Enabling I18n locale fallbacks in Rails

This guide is valid for i18n version 0.7.0+ and Rails 4.1+

Strangely enough enabling custom locale fallbacks is harder than it should be. Here’s what you need to enable custom locale fallbacks with i18n gem.

First, you need to set config.i18n.fallbacks = true for all environments in a Rails application (config/environments/*.rb).

Then you need to have this in your config/application.rb:

# The default locale is :en and all translations from config/locales/*.rb,yml are auto loaded.
# config.i18n.load_path += Dir[Rails.root.join('my', 'locales', '*.{rb,yml}').to_s]
config.i18n.default_locale = :en

# Enforce available locales
config.i18n.enforce_available_locales = true

# Custom I18n fallbacks
config.after_initialize do
  I18n.fallbacks = I18n::Locale::Fallbacks.new(at: :"de-DE", ch: :"de-DE", gb: :"en-US")

The above will enable custom fallbacks from at and ch locales to the German language and from gb locale to English. The enforce_available_locales bit is optional.

If you also use i18n-js to have your translated phrases available in javascript, here’s the exemplary fallbacks snippet you need to put inside your javascript code:

I18n.locales["at"] = ["de", "en"]
I18n.locales["ch"] = ["de", "en"]
I18n.locales["gb"] = ["en"]

Published by

Paweł Gościcki

Ruby/Rails programmer.