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

Applies to: SharePoint Online, SharePoint Server 2019, SharePoint Server 2016, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise.

As a site collection administrator, you can utilise the Multiple Language User Interface (MUI) command to provide individual users with the ability to edit the display language for their site’s or to design sites in different languages than the preset SharePoint language.

What is a site’s user interface?

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

Using the MUI feature enables you to present the following user interface elements in various 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 select language settings for a site. Additionally, if you are using SharePoint Server, the SharePoint administrator must first release language packs for your preferred languages to set. Installing language packs for SharePoint in Microsoft 365 is not required.

  1. From a site page, choose Settings  Settings button from SharePoint Online , pick Site Settings. If you don’t see Site settings, press Site information and then select View all site settings. Some pages might force you to choose Site contents, and then Site settings.
  1. On the settings page, in the Site Administration section, press 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.

  1. Pick the languages you want to make available: 
  • If you’re using a communication site excluding page translations, or using a Team site or a classic site, click the checkboxes beside every language you want to make available.
  1. If you want to overwrite site translations in the site interface, tap Yes below Overwrite Translations. If you’re on a communication site with page translations switched on, choose Advanced and then press Yes under Overwrite Translations.
  1. Click OK.

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

After you toggle on different languages for your site, you can compose new lists or libraries in one language, then present the site in another language, and amend the list or library name for that language. The same process is transferrable across 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 choose is generated by the language packs that are installed on the SharePoint servers for your organisation. These language packs are mandated to installed by a server farm administrator—that is, someone in your IT organisation with the necessary appropriate permission levels to download language packs onto your organisation’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

Once you use a multilingual user interface and allow users to manually translate site elements in their preferred language, you can decide to update 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 is omitted from modern page content.

If you are using classic publishing sites, this option is applicable to the Content Editor web part, which illustrates content in the chosen alternate language when MUI is activated.

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