Umbrella Apps and Gettext

We are migrating our app to umbrella / distributed app.
The new architecture will have several Phoenix Web & API smaller apps.
To avoid extra work, is there a way to centralize all our gettext translations?

current (multiple apps)

From umbrella root.

==> myapp_admin
Wrote priv/gettext/en/LC_MESSAGES/errors.po
Wrote priv/gettext/en/LC_MESSAGES/default.po
==> myapp_api
Wrote priv/gettext/en/LC_MESSAGES/errors.po
==> myapp_my
Wrote priv/gettext/en/LC_MESSAGES/default.po
Wrote priv/gettext/en/LC_MESSAGES/errors.po
==> myapp_services
Wrote priv/gettext/it/LC_MESSAGES/errors.po
Wrote priv/gettext/it/LC_MESSAGES/default.po
Wrote priv/gettext/pt/LC_MESSAGES/errors.po
==> myapp_portal
Wrote priv/gettext/en/LC_MESSAGES/default.po
Wrote priv/gettext/en/LC_MESSAGES/errors.po
1 Like

Use one AppWithTranslationsGettext module? This could be in any of the umbrella apps or even a own one.

I’m trying to achieve the same thing and have a centralized translation app in an umbrella. Did you succeed in doing this?

What do you mean?

Yes. We segmented in two modules: One for common translations functions and another for all Texts to translate. All our umbrella apps call this module (and the “backend app” for common functions).

translations module

defmodule MyApp.Common.Translate do
  @moduledoc """
  Translate functions.

  alias MyApp.Gettext, as: AppGettext



all text module

defmodule MyApp.Common.Gettext do
  @moduledoc """
  Gettext functions.

  import MyApp.Gettext

  gettext(": activate to sort column ascending")
  gettext(": activate to sort column descending")
  gettext("(filtered from _MAX_ total entries)")

Thank you for your answer!

So, if I’m not mistaken, you have to call the gettext\1 macro only from within MyApp? What I’d like is to be able to call it from my other apps and be able to use the extract mix task to consolidate all the translations into a single file.

To your knowledge, is that at all possible?


The problem to have multiple gettext spread across multiple apps is when you extract the files via “mix gettext.extract”, each app create their own translations files.
In my experience, is better to maintain everything in one file to translate (and reuse).

1 Like

Hi @pedromvieira!

Thank you for your answer. I finally found what I was looking for! Here are the solutions, should anyone looking to achieve similar results need them:

Based on this issue:, I was able to find this working exemple umbrella app from wojtekmach:

I then ran into this issue:, which I was able to solve thank’s to amatalai’s idea:

I now have an umbrella app containing a Translator app, which is responsible for handling the translations for all the other apps (some of them being phoenix apps). The only app depending on Gettext is the Translator app, which is an :in_umbrella dependency to any app in need of translations. Using a Mix task inspired from amatalai’s, every app extracts its translations into the Translator app.

May these solutions save some headaches in the future! :purple_heart:

Cheers! :beers: