Change the language of a specific OS X app

When taking screenshots for this blog, I always have to temporarily change the language of whichever application I’m writing about to English, as normally my system language is Swedish. Thankfully, this is a fairly simple task.

Update: It turns out there is an easier way to do this, posted by Yanik Magnan.

All language files are located inside the application folder > Contents > Resources. (To access the application folder of any app, right-click it and choose View Contents.) Each language is represented by a folder with the extension .lproj. For example:

  • English.lproj
  • Dutch.lproj
  • fi.lproj (Finnish)
  • sv.lproj (Swedish)

If you temporarily or permanently remove any of the non-English directories, the application will use English. It is this method that I use myself to take English-language screenshots.

If you want to use another language that is not English, then you must rename the target language’s folder to the name of your system language. For example, if your system language is Swedish and you want to the application to be in Dutch:

  1. Rename sv.lproj to sv.lproj.old
  2. Rename Dutch.lproj to sv.lproj

As you cannot rename these folders in the Finder, you have to use the mv command in Terminal.

Dutch Terminal in Dutch.

2 Responses to “Change the language of a specific OS X app”

  1. Yanik Magnan says:

    There used to be an option in the Get Info window that would let you choose which language to use when running an app, but it was removed in Snow Leopard for unknown reasons.

    There is also a way to do it by setting a preference via the defaults command in the Terminal, see this Super User post for more info:

  2. John Ankarström replies to Yanik Magnan:

    Huh, thanks for the tip! That looks a lot easier than what I’ve been doing.

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