Management Commands

The update_translation_fields Command

In case modeltranslation was installed in an existing project and you have specified to translate fields of models which are already synced to the database, you have to update your database schema (see Committing fields to database).

Unfortunately the newly added translation fields on the model will be empty then, and your templates will show the translated value of the fields (see Rule 1) which will be empty in this case. To correctly initialize the default translation field you can use the update_translation_fields command:

$ python update_translation_fields

Taken the news example used throughout the documentation this command will copy the value from the news object’s title field to the default translation field title_de. It only does so if the default translation field is empty otherwise nothing is copied.


Unless you configured modeltranslation to override the default language the command will examine your settings.LANGUAGES variable and the first language declared there will be used as the default language.

All translated models (as specified in the translation files) from all apps will be populated with initial data.

The sync_translation_fields Command

New in version 0.4.

$ python sync_translation_fields

This command compares the database and translated models definitions (finding new translation fields) and provides SQL statements to alter tables. You should run this command after adding a new language to your settings.LANGUAGES or a new field to the TranslationOptions of a registered model.

However, if you are using South in your project, in most cases it’s recommended to use migration instead of sync_translation_fields. See Committing fields to database for detailed info and use cases.

The loaddata Command

New in version 0.7.

An extended version of Django’s original loaddata command which adds an optional populate keyword. If the keyword is specified, the normal loading command will be run under the selected auto-population modes.

By default no auto-population is performed.

$ python loaddata --populate=all fixtures.json

Allowed modes are listed here. To choose False (turn off auto-population) specify '0' or 'false':

$ python loaddata --populate=false fixtures.json
$ python loaddata --populate=0 fixtures.json


If populate is not specified, the current auto-population mode is used. Current means the one set by settings.

Moreover, this loaddata command version can override the nasty habit of changing locale to en-us. By default, it will retain the proper locale. To get the old behaviour back, set MODELTRANSLATION_LOADDATA_RETAIN_LOCALE to False.