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Rosetta is a Django application that eases the translation process of your Django projects.

Because it doesn't export any models, Rosetta doesn't create any tables in your project's database. Rosetta can be installed and uninstalled by simply adding and removing a single entry in your project's INSTALLED_APPS and a single line in your main file.


  • Database independent
  • Reads and writes your project's gettext catalogs (po and mo files)
  • Installed and uninstalled in under a minute
  • Uses Django's admin interface CSS


Rosetta requires Django 1.2 or later.

Note that Rosetta is known to work with Django 1.1, but it is not supported.


To install Rosetta:

  1. pip install django-rosetta

  2. Add 'rosetta' to the INSTALLED_APPS in your project's

  3. Add an URL entry to your project's, for example:

    from django.conf import settings
    if 'rosetta' in settings.INSTALLED_APPS:
        urlpatterns += patterns('',
            url(r'^rosetta/', include('rosetta.urls')),

Note: you can use whatever you wish as the URL prefix.

To uninstall Rosetta, simply comment out or remove the 'rosetta' line in your INSTALLED_APPS


Because Rosetta requires write access to some of the files in your Django project, access to the application is restricted to the administrator user only (as defined in your project's Admin interface)

If you wish to grant editing access to other users:

  1. Create a 'translators' group in your admin interface
  2. Add the user you wish to grant translating rights to this group


Generate a batch of files to translate

See Django's documentation on Internationalization to setup your project to use i18n and create the gettext catalog files.

Translate away!

Start your Django development server and point your browser to the URL prefix you have chosen during the installation process. You will get to the file selection window.

Select a file and translate each untranslated message. Whenever a new batch of messages is processed, Rosetta updates the corresponding django.po file and regenerates the corresponding mo file.

This means your project's labels will be translated right away, unfortunately you'll still have to restart the webserver for the changes to take effect. (NEW: if your webserver supports it, you can force auto-reloading of the translated catalog whenever a change was saved. See the note regarding the ROSETTA_WSGI_AUTO_RELOAD variable in conf/

If the webserver doesn't have write access on the catalog files (as shown in the screen shot below) an archive of the catalog files can be downloaded.

Translating Rosetta itself

By default Rosetta hides its own catalog files in the file selection interface (shown above.) If you would like to translate Rosetta to your own language:

  1. Create a subdirectory for your locale inside Rosetta's locale directory, e.g. rosetta/locale/XX/LC_MESSAGES
  2. Instruct Django to create the initial catalog, by running  makemessages -l XX inside Rosetta's directory (refer to Django's documentation on i18n for details)
  3. Instruct Rosetta to look for its own catalogs, by appending ?rosetta to the language selection page's URL, e.g.
  4. Translate as usual
  5. Send a pull request if you feel like sharing


  • Rosetta uses the excellent polib library to parse and handle gettext files.