1.0.5 • Public • Published


handlebars-i18n-cli is an additional command line interface for handlebars-i18n. It will help to automatically extract translation strings from your handlebars templates and generate i18next conform json files from it. It also helps to keep your translations up to date when changes are made in the templates.

License: MIT Node.js Version Build Coverage Status Known Vulnerabilities


$ npm i handlebars-i18n-cli --save-dev


Abstract syntax is:

i18n-collect <source> <target> <options...>

This will generate a file translations.json holding the translations for de, fr, and en by extracting all key names intended for i18next translation from all html files in your project:

$ i18n-collect my-project/**/*.html my-project/translations.json --lng=de,en,fr

From a very simple template like this …

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="{{_locale}}">
   <title>{{__ title}}</title>
   {{__ body.greeting textvar1="hello" textvar2="world"}}

… the generated translations.json would be:

  "translations": {
    "de": {
      "title": "de of title",
      "body": {
        "greeting": "de of body.greeting with variables {{textvar1}} {{textvar2}}"
    "en": {
      "title": "en of title",
      "body": {
        "greeting": "en of body.greeting with variables {{textvar1}} {{textvar2}}"
    "fr": {
      "title": "fr of title",
      "body": {
        "greeting": "fr of body.greeting with variables {{textvar1}} {{textvar2}}"


Managing large volumes of translations can be a tedious and time-consuming task, for each change in the template needs to be mapped to all languages. Usually this comes along with a lot of redundant typing or copy/paste action. Furthermore the chance of missing some translation strings increases with many translations in play.

handlebars-i18n-cli automates the task of extracting and updating key names indicating translation strings and generating template JSON files from them. The key names for the translations need to specified only once in the template, the carry to the according language JSON is done by the CLI. You then only have to fill in according translations. In case a translation string expects variables for replacement, these variables will be added to your json template.

If you are not using handlebars-i18n for translation but a custom integration of i18next into handlebars.js, you might be able to appropriate this cli by using the option --translFunc (see below).


Try the examples folder within this repo.

For generating a single JSON file:

$ i18n-collect examples/templates/*.html examples/generated/translations.json --lng=de,fr,en 

For one JSON file per language:

$ i18n-collect examples/templates/*.html examples/generated/translations.json --separateLngFiles --lng=de,fr,en 

Source and Target


  • The source files can be passed in as glob pattern.
  • i18n-collect is agnostic against the data type of the template(s) you want to extract translations keys from. It works with .html as well as .js files.


  • The output will always be in .json format. The file(s) can then be required for your i18next translation as JSON v2
  compatibilityJSON: 'v2'

Usage options

--alphabetical or -a

This will order the keys to the translation strings alphabetically in the generated json file(s). When the flag --alphabetical is not set the keys appear in order as within the template(s).

--dryRun or -dr

For simulation: Logs the result to console, but does not write out the file(s) to disk.

--empty or -e

Create empty value strings for the translations in the json files(s). When the flag --empty is not set the value strings contain current language and key name.


The template

<h1>{{__ headline userName="Frank"}}</h1>
<p>{{__ paragraph}}</p>

would become

  "translations": {
    "en": {
      "headline": "{{userName}}",
      "paragraph": ""

instead of

  "translations": {
    "en": {
      "headline": "en of headline with variables {{userName}}",
      "paragraph": "en of paragraph"


The list of language shortcodes you want to be generated with an own set in the json. Arguments are comma separated (no blank space between, no quotation marks around). If no language is defined, "en" is the default.

--log or -l

Logs the final result that is written to the json files(s) into the console as well.

--separateLngFiles or -sf

Write each language in a separate json file instead of a single one.

$ i18n-collect my-project/template.html my-project/translation.json --lng=de,en,fr --separateLngFiles

Will generate three json files: translation.de.json, translation.en.json, and translation.fn.json each holding only the translation for their respective language. By default all translations are written to a single json file.


If you are not using handlebars-i18n for translations but a custom handlebars helper, you might be able to use i18n-collect as well.Say your translation function has the name t instead of handlebars-i18n’s __ (double underscore) and your template usage would look like

{{t myKeyNameToTranslation}}

you can do

$ i18n-collect my-project/template.html my-project/translation.json --translFunc=t

--translFunc=t then substitutes the default __ with a search for t.

--update or -u

Update an existing .json file with new translations. All keys in the existing .json are kept, new ones from the template will be added.

Works also with the option --separateLngFiles:

$ i18n-collect my-project/**/*.html my-project/translation --update --lng=de,en,fr --separateLngFiles

Leave out the language ending and json file extension and give only the base name for . In this example case handlebars-i18n-cli would look for translation.de.json, translation.en.json, and translation.en.json to update them. A language file that does not exist yet will be generated.

Fix for "Command not found"

In case you get an error trying to run $ i18n-collect like

bash: i18n-collect: command not found

you might need to link i18n-collect first. Running the following commands should fix this:

cd node_modules/handlebars-i18n-cli
sudo npm link

Run tests

$ nyc npm test


Copyright (c) 2022 Florian Walzel, MIT License

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