Rails: Translation

Ben McLaren

February 19,2020

We are going to build a simple tool that will be able handle translations by checking to see if they are stored in the hash.

  home: {
    intro: {
      en: 'Welcome on Le Wagon',
      fr: 'Bienvenue sur Le Wagon',
      de: 'Wilkommen aus Le Wagon'
    content: {
      explanation: {
        en: 'This is an interesting exercise',
        fr: 'C\'est un exercice interessant',
        de: 'Es ist eine interesante Übung'
      goodbye: {
        en: 'Goodbye',
        fr: 'Au revoir',
        de: 'Tchüss'

Here, we have our method translation which takes two arguments.

def translation(a_string, a_language = :en)
  #code here

The first argument is a string that describes the path through the keys separated by a dot (we assume no dots in keys), and the second argument is the language, which falls back to ‘en’ as a default if one is either not provided or does not exist.

translation('home.intro', 'fr') # => 'Bienvenue sur Le Wagon'

Here is our method which is able to return the correct translation from the hash.

def translation(a_string, a_language = :en)
  keys = a_string.split(".")
  translation = STRINGS
  keys.each do |key|
    translation = translation[key.to_sym]
    return "" if translation.nil?
  return translation[a_language.to_sym] || translation[:en]

  1. We start with calling .split(".") on the a_string passed in as an argument. The result of this is assigned to keys. This will give us an array of strings which have been seperated on the “.".

  2. Next we assign our hash of srtings to the variable translation

  3. We can now iterate over our new created array, keys using .each. For each key we say translation (our hash) is equal to adding a key to the hash and calling .to_sym to transform it into a symbol. We return "" if translation is not found. In other words, it does not have a relevant key.

  4. Finally, we return one of two options. Option one being it was able to find a translation for the key. Or we return option 2 which is no key was found and therefore it will revert back to english.