Make multiple languages available for your site's user interface

As a site collection owner, you can use a new feature in Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 to support users who speak different languages: Multiple Language User Interface (MUI).

In this article


You can use the Multiple Language User Interface (MUI) feature to let individual users change the display language for their site’s user interfaces, or to create sites in different languages than the default language for your SharePoint installation.

 Important    The MUI feature is not a translation tool: MUI changes the display language for the default interface elements that come with SharePoint Foundation 2010, but does not translate any custom interface elements you might have added.

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, such as the menus, the navigation items, and the recycle bin.

With the MUI feature, you can display the following user interface elements in different languages:

  • 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 SharePoint 2010 language for your installation, or, if your site will have users who cannot work in the default language that you plan to use for the site.

Make sure the language packs you need are installed

The list of available languages from which users can select the display language of their user interface is generated by the language packs that are installed on the server computers for your organization’s SharePoint installation.

These language packs must be installed by a server farm administrator—that is, someone in your IT organization who has the appropriate permissions levels to download language packs onto your organization’s server computers.

After the language packs have been installed, you as a site collection owner, use the Language Settings page to make a language available. Then, a user who is logged on to the site can select an alternative language in which to display the site for his or her own personal use.

 Note    This changes the user interface for that user only, and does not affect how the site is displayed to other users. Also, any site content (as opposed to user interface elements) that was created in the site’s default language will still be displayed in the default language.

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

As a site owner, after the language packs are deployed, do the following:

  1. Click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
  2. Under the Site Administration group, click Language Settings.

Choose Language Settings

  1. In the Alternate Language section, check the checkbox for the languages you want users to be able to use to display their user interfaces. In this illustration, the only language pack installed is French, so French is the only alternative language available for you to select.

Set language for users

  1. Click OK.

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

After you turn on alternative 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.

With managed metadata, you can define multilingual term sets and share the taxonomy with multiple sites, site collections or farms.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Foundation 2010