Translation extraction

To extract translations use the console command translation:extract.

To see all of it's option, do this:

php bin/console translation:extract -h
# or
php bin/console translation:extract --help

Example for Zikula core:

# extract for all configured locales
php bin/console translation:extract zikula
# extract only for English
php bin/console translation:extract zikula en

Note zikula is the name of our configuration.

Examples for a bundle:

php bin/console translation:extract -b AcmeFooBundle extension
php bin/console translation:extract --bundle AcmeFooBundle extension en
php bin/console translation:extract -b AcmeFooBundle acmefoobundle
php bin/console translation:extract --bundle AcmeFooBundle acmefoobundle en

# or with more memory:
php -dmemory_limit=2G bin/console translation:extract --bundle AcmeFooBundle extension
php -dmemory_limit=2G bin/console translation:extract --bundle AcmeFooBundle acmefoobundle en

You can always check the status of your translation using the translation:status command. Check the available options using -h or --help like shown above.

Note there is also a similar translation:update command that is from Symfony itself. We use translation:extract from php-translation though because this allows more sophisticated configuration options and processing, like handling multiple bundles, translation annotations etc.

About default values

Note that new translations are added with null as translation value. While this works like a charm in PHP and Twig, it will cause problems when being used in JavaScript because then null appears as string.

So if you use English translations as translation keys, ensure that you add corresponding values at least for those entries that are used in JavaScript files also for the English translation.

You can also use an additional command zikula:translation:keytovalue to fix default values:

php -dmemory_limit=2G bin/console zikula:translation:keytovalue
php -dmemory_limit=2G bin/console zikula:translation:keytovalue AcmeFooBundle

Translation annotations

To influence the extraction behaviour you can utilise some annotations from the Translation\Extractor\Annotation namespace. Import them like any other php class:

use Translation\Extractor\Annotation\Desc;
use Translation\Extractor\Annotation\Ignore;
use Translation\Extractor\Annotation\Translate;


The @Desc annotation allows specifying a default translation for a key.


$builder->add('title', 'text', [
    /** @Desc("Title:") */
    'label' => 'post.form.title',

/** @Desc("We have changed the permalink because the post '%slug%' already exists.") */
$errors[] = $this->translator->trans(
    'post.form.permalink.error.exists', ['%slug%' => $slug]

desc filter in Twig

There is also a desc filter for specifying a default translation for a key in Twig.

Use it like this:

{{ 'post.form.title'|trans|desc('Title:') }}
{{ 'welcome.message'|trans({'%userName%': 'John Smith'})|desc('Welcome %userName%!') }}


The @Ignore annotation allows ignoring extracting translation subjects which are not a string, but a variable. You can use it for example for trans() calls, form labels and form choices.


echo $this->translator->trans(/** @Ignore */$description);

$builder->add('bundlecategory' . $bundle['name'], ChoiceType::class, [
    /** @Ignore */
    'label' => $bundle['displayname'],
    'empty_data' => null,
    'choices' => /** @Ignore */$options['categories']


With the /** @Translate */ you can explicitly add phrases to the dictionary. This helps to extract strings which would have been skipped otherwise.


$placeholder = /** @Translate */'delivery.user.not_chosen';

It can be also used to force specific domain:

$errorMessage = /** @Translate(domain="validators") */'error.user_email.not_unique';

Combined example

If you have a form class which uses a help array with multiple help messages strings you need to prepare it like this:

$builder->add('myField', [
    // …
    /** @Ignore */
    'help' => [
        /** @Translate */'This is the first help message.',
        /** @Translate */'This is the second help message.'

Extracting from JavaScript files

Note: currently it is not possible to automatically extract translation messages from JavaScript files. This functionality is being worked on here.