How to Change Joomla 3 Admin and Site Language

Joomla is built with a feature that allows you to change the default language of the admin panel and the frontend site at any time. Besides English, you can use multiple other languages to meet the demands of your site visitors and contributors. This tutorial will show you how.

Install the Preferred Language

Due to the vast popularity, Joomla has been translated into more than 50 languages. As Joomla installation comes with one default language only, you will need to install the language(s) you’d like to use first before changing the language used on your site.

Before the release of Joomla 3, you have to find and download the language packages from the web, and then install them in Joomla control panel. But now, Joomla 3 makes it easy to complete the task.

Firstly, log into your Joomla control panel and go to Extensions > Language Manager. Then click on the “Install Language” button on the upper left.

Install Language

Secondly, find the language you need in the list of available languages and click on the “Install” button. If you cannot find the one in the list, then you need to use the “Find languages” button.

Find Languages

Now select the language package you’d like to use and click on the “Install” button in the menu bar. However, you must make sure the language package matches the Joomla version of your site. To make an example, we will install Korean.

Install Korean

When you see a green message telling that the installation has succeeded, going back to Extensions > Language Manager, you can see the language listed on the page.

Language Manager - Korean

Change the Language of Joomla Admin

Maybe you have noticed that the left sidebar of Language Manager includes a menu for “Installed – Administrator”. Clicking on it, you can see all the languages available for Joomla control panel. You are free to set any language among them as the default one by clicking on the hollow star to make it “yellow”.

Change Joomla Admin Language

Now the Joomla control panel works in the newly installed language.

Joomla Control Panel in New Language

Change the Language of the Frontend Site

Changing the site language is nearly the same as the task discussed above. You only need to go to “Installed – Site”, and then set the preferred language as the default by clicking on the star.

Change Joomla Site Language

Now visit the frontend of your site and you can see that the system-generated contents are displayed in the new language. Of course, the custom contents are not translated automatically. If you want those contents all work in the new language, you will need to translate them manually.

Joomla Site in New Language

Change the Language Used by a Single User

You have made site-wide changes to Joomla control panel and website, but if you have multiple contributors using different languages, you may want to allow some of them use their own languages. In this case, you can specify the admin and site language for a single user by following the steps below.

Go to Users > User Manager, and select a user to edit.

User Manager

Under the “Basic Settings” tab, you can select a language for the user from the drop-down menu. The frontend language and backend language can be set separately. The settings saved here will only apply to the user.

Change the Language of a User