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How to change the language in Ubuntu

During the setup process of Ubuntu Linux, you’re able to select the default language for your installation right on the first page of the installer. As a result, many users find that setting the language is quite easy. However, if you speak multiple languages, you may want to know how to swap out the language after Ubuntu is installed. In this guide, we will go over exactly how to do that.

Please note that in this guide, we will be focusing on how to change the language on the default Ubuntu desktop environment: Gnome Shell. It does not cover language settings for other Ubuntu flavors, such as Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, etc.

Accessing language settings

To access the language settings of your Ubuntu Linux PC, press Win on the keyboard. By pressing this button, you’ll gain access to the Gnome Shell search area.

Inside of the search area, type “language” into the text box. Once you’ve typed “language” into the search box, you will see an app with the name “Language Support.” You will also see “Region & Language” under “Settings” for Gnome. Click on the “Region & Language” one to access Ubuntu’s language settings.

Changing the language settings in Ubuntu

Once you’ve loaded up the “Region & Language” area in Ubuntu, it’s time to go over how to change the language settings on your Ubuntu Linux PC. Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Locate the “Language” area in “Region & Language.”The “Language” area will list the language you’ve chosen to set Ubuntu to during the initial installation process.

Click on it with the mouse to reveal the other language packs that are on your system. If you see alternative languages available, click it to change to it. If you do not see any languages available, aside from the default one, you do not have any language packs installed. Continue with the rest of the steps to get this going.

Step 2: To install alternative language packs, you must download them from Ubuntu servers. Locate the “Manage Installed Languages” and click on it with the mouse.

After clicking on the “Manage Installed Languages” button, a pop-up will appear. This pop-up will say that “The language support is not installed completely. Some translations or writing aids available for your chosen languages are not installed yet. Do you want to install them now?”

Click the “Install” button to continue.

Step 3: Upon selecting the “Install” button, Ubuntu will ask for your user password. Enter it and press the “Authenticate” button to submit the password. Soon after entering your user’s password, Ubuntu will download and install the various language support packages necessary.

The installation of the language packages may take a bit of time, especially if you have a slow internet connection. Sit back and allow Ubuntu to install everything. When the process is complete, move on to step 4!

Step 4: Once the required packages are installed, access the “Language Support” window. Then, find the “Install / Remove Languages” button and click on it with the mouse. Selecting this button will open up Ubuntu’s language downloading tool.

Step 5: Inside of Ubuntu’s language downloading tool, you will see a long list of potential languages available to install onto your system. Take the mouse, click on the scrollbar, and drag it to go through the list.

When you’ve found the language you need, click on the empty checkbox next to it. If you need to install multiple languages onto your Ubuntu Linux PC, do not worry! You can install more than one at a time! Simply go through and check as many of the boxes as you need!

Step 6: After selecting the checkboxes next to languages you would like to install, the language installation is ready to begin. Select the “Apply” button at the bottom of the window to tell Ubuntu to download the selected languages.

Just like when installing the language packages, Ubuntu requires that you enter your user’s password to install the new languages. In the pop-up box, enter your username. Then, select the “authenticate” button to continue on with the installation process.

When Ubuntu is done installing the selected languages onto your computer, close the “Language Support” window, as it is no longer needed.

Step 7: After installing the language packs, close the Region & Language window. Then, re-open it. The Region & Language window must be closed and reopened as it will not recognize newly downloaded languages without a restart.

Step 8: Find the “Language” section and click on it with the mouse. Upon selecting the “Language” area, you will see your newly downloaded languages inside of the menu. Click on the language to set Ubuntu to it. Then, reboot your PC.

Upon logging back into your Ubuntu PC, it’ll be using the new language! Enjoy!

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