Changing the current language

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Revision as of 18:30, 28 January 2011 by Acharles (talk | contribs) (Current list of supported non-English languages (47): changed beta suport indicator; fixed order)
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Audacity can display in many non-English languages. Choose the language on first run of Audacity, thence your settings are stored in the computer, even if Audacity is re-installed. You can change the current language on the Interface tab of Preferences then restart Audacity, or exit Audacity then modify the stored settings.
In current Audacity Beta, the operating system language is used automatically on first run, and no restart is necessary after changing language in Preferences.


Change language in the program

To change the language in the program:

  1. Click Edit > Preferences (Audacity > Preferences on a Mac computer)
  2. Find the Interface tab along the top of Preferences (or in the left panel in Audacity Beta)
  3. Choose the specific language required in the "Language" box
  4. Click OK then File > Exit (Audacity > Quit Audacity on Mac) to restart

Note: Restart is not essential in Audacity 1.3.5 or later, but a few menu items may not change until restart.

If only "English" or "System" choices are in the Languages box, ensure the "Languages" folder is in the correct location:

Windows: C:\Program Files\Audacity\Languages (or inside the Audacity Beta installation folder)
OS X: /Applications/audacity/Languages
Linux: /usr/share/locale if Audacity was installed from a repository package, or /usr/local/share/locale if you compiled Audacity from source code

Navigating the menus in an unfamiliar language

If you cannot read the menus because the text is in an unfamiliar language or has ??? characters, try this:

  1. Click on the second menu from the left in the Audacity menus top left of the screen (note: first menu from the left on Mac), then on the bottom item of that menu. This opens the Preferences
  2. Click on the sixth tab from the left (you may have to click on the pointing arrows top right of the Preferences window to reveal this tab). In this tab you will see a box containing a list of the language choices. Select the language you want and press "ENTER" on your keyboard. In a 1.3.x version of Audacity, the tabs of the Preferences are laid out in a panel on the left, so click on the 6th tab from the top in that left-hand panel (fourth tab from the top in Audacity 1.3.5 to 1.3.7, fifth tab from the top in 1.3.8 or later). Then find the dropdown box that contains the list of languages.
  3. Exit Audacity by clicking on the first tab on the left in the Audacity menus then on the bottom item of that menu, then re-launch it (this step is not essential in Audacity 1.3.5 or later)


Change language in the system settings

Audacity 1.2

To change language in the system settings, first exit Audacity, then locate the settings file as follows:

  • Windows: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Audacity\ in the Windows Registry
  • OS X: /SystemDrive/Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/audacity Preferences/audacity
  • Linux: the file ~/.audacity

In the settings there is a preference value under "Locale" called "Language". Set this value to that of your preferred language, then Audacity will run in that language. For example, if you set this value to "en" (without quotes) the language will be English, "de" will set the language to German and so on.

Alternatively, either delete the "Locale" line in the "audacity" file or the "Locale" Registry key at

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Audacity\Audacity\Locale

You will then be asked to choose the language again the next time you run Audacity.

Warning icon Modifying the Windows Registry can be dangerous! Before modifying the Registry, always back it up or set a System Restore point (on XP or later). To access System Restore, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.


Windows users wanting to revert to English language without editing the Registry directly can instead go here, scroll to the bottom of the page and right-click over "Audacity reset Preferences .reg file for Windows". Save this .reg file to your drive, then double-click it and click "yes" when asked if you want to add the information to the Registry. Note this will reset most of your Audacity Preferences to safe default values, in addition to setting the language to English.

Audacity 1.3 (Beta)

For versions 1.3.1 onwards, Audacity Preferences are stored in a configuration file called audacity.cfg in the Audacity settings folder. The configuration file can be edited with any text editor. The Audacity settings folder is located at:

  • Windows 98/ME: Windows\Application Data\Audacity
  • Windows 2000/XP: Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Audacity
  • Windows Vista/7: Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Audacity
  • OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/audacity
  • Linux: ~/.audacity-data

To change language, exit Audacity and either change the line under [Locale] to your preferred language, for example "Language=en" (without quotes) to choose English, "Language=de" to choose German, or delete the [Locale] line. Then restart Audacity. If you deleted the [Locale] line you will be asked when launching Audacity to choose your language again.

A quicker alternative if you have (or ever had) Audacity 1.2.6 running in your preferred language is to delete audacity.cfg. Audacity 1.3 or later will then take its language and other 1.2 settings from the stored 1.2 values. Preference settings in 1.3 which have no equivalent in 1.2 will return to default.


Supported non-English languages

As well as US English, the Audacity software supports a significant number of other languages. There are no localised versions of Audacity. Instead, single versions of Audacity for the various operating platforms are shipped with a "Languages" folder containing gettext .mo files. These files are then used to display the different languages.

All translations are provided by volunteers and may at times be incomplete, especially in Beta versions of Audacity. Any untranslated parts of the software will appear in English. We are always looking for new volunteers to help translate not only Audacity itself but also the main Audacity web site and Manual.

1.2 versions of Audacity are not Unicode. Therefore languages containing non-Latin characters may not automatically display correctly unless the operating system is installed in that language. For example, to make Audacity 1.2 display Russian correctly on Windows installed in English, go to the Regional and Language Options in the Windows Control Panel, then choose Russian as the language for non-Unicode applications. For some languages you may have to install additional operating system support, such as for East Asian or right-to-left languages.

1.3 versions of Audacity are Unicode (except for ANSI builds intended for Windows 98/ME). They should display non-English languages correctly on any localisation of the operating system if the system supports that language.

Current list of supported non-English languages (47)

  • af Afrikaans
  • ar Arabic
  • eu Basque
  • be Belarusian β
  • bn Bengali
  • bs Bosnian
  • bg Bulgarian
  • my Burmese β
  • ca Catalan
  • zh Chinese (Simplified)
  • zh_tw Chinese (Taiwan)
  • cy Cymraeg (Welsh)
  • cs Czech
  • da Danish
  • nl Dutch
  • fa Farsi (Persian) β
  • fi Finnish
  • fr French
  • ga Gaelige
  • gl Galician
  • ka Georgian β
  • de German
  • el Greek
  • he Hebrew β
  • hi Hindi β
  • hu Hungarian
  • id Indonesian β
  • it Italian
  • ja Japanese
  • km Khmer β
  • ko Korean β
  • lt Lithuanian
  • mk Macedonian
  • nb Norwegian (Bokmal)
  • oc Occitan β
  • pl Polish
  • pt Portuguese β
  • pt_br Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • ro Romanian β
  • ru Russian
  • sk Slovak
  • sl Slovenian
  • es Spanish
  • sv Swedish
  • tg Tajik β
  • tr Turkish
  • uk Ukrainian
  • ca_valencia Valencian
  • vi Vietnamese β



β - Audacity Beta only
Languages struck out have written translations but won't appear in Audacity until wxWidgets supports them.