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Overview of SharePoint’s Multilingual Features

Author: M365 Outreach

Posted on Apr 12, 2021

Category: General Interest , Design Desk , Our Community , Tips and Tricks

SharePoint is overwhelmingly experienced in English. From site names and navigation to page content, the default setting is English. But did you know that SharePoint has features that can make your site a multilingual experience? Read on to learn more. 

Before we look at the steps you can take to add support for multiple languages on your site, we need to take a quick look at the parts of a SharePoint site: 

1) The user interface, which includes the:  

  • Site title and description 
  • SharePoint default menus and actions (e.g. ‘Settings’ and ‘Help’) 
  • Default and custom columns (the column names in document libraries and lists) 
  • Navigation bar links 

2) SharePoint page content, which includes page titles, written content, and web parts.  

A screenshot of a SharePoint communication site with the user interface and page content identified.

Turning on multiple languages for the user interface 

Site owners can add support for multiple languages for the user interface on any type of SharePoint site. To do this: 

  1. Click on the ‘Settings’ (gear icon) menu and click ‘Site information’. Click on the ‘View all site settings’ link just above the ‘Save’ button. 
  2. Click the ‘Language Settings’ link in the Site Administration section.  
  3. Select the languages you want to make available. (You may need to turn the ‘Enable pages and news to be translated into multiple languages’ toggle to ‘Yes’ before you can see these options). 
  4. Under Overwrite Translations, click ‘Yes’.  (You may need to select ‘Show advanced settings’ first to see this option, depending on your site). 

    Tip: Overwrite translations allows updates (e.g. changes to your site name or navigation) made in your default language (English) to be translated across all other languages. 

Your site visitors can now change the display language of the user interface for your site by: 
  1. Selecting their name or picture at the top of any SharePoint or Microsoft 365 site. 
  2. Select ‘My Office profile’ and then ‘Update profile’
  3. Select ‘How can I change language and regional settings?’ and then select the ‘here’ link. 
  4. In the ‘Edit Details’ screen, select the ellipsis (‘…’) and then ‘Language and Region’
  5. Select the ‘Pick a new language’ down arrow, select a language, and then ‘Add’.  
  6. Select ‘Save all and close’

Supporting SharePoint Page Content in Multiple Languages 

If you are an owner of a SharePoint Communication site, then you can turn on a feature that allows you to create SharePoint pages in multiple languages. This feature is not currently available for SharePoint Team sites. To turn this feature on: 

  1. Click on the ‘Settings’ (gear icon) menu and click ‘Site information’. Click on the ‘View all site settings’ link just above the ‘Save’ button. 
  2. Click the ‘Language Settings’ link in the Site Administration section.  
  3. Slide the ‘Enable pages and news to be translated into multiple languages’ toggle to ‘Yes’
  4. Under ‘Add or remove site languages’, start typing a language name in ‘Select or type a language’, or choose a language from the dropdown. You can repeat this step to add multiple languages. 
  5. You can add or remove languages from your site at any time by going back to this page. 
  6. Assign one or more translators for each language (except the site default language). In the Translator column, start typing the name of a person you want to be a translator, and then select the name from the list. You can assign anyone at UNB, but will need to make sure they have editing permissions for your site. If they do not, they will be redirected to the “Request access” page. 
  7. Click ‘Save’

You can now create translated pages for your site by:
  1. Going to the page you want to translate.  
  2. On the top bar, select ‘Translation’
  3. If you want to create a page for translation in each of all languages available for your site, select ‘Create for all languages’. Otherwise, select ‘Create’ only for the languages you want. 
  4. Translators you have assigned to the selected language(s) will receive an automated email letting them know that a page is ready for translating. 
  5. Once the new translated page is ready, you must publish/republish the original page so that the translated page is correctly connected to the original page. 


A drop down menu will now appear on the top right corner of your page content, where site visitors can switch between the different language versions of the page you have created. 

You can learn more about translating pages from Microsoft.  

Online training and monthly workshops are also available on the Microsoft 365 resource site at go.unb.ca/m365.