Webpack has a plugin called i18n-webpack-plugin, which can be used to do simple translation.

When I say **simple**, it is really **simple**.


This example is taken from the standard i18n example from webpack repo. You can check the whole source code from here.

In the entry file example.js, we use console.log function to output some strings:

console.log(__("Hello World")); //this one has the translation
console.log(__("Missing Text")); //this one is missint the translation.

We define the translations in a json file based on the language. Here we have a de.json.

  "Hello World": "Hallo Welt"

What we want is two separated bundle files, each has its own correct strings.

The configuation file we need to use is like this:

var path = require("path");
var I18nPlugin = require("i18n-webpack-plugin");
var languages = {
  en: null,
  de: require("./de.json") // 1
module.exports = Object.keys(languages).map(function(language) {
  return {
    name: language, //3
    entry: "./example", //4
    output: {
      path: path.join(__dirname, "js"),
      filename: language + ".output.js"
    plugins: [
      new I18nPlugin(
        languages[language] //5

So let me explain it one by one.

  1. We need a mapping table( languages object) to tell webpack how to find the translation. For each language’s translation file, we use require() to load them;
  2. We use map function to generate multiple configuration files for each language in our mapping table. In this case, we have en and de. So we will generate 2 configuration files at the same time for webpack to process. This is called multi-compiler feature.
  3. We give each configuration file a name and it will be the same as the language name.
  4. The entry should be the same as we need to use in the normal configuration file. In our case, it should be the example.js
  5. We need to specify the I18nPlugin we use, along with the options.

Plugin Options

plugins: [
  new I18nPlugin(languageConfig, optionsObj)

This plugin takes 2 arguments.

  1. languageConfig: this is the translation file
  2. optionsObj: which has 3 options:
    • optionsObj.functionName: the default value is __, you can change it to other function name.
    • optionsObj.failOnMissing: the default value is false, which will show a warning message, if the mapping text cannot be found. If set to true, the message will be an error message.
    • optionsObj.hideMessage: the default value is false, which will show the warning/error message. If set to true, the message will be hide.


There are lots of complex situations regarding translation, which can not be handled by this plugin.

For example, the pluralization issue.

Those can certainly be improved in the future.