Igor Kulman

Checking for missing translations in iOS projects

· Igor Kulman

When you work on an iOS app localized into multiple languages one of the biggest challenges is making sure that everything is translated, no string is missing in any language. Xcode does not provide any tool to make this easier for you, but there are some 3rd party tools that you can integrate into your workflow.


I have recently found a quite old project called verify-string-files. It is a command line tool take takes you base localization file and compares it to all the translations, informing you about missing strings. Altough the last commit to this project was way back in 2014 it still works reliably, there have not been any changes to the way iOS does localization.

The best thing about this tool is that you can integrate it to your build process.

Build process integration

The tool is available only as source code, so you have to build it first. I put the built binary to a support folder of my projects.

Then I have a Build-Phases folder with all the script used in the build process. I think it is a much better solution than embedding the script right into the Xcode project.

To integrate verify-string-files you just need a really simple script, providing the path to the base localization file

${PROJECT_DIR}/support/verify-string-files -master ${SRCROOT}/iOSSampleApp/Resources/Base.lproj/Localizable.strings

In Xcode, just add a new Run scrip phase and call $SRCROOT/Build-Phases/check-strings where check-strings is the script name. Just do not forget to chmod +x the actual file.

This will result in build errors when there are missing string, shown directly in the base localization file

Error: missing translations

If you just want it to produce warning instead of errors, you just add -warning-level warning as a parameter

${PROJECT_DIR}/support/verify-string-files -master ${SRCROOT}/iOSSampleApp/Resources/Base.lproj/Localizable.strings -warning-level warning

or you can make it even better by making the tool produce errors in production builds but warning in debug builds

if [ "${CONFIGURATION}" = "Release" ]; then
${PROJECT_DIR}/support/verify-string-files -master ${SRCROOT}/iOSSampleApp/Resources/Base.lproj/Localizable.strings
${PROJECT_DIR}/support/verify-string-files -master ${SRCROOT}/iOSSampleApp/Resources/Base.lproj/Localizable.strings -warning-level warning


If you want to use an external GUI tool, check out my open-source iOSLocalizationEditor that shows you all your localizations for every language side by side.

See also