Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 23:42

This quick guide explains the steps to change desktop language for both Ubuntu 18.04 and Trisquel 8.0 to German, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, and revert back to English. Here I also give an example (Indonesian) in installing manually a Language Pack which by default is not installed so you will understand how to do the same for another languages (Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, etc.). Enjoy Ubuntu and Trisquel in your own language!

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The Settings

To change desktop language, open System Settings > Region & Language > click on the Language field > a list of languages appearing like picture below.

The Results

By changing to German, Russian, Spanish, or Indonesian, or else, you will have a dialog once logged in asking to change the names of your personal folders according to chosen language (e.g. from English "Pictures" to: German "Bilder" or Indonesian "Gambar" or Spanish "Imagenes"). Click Update Names button or the button on the right side to accept changes.

This will show once you logged in

1. German

Choose "German (Germany)" and re-login and accept changing folder names.


2. Russian

Choose "Russian (Russia Federation)".


3. Spanish

Choose "Spanish (Spain)".


4. Indonesian

Choose "Bahasa Indonesia". If it is not mentioned on the list, install its Language Pack first. See next section.

Bahasa Indonesia

Install Language Pack 

Indonesian, Arabic, Japanese, or another language (called 'Language Pack') may be not available by default therefore need to be installed manually in order to use it on your desktop. To do so, go to desktop menu > find out Language & Region > click Install/Remove Languages > select language pack you wish i.e. Indonesia > click Apply > let it download the files from the internet > installed. To use it, simply select the language from the System Settings mentioned above. This language pack installation method is applicable for both Ubuntu and Trisquel.

Note: some language packs like Japanese may include huge size fonts to support their alphabets.

How to install language pack on both Ubuntu and Trisquel


1. The Settings

Overall, the steps to change language are just the same as Ubuntu's. Nothing differ except the setting dialog is located under desktop menu > System > Preferences > Personal > Language Support. You will see Language Support dialog showing like below.

Note: if you cannot run it from menu, use Terminal to invoke it:  $ gnome-language-selector .

Language list and dragging a language to the top

2. German, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, or Else

To change language, click and drag a language name and drop it on the top of the list. Top language there will be the desktop language. And please note some languages may displayed in their respective other names, for example, displaying Spanish as "Espanol" and Russian as "русский".


On Ubuntu, simply go back to System Settings again and select "English (United States)" and re-login and accept changes to folders name once again.

On Trisquel, go back to Language Support and drag "English (United States)" to the top of the list and re-login. 

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.