translating messages server
// side only
i18next: {
backend: { loadPath: resolve('./public/locales/{{lng}}/{{ns}}.json') },
},
// The backend you want to use to load the translations
// Tip: You could pass `resources` to the `i18next` configuration and avoid
// a backend here
backend: Backend,
})

and also in root.jsx:

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import {
Links,
LiveReload,
Meta,
Outlet,
Scripts,
ScrollRestoration,
useLoaderData
} from '@remix-run/react'
import { json } from '@remix-run/node'
import { useChangeLanguage } from 'remix-i18next'
import remixI18n from './i18n.server'
import { useTranslation } from 'react-i18next'
import styles from './styles/index.css'
import { i18nCookie } from './cookie'

export const loader = async ({ request }) => {
const locale = await remixI18n.getLocale(request)
const t = await remixI18n.getFixedT(request, 'common')
const title = t('headTitle')
return json({ locale, title }, {
headers: {"Set-Cookie": await i18nCookie.serialize(locale)}
})
}

export const handle = {
// In the handle export, we could add a i18n key with namespaces our route
// will need to load. This key can be a single string or an array of strings.
i18n: ['common']
};

export function meta({ data }) {
return { title: data.title }
}

export const links = () => {
return [{ rel: 'stylesheet', href: styles }]
}

export default function App() {
const { i18n } = useTranslation()
const { locale } = useLoaderData()

// This hook will change the i18n instance language to the current locale
// detected by the loader, this way, when we do something to change the
// language, this locale will change and i18next will load the correct
// translation files
useChangeLanguage(locale)

return (
<html lang={i18n.language}>
<head>
<meta charSet="utf-8" />
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1" />
<Meta />
<Links />
</head>
<body>
<Outlet />
<ScrollRestoration />
<Scripts />
<LiveReload />
</body>
</html>
)
}

So this means we're using the lng search parameter to change the language. And persist the current detected language in the cookie.

app app de

🥳 Awesome, the app is internationalized and we've just created our first language switcher!

🧑‍💻 The complete code can be found here.

The voluntary part

transform the localization process

Connect to an awesome translation management system and manage your translations outside of your code.

Let's synchronize the translation files with locize. This can be done on-demand or on the CI-Server or before deploying the app.

What to do to reach this step:

  1. in locize: signup at https://locize.app/register and login
  2. in locize: create a new project
  3. in locize: add all your additional languages (this can also be done via API)
  4. install the locize-cli (npm i locize-cli)

Use the locize-cli

Use the locize sync command to synchronize your local repository (public/locales) with what is published on locize.

Alternatively, you can also use the locize download command to always download the published locize translations to your local repository (public/locales) before bundling your app.

🎉🥳 Congratulations 🎊🎁

I hope you’ve learned a few new things about i18n in Remix, remix-i18next, i18next and modern localization workflows.

So if you want to take your i18n topic to the next level, it's worth to try the localization management platform - locize.

The founders of locize are also the creators of i18next. So with using locize you directly support the future of i18next.

There's also an i18next crash course video.

👍

If you like to know how to unleash the full power of i18next, check out "Part 2"!

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