Alternate language(s) in SharePoint 2010

Alternate languages feature (also called Multilingual User Interface - MUI) in SharePoint 2010 allows a logged on user to change the language to one of the supported alternate languages configured by the site administrator. Therefore with Alternate languages configured, when a user accesses a page, the language actually used will depend on the preferred language in user's browser. So if browser's preferred language is English, we can see 'lang="en-us"' in the page source.

When user switch between languages, following UI elements will be translated (but not site content):
  • Ribbon
  • Site Actions Menu
  • Site Settings Page
  • Lists and Site Column headers
  • Quick Launch Menu
  • Certain Messages displayed in out of the box Webparts
Configure alternate languages:
1. Install required language packs.

2. Go to Site Settings -> Language settings under Site Administration (Language settings option will not be shown if the language packs are not installed.)

3. Based on the language packs installed, we can see a list of languages in Language settings page under Alternative Language(s) section. Select required languages.

4. That’s it. Now a logged on user can switch between languages and UI elements will be translated accordingly.

5. Once the alternative languages selected, there will be two new options coming in the Site Settings page of the site under Site Administration section. Export Translations and Import Translations.

Site administrator can use Export Translations page to export the resource file of a specified language.

Then the translations can be changed as required and translated resource files can be imported back to the site using Import Translations option.