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Implementing i18n in Next.js: A Guide to Non-Route-Based Localizationby@chilledcowfan
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Implementing i18n in Next.js: A Guide to Non-Route-Based Localization

by Anton BurduzhaFebruary 22nd, 2023
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i18n is a library specifically designed for use with Nextjs. It provides a simple and flexible way to add i18n functionality to Nextjs projects. Also, it helps to achieve non-route-base i18n. I’ll show you a simple snippet of how it could be implemented in your app. Let’s install all necessary dependencies to start working on our project.
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Motivation

Recently, we migrated our sub-project from react-localization to i18next. During that migration, the main goal was to keep the previous behavior of setting and changing language in our app.

Storing language in a route path is a commonly used practice for the Nextjs framework. But for our project, that was an inappropriate solution. Our main application allows businesses to generate QR codes for their customers with a link to the sub-application where the end user can leave feedback regarding service quality and satisfaction. All QR codes had already been printed, and new ones would cost a fortune for the business. The previous version of the sub-app used to be built on the base of CRA, and only half a year ago, it was migrated to Nextjs. So, we were looking for library or libraries which could provide us with non-route-based internationalization and API similar to react-i8next. We found ni18n. This is a library specifically designed for use with Nextjs. ni18n provides a simple and flexible way to add i18n functionality to Nextjs projects, including support for server-side rendering and other advanced features.

Basic Setup

Let’s install all necessary dependencies to start working on our project.


npm install i18next react-i18next ni18n


The next step is to expand the existing next.config.js with the default i18n config.

Basically, we need only a few fields for a quick start. locales is required to show all the locales we want to support in the app, and defaultLocale will be used when visiting a non-locale prefixed path (for us, it’s just the default language).


// next.config.js
module.exports = {
	...yourNextConfig,
  i18n: {
    defaultLocale: 'GB',
    locales: ['GB', 'UA', 'PT'],
  },
};


Then we are required to create a new file in the root or utils/plugins/etc. directory named ni18n.config.js . supportedLngs - names which show us supported languages, and ns - namespaces, which we can use in some cases.


// ni18n.config.js
export const ni18nConfig = {
  supportedLngs: ['GB', 'UA', 'PT'],
  ns: ['namespace-name'],
};


A few more things left. Our application requires I18nextProvider , so let’s wrap the App with the high-order component imported from i18n.

It will initialize the i18next instance and provide it as a context for all the children.


// pages/_app.jsx
import { appWithI18Next } from 'ni18n';
import { ni18nConfig } from '../ni18n.config';

const App = ({ Component, pageProps }) => <Component {...pageProps} />;

export default appWithI18Next(App, ni18nConfig);


And the last preparation step before we started using translation into our components is a filling of translation files. The important thing - keep the following file structure.


./public
└── locales
    ├── GB
    │   ├── namespace-name.json  // { "key1": "Test" }
    │
    ├── UA
    │   ├── namespace-name.json  // { "key1": "Тест" }
    │
    ├── PT
		├── namespace-name.json  // { "key1": "Teste" }


Finally, we’ve done with the setup and are ready to start integration of the i18n feature into components. Let’s take a look at the example in ComponentName.jsx.

We extract the t function from useTranslation hook which will return translated string for the selected language. Looks simple, doesn’t it?


// ComponentName.jsx
import { useTranslation } from 'react-i18next';

export const MyComponent = () => {
  const { t } = useTranslation();
  return (
		<div>{t('key1')}</div>
	);
};


If you store user language in DB, don’t forget to create a context with React.Context or any other solution to wrap pages and set the language in useEffect. Below, I’ll show you a simple snippet of how it could be implemented.


// ContextName.jsx
const I18nProvider = ({ children, data }) => {
    const { i18n } = useTranslation();

    const { language = 'GB' } = data;

    useEffect(() => {
        i18n.changeLanguage(language);
    }, [language]);

    return (
        <I18nContext.Provider>
            {children}
        </I18nContext.Provider>
    );
};


That’s it. I hope it helped you to save some time, as always. In the future, we are going to migrate the existing i18n approach to route based. The reason is pretty simple - a unification of all our applications. I’ll definitely describe it in one of my next articles.