It used to be so easy in Leopard via the information dialog one could set any application to start in the desired language. Some programs like Things or the Adobe Creative Suite are simply more effective in english. I want to have this feature back - but how…?

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    In addition to following the directions below, you may want to contact the developers of those applications to let them know that their localization needs improvement.
    – s4y
    Oct 5, 2009 at 22:23
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    It's a new 'feature' of Snow Leopard, that you can’t change the default language anymore via the information dialog. :(
    – patrick
    Oct 8, 2009 at 10:02

4 Answers 4


If you only want to do it occasionally, then look at the LaunchApp Plugin.

If you want to set it on a more permanent basis, run this script in a terminal window (a Terminal Window from /Applications/Utilities/Terminal):

defaults write $(mdls -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier -raw /Applications/Path\ to\ App.app) AppleLanguages "(de, en)"

Where you replace the path to your application (remember to escape spaces with a backslash) and the language codes with whatever you are looking for. After running this script, the application will always launch in whatever language you've specified first (assuming that language exists).

If you ever want to remove the preference, use:

defaults delete $(mdls -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier -raw /Applications/Path\ to\ App.app) AppleLanguages
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    The 2nd solution via Terminal seems to be exactly what I’m looking for. Would you be so kind give me one real life example instead of placeholders. Like this for changing RapidWeaver from launching in german to english: > defaults write $(mdls -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier -raw /Applications/RapidWeaver.app to RapidWeaver.app) AppleLanguages "(en, de)" I’m kind of struggling to find the right way to enter it in terminal. I always get > Unexpected argument find; leaving defaults unchanged. Thanks a lot so far.
    – patrick
    Sep 25, 2009 at 8:55
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    You almost got it, just get rid of the to App.app part: defaults write $(mdls -name kMDItemCFBundleIdentifier -raw /Applications/RapidWeaver.app) AppleLanguages "(en, de)"
    – s4y
    Oct 5, 2009 at 22:21
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    Thanks SidneySM I would gibe you my 'arrow up' and 'check' if I could :) Works like charm.
    – patrick
    Oct 6, 2009 at 12:47

One could manually remove all the other languages of an application by right-clicking it > show package content < and remove all unwanted languages.

But this is far of from an elegant solution. :(

  • Just wanted to let you know that I like this solution for apps with a shoddy translation to my locale. I'd much prefer English over a mucky attempt with errors everywhere, so I was glad to find I could just delete it :)
    – Joost
    Feb 16, 2014 at 14:25

There’s now an application which handles the task elegantly; you can even set the language permanently: Language Switcher.

Update: There is now another application which is available in the MAS: App Language Chooser.


Just to let you know, some applications, such as Adobe's Creative Suite, only install in one language. It's often not possible to switch like you can do with so many other OS X apps.

If interested, we also make another Language Switching app available on the MAS: http://itunes.apple.com/app/linguaswitch/id464896493?mt=12

All solutions to changing app language are based on what's available in the app bundle itself. They can't provide you with new languages by translating on the fly, as I notice some users of LinguaSwitch thought.

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