Choose the languages for a SharePoint site user interface

As a site owner or site collection administrator, you can use the Multiple Language User Interface (MUI) feature to offer individual users the ability to change the display language for their site user interface.

What is a site user interface?

The user interface of your site refers to the elements on your screen that you use to interact with SharePoint, like the menus, navigation items, and recycle bin.

With the MUI feature, you can display the following user interface elements in different languages:

  • Site title and description

  • SharePoint default menus and actions

  • Default columns

  • Custom columns (list or site)

  • Navigation bar links

  • Managed metadata services

  • Content Editor web part on classic publishing pages

Choose languages

You must be signed in as a site owner or site collection administrator to choose language settings for a site. In addition, if you are using SharePoint Server, the SharePoint administrator must first deploy language packs for the languages you want to use. There is no need to install language packs for SharePoint in Microsoft 365.

  1. From a site page, click Settings  Settings button from SharePoint Online , click Site Settings. If you don't see Site settings, click Site information and then click View all site settings. Some pages might require you to select Site contents, and then Site settings.

  2. On the settings page, in the Site Administration section, click Language Settings.

    Note: If the Language settings link doesn't appear on the Site Settings page of your SharePoint Server site or site collection, then language packs haven't been installed. See your SharePoint Server administrator.

  3. Select the languages you want to make available: 

    • If you are using a communication site and you have page translations enabled, select languages by typing them or using the dropdown for each language. For more information on how to do this, see Enable the multilingual feature for communication sites and choose languages.

    • If you're using a communication site without page translations enabled, or using a Team site or a classic site, select the check boxes next to the languages you want to make available.

  4. If you want to overwrite site translations in the site interface, select Yes under Overwrite Translations. If you're on a communication site with page translations enabled, select Advanced and then select Yes under Overwrite Translations.

  5. Select OK.

Now your users can change the display language for their personal use of the user interface. Learn how users can change their preferred language in Change your language and region settings.

After you turn on alternate languages for your site, you can create new lists or libraries in one language, then display the site in a different language, and modify the list or library name for that language. The same process works for list and library columns, and for navigation links.

Note: List items are considered content and not UI, so they will change when you choose an alternate display language.

Language packs for SharePoint Server

There is no need to install language packs for SharePoint for Microsoft 365. However, if you're using SharePoint Server, the list of available languages that users can select is generated by the language packs that are installed on the SharePoint servers for your organization. These language packs must be installed by a server farm administrator—that is, someone in your IT organization who has the appropriate permission levels to download language packs onto your organization’s server computers. For a list of languages that SharePoint Servers 2016 and 2019 support, see Install or uninstall language packs for SharePoint Servers 2016 and 2019.

Overwriting translations

When you use a multilingual user interface and enable users to manually translate site elements in their preferred language, you can choose to overwrite their individual translations when a change is made to the same elements in the default language.

For example, let's say your default site language is English, and you have a Spanish version interface of the same site. The Spanish interface version contains all of the same navigation items as the default site. If the site owner of the Spanish interface updates a navigation item with translated text, you choose to overwrite that change when a change is made to the navigation on the English site. This will keep the navigation on all sites in alignment, but will undo the changes made by the Spanish site owner.

This option does not apply to modern page content.

If you are using classic publishing sites, this option does apply to the Content Editor web part, which displays content in the chosen alternate language when MUI is enabled.

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