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We use Flask-Babel to translate Superset. In Python files, we use the following translation functions from Flask-Babel:

  • gettext and lazy_gettext (usually aliased to _): for translating singular strings.
  • ngettext: for translating strings that might become plural.
from flask_babel import lazy_gettext as _

then wrap the translatable strings with it, e.g. _('Translate me'). During extraction, string literals passed to _ will be added to the generated .po file for each language for later translation.

At runtime, the _ function will return the translation of the given string for the current language, or the given string itself if no translation is available.

In TypeScript/JavaScript, the technique is similar: we import t (simple translation), tn (translation containing a number).

import { t, tn } from "@superset-ui/translation";

Enabling language selection

Add the LANGUAGES variable to your Having more than one option inside will add a language selection dropdown to the UI on the right side of the navigation bar.

'en': {'flag': 'us', 'name': 'English'},
'fr': {'flag': 'fr', 'name': 'French'},
'zh': {'flag': 'cn', 'name': 'Chinese'},

Creating a new language dictionary

First check if the language code for your target language already exists. Check if the two letter ISO 639-1 code for your target language already exists in the superset/translations directory:

ls superset/translations | grep -E "^[a-z]{2}\/"

If your language already has a pre-existing translation, skip to the next section

The following languages are already supported by Flask AppBuilder, and will make it easier to translate the application to your target language: Flask AppBuilder i18n documentation

To create a dictionary for a new language, first make sure the necessary dependencies are installed:

pip install -r superset/translations/requirements.txt

Then run the following, where LANGUAGE_CODE is replaced with the language code for your target language:

pybabel init -i superset/translations/messages.pot -d superset/translations -l LANGUAGE_CODE

For instance, to add a translation for Finnish (language code fi), run the following:

pybabel init -i superset/translations/messages.pot -d superset/translations -l fi

Extracting new strings for translation

This step needs to be done every time application strings change. This happens fairly frequently, so if you want to ensure that your translation has good coverage, this step needs to be run fairly frequently and the updated strings merged to the upstream codebase via PRs. To update the template file superset/translations/messages.pot with current application strings, run the following command:

pybabel extract -F superset/translations/babel.cfg -o superset/translations/messages.pot -k _ -k __ -k t -k tn -k tct .

Do not forget to update this file with the appropriate license information.

Updating language files

Run the following command to update the language files with the new extracted strings.

 pybabel update -i superset/translations/messages.pot -d superset/translations --ignore-obsolete

You can then translate the strings gathered in files located under superset/translation, where there's one folder per language. You can use Poedit to translate the po file more conveniently. There are some tutorials in the wiki.

To perform the translation on MacOS, you can install poedit via Homebrew:

brew install poedit

After this, just start the poedit application and open the messages.po file. In the case of the Finnish translation, this would be superset/translations/fi/LC_MESSAGES/messages.po.

Applying translations

To make the translations available on the frontend, we need to convert the PO file into a JSON file. To do this, we need to globally install the npm package po2json.

npm install -g po2json

To convert all PO files to formatted JSON files you can use the script.


If you get errors running po2json, you might be running the Ubuntu package with the same name, rather than the Node.js package (they have a different format for the arguments). If there is a conflict, you may need to update your PATH environment variable or fully qualify the executable path (e.g. /usr/local/bin/po2json instead of po2json). If you get a lot of [null,***] in messages.json, just delete all the null,. For example, "year":["年"] is correct while "year":[null,"年"]is incorrect.

Finally, for the translations to take effect we need to compile translation catalogs into binary MO files.

pybabel compile -d superset/translations