Choose the languages you want to make available for a site’s user interface

Choose the languages you want to make available for a site’s user interface

As a 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’s or to create sites in different languages than the default SharePoint language. For more information about MUI and multi-language websites, see Introduction to multilingual features.

Important:  MUI changes the display language for the user interface, and variations supports creating multiple versions of content that you can then have translated using machine translation services or localization professionals. There is limited support of MUI for custom user interface (UI) elements. To learn more about variations, see Create a multi-language website.

You must be signed in as a site collection administrator to choose language settings for a site. In addition, the SharePoint Server farm administrator must first deploy language packs on your SharePoint Server. By default, language packs are already deployed and available to Office 365 customers using SharePoint Online.

  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 farm administrator.

  3. In the Alternate Language section, check the checkbox for the languages you want users to be able to use to display their user interfaces. For example, if the only language pack installed is French, then French is the only alternate language available for you to select.

  4. Click OK.

Now your users can change the display language for their personal use of the user interface; see 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.

Make sure the language packs you need are installed

For SharePoint Server or SharePoint Foundation

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.

For SharePoint Online

If you’re an Office 365 administrator, language packs are already deployed and MUI is enabled by default so that you can read the SharePoint Online Administration Center in your preferred language. If you’re a SharePoint Online site administrators you won’t get MUI enabled on your site by default. You’ll need to select the preferred alternate languages for your site after the site has been created.

What is a site's 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:

  • Web parts

  • Site title and description

  • SharePoint default menus and actions

  • Default columns

  • Custom columns (list or site)

  • Navigation bar links

  • Managed metadata services

Use MUI when you want to create sites, site collections, or Web pages in a language other than the default language for your installation, or, if your site will have users who can't work in the default language that you plan to use for the site.

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