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When pages are submitted for translation, the content is broken down into 'segments'. Translation is performed on individual segments rather than the page as a whole.

It's done this way to allow translations to be updated incrementally. If a single field/block/paragraph is updated in the source, translators will only have to update a single segment and not the whole page.

Not all segments are strings of text to be translated, all of the segment types are listed below.

Segment types

String Segment

Screenshot of string segment

This is a snippet of translatable text that has been extracted from the page. For CharField/TextField, this snippet would contain the full value of the field (For example, the "title" field). StreamFields and RichTextFields are broken down into smaller segments, with block structure and embedded media removed.

RichTextFields still contain inline formatting and links, attributes are stripped out and replaced with ids to prevent translators from changing them.

The main advantage of translating in this way, is it makes it very easy to keep the page up to date as the original is edited over time. Translators only have to retranslate segments that were changed. Also, segment translations could be reused to save time translating pages that have similar content.

Template Segment

These are not displayed anywhere in the editor. But instead, here is an example of how they look in the database:

<h1><text position="0"></h1>
    <text position="1">
        <li><b><text position="2"></b></li>

This segment type is used for translating rich fext fields/blocks.

Each heading, paragraph, and list item in rich text is extracted as a separate string segment. In order to be able to recombine these for the translation, we also need to store the structure of block and any non-translatable elements such as images or embeds.

Template Segments are HTML blobs that contain everything around the extracted string segments. The string segments are replaced with <text> tags marking the positions of where the translated string segments need to be inserted.

If you combined the above template with the following string segments:

  • The Heading
  • A paragraph with some <b>Bold text</b>
  • A list item

This would produce the following rich text value:

<h1>The Heading</h1>
    A paragraph with some <b>Bold text</b>
        <li><b>A list item</b></li>

Note that inline tags (<b>, <a>, etc) are extracted with the string segments and all block tags (<p>, <li>, <h1>, etc) are left behind. If an inline tag completely encapsulates a string segment, that inline tag is left in the template (see the <b> tag in the <li> tag above).

Screenshot of related object segment

This segment type represents a related object that is translatable. These are extracted from ForeignKey, OneToOneField, or SnippetChooserBlocks that reference a translatable model.

When a page is submitted for translation, any translatable related objects are automatically submitted for translation with the page, and the translated pages is automatically linked with the translated version of the related object. Here, you can see the progress of translating this related object, with a link to edit the related object.

Overridable Segment

Screenshot of overridable segment

This segment type represents any field that can be changed per-locale. Unlike string segments, they don't have to be changed and they also don't have to be text fields either. By default, they are kept in sync with the original but a user can optionally override them with something else. When they are overridden, any changes to the original page are ignored.

All fields configured with the SynchronisedField field type will be extracted as an overridable segment.