Feature #9773

Please add option in preferences to change UI language

Added by alMalsamo Prod about 6 years ago. Updated about 5 years ago.

Closed: won't fix
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:


Estimated time:
Affected Version:
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I notice that whatever my system locale is, Darktable renders the UI in this language. There are many use cases where it may be desirable to switch between any of the UI translations that Darktable supports independently from the operating system locale configuration (which is often cumbersome to change, requiring at least a restart of X11).

Please add the option to switch between UI languages in the preferences of Darktable!

Thank you.


#1 Updated by Simon Spannagel about 6 years ago

We had this implemented some time ago but it wasn't really working so we decided to remove it again.

You can always start darktable from command line using

$ LANG=LANG_CODE darktable

to start it in a different language. English for example (which is probably what you want in most cases when fiddling around with this) would be
$ LANG=C darktable

I'll close that ticket since we want to keep the amount of turning knobs low anyways and this offers a convenient way. Feel free to comment if this is not what you are looking for.


#2 Updated by Simon Spannagel about 6 years ago

  • Status changed from New to Closed: won't fix

#3 Updated by Simon Spannagel about 6 years ago

  • Priority changed from High to Low

#4 Updated by Tobias Ellinghaus about 6 years ago

For the record, you can also set it in ~/.config/darktable/darktablerc permanently, the key is ui_last/gui_language.

#5 Updated by Paolo Astengo almost 6 years ago

Tobias Ellinghaus wrote:

For the record, you can also set it in ~/.config/darktable/darktablerc permanently, the key is ui_last/gui_language.

Hi Tobias,

what value I have to write in this key to have english language? I've tried with C and EN with no results

#6 Updated by Tobias Ellinghaus almost 6 years ago

C should work. Are there any error messages when you start darktable from a shell? And what does the corresponding line in the config file look like exactly?

#7 Updated by Paolo Astengo almost 6 years ago

I've found the issue.

The function that read the rc file does not strip leading and trailing spaces, so, you must be careful to write "C" without any spaces before or after the string.
Do you think better to modify the rc reading function?

Now, with no spaces after the string, the ui language works correctly

#8 Updated by Viktor Hedefalk about 5 years ago

ui_last/gui_language in ~/.config/darktable/darktablerc doesn't bite for me, whitespace or not.

Can't find a way to permenantly start with english. I'm just trying to be a user of this app and being on Mac it feels pretty hacky to need to start from command line.

Swedish as GUI language for a digital photo app just doesn't make any sense for most Swedes. Weird words you can't google. "Tjudring" apparantly means "teathering" :)

Pretty please, can you make sure there is some way to permanently set language and still start without a terminal window? Maybe the key has just changed?

#9 Updated by Igor Kuzmin about 5 years ago

  • bitness set to 64-bit
  • System set to unknown
  • Affected Version set to 1.6.3

That setting should work, but if it doesn't you can try doing this:

echo export LC_ALL=en_US >> /Applications/
echo export LC_MESSAGES=en_US >> /Applications/
echo export LANG=en_US >> /Applications/

#10 Updated by Viktor Hedefalk about 5 years ago

@igor - thanks a lot, that worked just fine!


I tried many times with ui_last/gui_language (and I made the edit while darktable was shut down so no overwrite) but never got it to bite.

#11 Updated by Pascal de Bruijn about 5 years ago

The above approach will likely not survive an update though.

And there are a couple of other things...

If the swedish translation has oddities, you should probably reach out to our Swedish translator:

The proper way to permanently switch language really is darktablerc, if you execute the following you should get the respective output:
  1. echo "'$(grep gui_language ~/.config/darktable/darktablerc)'"

If you really get that output (and Darktable is still not in English), you may have just found a bug, which deserve it's own (new) bug report.

PS: Please don't use our bug tracker for support queries. Please use our mailing lists and/or IRC if you have any questions.

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