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Make Your Blog Speak Your Language

Lately, we've had a few folks complain about their blog, or parts of it, being in the wrong language.

Sometimes, it's not even a foreign language, just "?" everywhere.

There are several settings that you can make, which will have varying effects upon your web experience. Consider the effect of each setting, carefully. Some settings may be more relevant in the GUI Post Editor wizard, aka "Compose" mode.

  • Some settings will vary by browser, and will affect all websites that you view, from this browser, from this computer.
    • In Firefox, go Tools - Options - Content tab. Under Fonts & Colors, hit the Advanced button. Check the selection at the top, "Fonts for:", and the one at the bottom, "Character Encoding". On my browser, they are "Western" and "Western (ISO-8859-1)", respectively.
    • In Internet Explorer, go Tools - Internet Options - General tab. Look at the bottom of the window.
      • Hit the Languages button, and look at the list under Language Preference. With IE, you can have multiple languages, ordered by preference. Be selective, and remove the entries that you don't need.
      • Hit the Fonts button, and check your Language script. On my browser, it's "Latin based".
  • Then you have a setting that affects all blogs, as you view them, using this Google profile, from any computer that you use. Go to the dashboard, and select from the Language pulldown list, at the top of the sidebar on the right. The list is now multilingual, with the primary label for each entry being in the local language, and a secondary label for each entry being in the targeted language. So you can always find the label for your language, in your language. It won't be in the same position in the list, as you are accustomed, but it will be somewhere in the list, and you should be able to spot your language.
  • And you have a setting that affects all of the readers, for each individual blog that you publish. Under the Blogger dashboard page Settings - "Language and formatting", check the Language setting. This can affect both the character set, and the font, as well. Each of my blogs normally display in English, though you can now read them (as of 2008/09/11) in any of 23 other languages, if you like.
  • And yet another setting - Transliteration, which affects all of your blogs. Under Settings - Basic - Global Settings (Classic GUI) / Settings - "Language and formatting" (New GUI), you can enable a feature in the post editor, which will convert the characters, as you type, from the Roman alphabet to whatever transliterated alphabet you have selected. Originally, the only selection was Hindi; now we have a choice of any of 19 non Roman character languages. If you're seeing odd characters appear in the post, as you type, check this setting.

These are my settings, if you live in another country, or speak another language, adjust your settings accordingly. Hopefully, you will find the instructions here referential, if not absolutely correct, for you. If you publish your blog(s) in a language other than English, you may want to provide similar instructions for your readers.

The browser language setting is being overridden by Blogger, to keep Blogger access multi-lingual. When you're not logged in to Google, the various Google services will default to using a language that's relevant to the geographical location of the computer. If you're in China, for instance, you'll probably see your login screen in Chinese - unless you are able to use a non local language URL modifier. And as Google tries to make their services more globally friendly, miscellaneous oddities will be seen, occasionally.

Bottom line? Until you login, if you're in a foreign country, you may have to learn to speak the local language just a bit. Or, load your blog (and go by blog language), and log in from there.

(Note): After making any changes, as always, refresh your cache.


neighborsgrrl said…
Thanks for posting those instructions -- they were very clear. I don't understand why Blogger was interpreting my second choice of language fonts (Russian) as a default choice instead of English, but no matter, what you suggested solved the problem.
Lu said…
Still, the monthes in my archive are shown in english, though my blog's language is set to Brazilian Portuguese. It's funny, cause when I try to edit it from Template, Page elements, the pop up shows the monthes in portuguese.
David said…
It is very difficult to even find the dashboard when you can't read the language.

I hope the button below says "submit." I can't read it because it is in Finnish.
bytehead said…
I can't even check my font options. My Firefox was automagically updated, and it appears that they took away Options away from us. Using Linux here, FF

I guess I'll try IE when I get home
bytehead said…
OK, the second thing to do cured me.

Thanks for the help!
Andrius said…
thanks for instruction, but what you reccomend for me? I am lithuanian and I changed all blog settings to my own language. But I couldn't find lithuanian language in dashboard/change language. And as far as I understand if I can not change language in dashboard, I have archive months only in english?
Chuck said…

I think Blogger is adding new languages as best they can. My guess is you have to be patient. Of course, you could let Blogger know that they should include Lithuanian in their list.
Dear friends,
Unfortunately, Catalan language is STILL NOT available in Blogger service,
so (until it is implemented ) I would like to know , how to do , how to change -translate

Spanish text

Publicado por (Posted / published by)
at (at)
comentarios (comments)
vĂ­nculos a esta entrada (links to this post)
Etiquetas (tags)

into Catalan ? -->

Publicat per
a les
vincles a aquest post/article

or ... actually any other piece of text we fancy...

I've had an in depth look at the code of my template but I could'nt
find out where to change it .... nor how to do it.

This trouble also affects hundreds (thousands? ) of Catalan bloggers who
ARE NOT ABLE to post theirs Blogspot Blogs in proper Catalan!!!
Your help would be of foremost importance to all of us.

Thanks a lot.

I managed to do it in another Blog Service, beacause these pieces of text were part of the template and appeared like this 'text' so you only had to swap a word for another.

But with the template I chose I cant't find out how to change it.
Chuck said…
There are hundreds of different languages world wide. Blogger won't be available in all of them, immediately. Somebody - either you, or somebody else, will have to wait for a while, to have Blogger in their native tongue.

Be patient. Even AltaVista's Babel Fish only covers a few languages.
Thanks a lot for giving me a "Maybe one day" as an answer, instead of a "No way out,pal, NO, Never..."
"Menos da una piedra" as they say in Spanish ... ;-)

Anyway, note that I wasn't actually asking for Blogger to implement Catalan asap ... (although it would be a great thing for some 10 million speakers) but asking for a hint on what to do (with just a piece of code, maybe?) that could help to soften the linguistic "minor" BIG TROUBLE, ... in the interim ...;-)
Do I manage to get that clear?

Friendly hugs, Chuck

None of this worked for me. I don't want to have to delete my blog. :(
Chuck said…

You posted at the end of a closed thread, and your problem wasn't the same as the OP had. Obviously.

Start a new thread, and give us details about your problem. Threads are free - live a little.
unmai said…
Thanks for the valuable article and the comments. My blogg working fine with my native language(Tamil). My problem is how to add comments in Tamil. When I use the blogg Editor it works fine but not the comment textarea. Are there any settings for fonts. Any suggestions pls?
Olav F. Knudsen said…
All of the above advice I've tried too, and nothing works. I live in Spain but the language of my blog is English, as is mostly that of my readers. But my navbar and instructions to readers in the comments section all come out in Spanish. Do my readers all have to have (=acquire) a Google account and log into that account in order to navigate my blog? In that case, what a hassle and what a potentially huge share of my readers I'll lose!
Chuck said…

If your blog is public (NO designated readers), no, your readers will not need a Google account (or any authentication) to navigate your blog. Depending upon how the blog is setup, they may not even need a Google account to leave you comments.

If you want to explore what problems you have yet to solve, post in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, so we can diagnose your problems.

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