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How pre-translation (previously Autofill) can be used to automatically translate new keys, locales or files into multiple languages directly after uploading them.


Pre-translation is part of our Advanced plan and higher.

With pre-translation, you can automatically translate new keys, languages, or files into multiple languages directly after uploading them to Phrase. Using translation memory and machine translation allows you to have all your translations ready with a single click.

How to enable pre-translation

Before you can use pre-translation, you have to enable the feature (previously called Autofill) at the very bottom of the Project Settings for each project where you want to work with pre-translation.
Autofill settings

Currently, there are three possible ways in which pre-translation can help you accelerate your translation workflow. It is vital that you select at least one of these options in the pre-translation tab of your project settings.

  • Translate new keys automatically
  • Translate new uploads automatically
  • Translate new languages automatically

You can also let pre-translation mark new translations as unverified so you know it either requires proofreading or revision by a translator. In addition, you can choose to use machine translation for filling out the missing translations your translation memory didn’t return. Click save to adopt your settings.

Your workflow with pre-translation

1. Pre-translation for newly added keys

When adding a new key from within the translation editor you need to make sure that you enter the default translation of your source language for this key. Otherwise, pre-translation cannot provide you with an automated translation for your target languages. For each key you’re adding, you can individually disable pre-translation, in case you don’t want to have it translated automatically.

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After saving your new key and select any of your target languages in the translation editor, pre-translation will already have inserted all of the respective translations for you.

2. Pre-translation for newly added languages

When you’re adding a new language to your project, you can use pre-translation to fill all the translations in beforehand for this new language. You can disable pre-translation in the Add Language menu anytime if you don’t want your added language to be translated automatically. After saving your language, the progress overview then indicates that all the keys you have set in your project are now unverified keys of your new language. If the language progress bar doesn’t update in an instant, pre-translation might take another brief moment to have all the translations processed and ready for you in the background. You can click on your new language and start post-editing right away.

3. Pre-translation for newly uploaded language files

When you upload a language file to your project you can choose to use pre-translation or disable it for this very upload, in case you do not wish to have your file(s) translated automatically.


When pre-translation is enabled, the uploaded keys will be automatically translated into all languages of your project. You can start editing the pre-filled translations for all your keys of all your languages you have set up in your project to this point.

4. Pre-translation to auto-translate through the Translation Editor (batch-action)

You can also enable pre-translation in order to auto-translate one or multiple keys after you have already added them to your project.

  • Access the Translation Editor
  • If required, filter your list of keys through a search-query
  • Select a target language in the middle section of the editor
  • Select one or multiple key(s), by clicking the box next to it.
  • Click the Autotranslate button on the bottom of the menu and confirm, to run pre-translation on your selected key(s) and target language. 

This will fill out any missing translations of your selected keys, and can also be applied to all of your keys, through the select-all search box at the top of the list of your keys. 

Please note that pre-translation will only translate empty translations and skip over keys that have already been translated.

Post-editing workflow

The translations generated by pre-translation are set to be unverified by default. You can subsequently post-edit the translations to achieve your desired translation quality. You can learn more about review workflows here.

Pre-translation analytics

In your Analytics tab, you’re able to continuously track and optimize how automatic translation fits best in your individual translation process.


Pre-translation search filter

You can find translations by pre-translation in the translation editor easily via a search filter. You can combine all available filters.

API support for pre-translation

Beyond using pre-translation when creating keys and languages or uploading files within Phrase, you’re able to trigger automatic translations when adding translations via the API or via our command line client. This will speed up your workflow even further.


For a demo and more information on the pre-translation feature and how to build your workflow around it, you can also watch our Webinar on Autofill - Best Practices (Note: Autofill is the previous name for the pre-translation feature.)
After entering your contact information you will be able to access the webinar.

Where can I find the pre-translation settings?

You can find the pre-translation settings in your project settings.

How do I turn it off?

You can turn off pre-translation for your entire project in your project settings anytime. When adding a new key, language or uploading a language file, you can turn it off for each of those actions individually.

Where do the translations come from?

  • If pre-translation is enabled, the translation will automatically be delivered by the translation memory, if it detects keys you have already used in your projects. You can choose which projects may use the organization-wide translation memory in your translation memory configuration.
  • If pre-translation is enabled with the option “use machine translation” and translations cannot be delivered by the translation memory, they will be delivered by the machine translation service you have set in the machine translation tab of your organization detail settings.

Which machine translation services are available?

We currently support machine translation via Google Translate, Microsoft Translator (default), DeepL, and Amazon Machine Translation. You can select the service of your choice in your organization details.

How does pre-translation influence my overall machine translation contingent?

Regardless of the service you choose, all our customers get 1M characters for free/month. You can view your current count and the start date of the next cycle in your organization details.

How can I tell pre-translation to ignore or skip parts of my source translation string?

In order for pre-translation to skip certain parts of your string (e.g. a brand name) you have the following options:

  • Wrap or replace the element you would like to have ignored with one of the placeholder formats we offer
  • Wrap the parts you want to skip in [NOTRANSLATE]...[/NOTRANSLATE] tags. You can strip those tags in the download process. See this article for further details.

I have selected “enable pre-translation”, why doesn’t it work?

You must additionally select at least one of the following pre-translation options in your project settings:

  • Translate new keys automatically
  • Translate new uploads automatically
  • Translate new languages automatically

Why does pre-translation not work for files that I upload through the Phrase CLI?

Please make sure that all push sources have the following parameter:

autotranslate: true

I want to add several languages directly after each other but the auto-translation seems to be stuck at a certain point. Why?

For the time being, we recommend to let pre-translation translate one language at a time. Using pre-translation when adding multiple languages within a short time will be possible in future versions.

Is it possible to use pre-translation on existing keys?
Currently, it is not possible to override already existing translations with pre-translation.