How To Give Your Moodle LMS The Gift Of Multi-Language ‘langpacks’

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Give Your Moodle 3.3 The Gift Of Multi-Language Packs

Updated on May 15, 2020.

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Thanks not only to the incredibly generous, but also super fast, contributions of the polyglot “Moodlers” around, the Moodle LMS is available in dozens of languages and counting.

The global nature of Moodle and its community has created a strong incentive to make the ability to add additional languages to a site fairly easy. The translation tools have been created with care and enjoy a dedicated tool (AMOS-Automated Manipuation of Strings) and Moodle site (lang.moodle.org).

Installing several languages can have tremendous impact in the reach of a Moodle site with little to no monetary or perfomance cost. Anecdotally, sites who have installed up to 20 languages have seen no negative impact on performance.

How to install a language pack

  1. Go to the Moodle Documentation page for Language Packs and find the link download link corresponding to the version of Moodle you want your site to support.
  2. Log in to your Moodle site using a role with administrative permissions.
  3. Go to Administration > Site administration > Language > Language packs
  4. See the two lists: “Installed language packs” and “Available language packs.” On the “Available” list, click on the langpack you want to add. Select several langpacks by holding the Ctrl key while clicking on languages.
  5. Click “Install selected language packs.” Reload. Clear the cache if you want to be make extra sure.
  6. Your Moodle is now a multi-language site.

Important notes and tips

  • Langpacks may not have every string that appears in Moodle translated. If the page shows an item that is not translated, the English string will appear in its place. You can be reasonably confident that the volunteers focus on the most important copy first, as they make their way towards 100% completion.
  • Not every langpack is the same. There are “child” and “parent” langpacks. “Child” langpacks are variations of a “parent” and require that parent to be installed as well. For example, Canadian French (the fr_ca langpack) requires the fr langpack. The Spanish Mexican for Kids langpack, es_mx_kids requires es_mx, which in turns requires the es langpack.
  • Check for updates regularly. From the Language Packs admin page you can click on the “Update all installed language packs” button, or select the individual languages you want to update.
  • If you want to customize string and use your own desired wording, you can create your own “custom child” langpack. See details here. You can also customize some expressions with the “Language customization” options.
  • A language pack covers a Moodle site, but it cannot extend to course contents. See more about translating Moodle courses.
  • If you are looking to add content in multiple languages that display according to the user’s language, check out the documentation on multi-language content filters.
  • Help translate Moodle! Visit the documentation to know how to get involved.

Current state of selected langpacks as of May, 2020 (Moodle 3.8)

As found on download.moodle.org/langpack/3.8

👶 = Kids version parent langpack available

  • Basque (eu): 99%
  • Bhutanese (Dzongkha) (dz): 79%
  • Brazilian Portuguese (pt_br): 97%
  • Catalan (ca): 84%
  • Chinese Mandarin (Simplified) (zh_cn): 83%
  • Croatian (hr): 86%
  • Czech (cs): 99%
  • Danish (da): 89%
  • Dutch (nl): 99% 👶
  • English (en): 100% 👶
  • Estonian (et): 91%
  • Farsi (fa): 68%
  • Finnish (fi): 76%
  • French (fr): 99%
  • German (de): 99%
  • Greek (el): 99% 👶
  • Hebrew (he): 78% 👶
  • Hungarian (hu): 99%
  • Italian (it): 98%
  • Japanese (ja): 99% 👶
  • Korean (ko): 65%
  • Lithuanian (lt): 80%
  • Mexican Spanish (es_mx): 99% 👶
  • Norwegian (no): 99%
  • Polish (pl): 83%
  • Portuguese: (pt) 99%; (pt_br): 97%
  • Russian (ru): 93%
  • Serbian (sr_cr sr_lt): 97%
  • Spanish (es): 87%
  • Tagalog (tl): 24%
  • Taiwanese Mandarin (zh_tw): 85%
  • Thai (th): 23%
  • Turkis (tr): 76%
  • Ukrainian (uk): 82%
  • Vietnamese (vi): 37%

More resources

More information on Moodle language packs here

Full list of language codes, ISO 639-1 classification


This Moodle Practice related post is made possible byeThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.