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How do you switch Ubuntu to another (human) language without reinstalling it?

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up vote 23 down vote accepted

There are two ways to do this,

  • Go to system>administration>Language Support in your menu, and choose your language settings.

looks like DoR got the same thing as me

  • Before you log in, you can change your language (bottom left, select your language).
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+1 for pointing to the login screen. This gives us a per user option - very convenient :-) – Takkat Nov 1 '10 at 22:03

System->Administration->Language Support
From here can change your current language or install new ones.

alt text

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You can use "Language Support" to change the system's current language(s).

"Language Support" is located in the System Settings (which you can find in the Launcher), and can also be found directly in the Dash by typing language.

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Click the Install / Remove Languages… button to download and install a language that is not currently on the list, and then drag/drop the listed entries according to your preferences.

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To apply your changes to the login and title screen, click the Apply System-Wide button.

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On Quantal (12.10), language selection is no more present at the LightDM prompt, there is only a selector for input, no more for session, you can choose to use another LightDM greeter, like lightdm-gtk-greeter. You need to install this package, change in /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf this line from unity-greeter to lightdm-gtk-greeter:


and in /etc/lightdm/lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf, this line from false to true:


After that, language selection doesn't seems to work in quantal, but in really few rare cases I was not able to determine or reproduce.

I noticed than this is mainly a problem of coomunication between lightdm and AccountsService.

There is a bug report about this:

You can change language by éditing the file:


For exemple in french:


Or in Mainland China chinese:

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Go to System Settings (either through Dash or Logout button on the Panel) and Choose Language Support. You can also just type Language Support into the Dash.

You can Install new languages there, prioritize them and apply them system-wide. Just log-out and back in to have changes take effect.

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