This administrator guide explains how to set up CiviCRM to run in one of the other supported languages. This includes the installation of language files (civicrm-l10n.tar.gz), how to update those files between releases, the various language settings and performance tips.
This guide is part of the translation documentation, which includes more information on support, community and other pointers.
CiviCRM installation in another language than US-English
To install CiviCRM in another language, you must first download and copy the translation files to the correct location on your server:
Download the translations distribution - civicrm-<version>-l10n.tar.gz - from the CiviCRM downloads page. This compressed file contains all files for the latest available translations.
Uncompress the file and you will see a directory called civicrm, containing two subdirectories called l10n and sql.
The l10n directory contains a set of sub-directories named using their local codes. Example: the French translation files will located in /civicrm/l10n/fr_FR).
The sql directory contains files requires for the initial installation of CiviCRM. It is important to install in your target language so that the default CiviCRM configurations are set in the correct language. Otherwise you will have to review and reconfigure many options.
Copy this l10n directory, together with all its subdirectories into your CiviCRM root directory. Note: if creating the l10n folder manually, the first letter is a lowercase 'L', as in 'localization'.
For Joomla this would be site_root/administrator/components/com_civicrm/civicrm. So if you wanted the en_GB language it would look like this site_root/administrator/components/com_civicrm/civicrm/l10n/en_GB/.
For Drupal this would be site_root/sites/all/modules/civicrm. So if you wanted the en_GB language it would look like this site_root/sites/all/modules/civicrm/l10n/en_GB/.
For WordPress this could be site_root/wp-content/plugins/civicrm/civicrm. Note the double civicrm! So if you wanted the en_GB language it would look like this site_root/wp-content/plugins/civicrm/civicrm/l10n/en_GB/.
Changing the default CiviCRM language after installation
The best option is to install directly into the language you wish to use. If you had not initially installed the localization files, we recommend to re-install with those files installed.
However, you can still change the language later on:
Go to Administer > Localization > Languages, currencies and locations
Select the new default language.
Update the default currency, money formatting options, default country, etc.
You will also probably want to update the date and time formats:
Go to Administer > Localization > Date Formats.
Finally, you may notice that many other options in CiviCRM will not be correctly translated:
Individual prefixes (Mrs, M, etc)
Gender options (M, F, other)
Address Location Types
Some fieldsets in the "Edit Contact" screen
These are known in CiviCRM as Option Values, and there are many of these.
To avoid having to change every single setting, you can install the following extension: fixoptiontranslations. Once the extension is enabled, all options will have been translated. The extension can then be uninstalled and removed.
By default, CiviCRM looks in [civicrm.root]/l10n for translation files. Since CiviCRM 5.23, there is a new setting available to store those files in another directory. This can be convenient when files are updated regularly, or when using the l10nupdate extension, which requires the files to be web-writable.