Language switching tools (OS X)


Developers and translators often need to test their localizations before approving them.

Using OS X System Preferences

System Preferences iconThis option is open to everyone, but there are easier alternatives available if you are testing localizations on a regular basis (see below). Changing the global OS X language in System Preferences will launch any new application in that language. To do this:

  • Select Apple > System Preferences > Language & Text
  • Select the Language tab
  • Drag the required language to the top of the list

Ignore the warning about restarting – this is only if you want your entire system to change language. If you open any application which has your chosen localisation, it will launch in the language at the top of the list. If not, the application will launch in the default language, in which it was written (usually English).


LinguaSwitch from Applingua LinguaSwitch Icon

LinguaSwitch is Applingua’s own language switching tool. The app allows you to drag and drop an app from your computer, choose a language and launch. It also allows you to open several instances of the same program so you can compare English with localised languages.

LinguaSwitch is available from the Mac App Store here.


LanguagesService from Arizona Software

LanguagesService is an OSX service extension that adds a contextual menu item to the right-click function. Download and double-click to install. Right-click (two-finger-click / ctrl-click) an application, choose Services and then choose “Show Languages…”. A new window will appear where you can launch the application in your preferred language.

Download LanguagesService from Arizona Software’s website.


Language Switcher from TJ-HD Software Language Switcher Icon

Language Switcher is a tool from TJ-HD Software which allows you to run multiple copies of the same application in different languages simultaneously. On launch, Language Switcher indexes your hard drive for available applications. Users can then choose the application, or search for it, select their preferred language and launch.

Language switcher is available for free via TJ-HD’s website.


Alfred Plugin: Open in Language…

Alfred is an incredibly sophisticated document search and application launcher. Jetplane Journal author, Adrian Thomas, has created his own Alfred Plugin to launch an application in your chosen language. It’s fast and convenient if you’re an Alfred PowerPack user.

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