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Viewing Web Sites in Spanish Automatically

Most Popular Browsers Allow Change in Language Settings

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Updated February 10, 2011

Question: I know that there are some websites that are made in more than one language. Is there a way I can make them automatically appear in Spanish rather than English when I go to them?

Answer: Yes, you can, and it usually is fairly easy, especially if your system is less than three or four years old.

Here are the methods you can use with the most popular browsers. All of these have been tested with Microsoft Windows 7 and/or the Maverick Meerkat (10.10) Ubuntu distribution of Linux. Approaches here are likely to be similar with earlier versions of the software or with other operating systems:

Microsoft Internet Explorer: Select the Tools menu on the upper-right of the page. Under the General tab, click on the Languages button near the bottom. Add Spanish, and move it to the top of the list.

Mozilla Firefox: Click on Edit near the top of the screen and select Preferences. Select Content from the menu, then pick Choose next to Languages. Add Spanish and move it to the top of the list.

Google Chrome: Click on the tools logo (a wrench) on the upper-right of the page, then select Preferences. Select the Under the Hood tab, then "Change font and language settings" under Web Content. Select the Languages tab, then add Spanish to the list and move it to the top.

Apple Safari: Safari is designed to use the language that the operating system has as its preference, so to change the browser's preferred language you end up changing the language of your computer menus and possibly the menus of other applications as well. An explanation of this is beyond the scope of this article; various hacks of Safari also are possible.

Opera: Click on the Tools menu and then Preferences. Then go to "Select your preferred language" at the bottom of the General tab. Add Spanish to the list and move it to the top.

Other browsers: If you're using a browser not listed above on a desktop system, you generally can find a language setting by selecting Preferences and/or Tools. Mobile browsers, however, generally rely on the system settings, and you may not be able to change the preferred language of the browser without also changing the preferred language of your entire system.

To see if your change in language preferences has worked, simply go to a site that offers content in multiple languages based on browser settings. Popular ones include the Google and Bing search engines. If your changes worked, the home page (and search results if you're testing on a search engine) should appear in Spanish.

Note that this change works only with sites that recognize your browser configuration and act accordingly. For other multilanguage sites, which usually display in English or the main language of the home country by default, you'll have to pick the Spanish-language version from the menus on the site.

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