Data Fidelity

How To Switch Ubuntu Desktop Language to Chinese

This tutorial will help you switching Ubuntu user interface language to Chinese (汉语, Hànyǔ or 中文, Zhōngwén). We offer you both choices of Simplified (简化字, Jiǎnhuàzì) and Traditional Chinese (正體字, Zhèngtǐzì). This will change the language of basically everything you see on the screen including login screens, menus and buttons, calendar and locale / regional format. For example, once switched you will immediately see Files, Writer and Clock all turned into Chinese characters. We also included a procedure to revert back to English language in case you need it. Finally, we write this as an aid for our friends Ubuntu computer users whose language is Chinese everywhere including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau and Taiwan.


 (Ubuntu 20.04 with Simplified Chinese user interface)
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UbuntuSystem SettingsInternet access 


Chinese language support packages (will be downloaded automatically)


Method 1 

First method below is aimed for Simplified Chinese (简化字, Jiǎnhuàzì) recognized on Ubuntu as 汉语 (中国) literally meaning Simplified Chinese (Mainland China) officially used in mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore. For Traditional Chinese, please refer to second method.
1. Run System Settings.

2. Open the section Region & Language.

3. Click the top option Language.

4. A dialog named Language Support will open.

5. Click Install / Remove Language button.

6. Another dialog named Installed Languages will open.

7. Select Chinese (simplified) > click Apply from the offered language options.

8. Another dialog will ask for your password > type your password in > click OK.

9. Last dialog named Applying Changes will show the progress of downloading the required packages. Once finished, a new entry named Chinese (simplified) will show in the Language Support dialog. 


10. Drag 汉语 (中国) to the top row over English (United States) in Language Support > Apply System Wide > type your password again if asked > finished the configuration > click Close. 


 汉语 (中国) literally reads Hanyu (China)

11. Logout > login > finished switching Ubuntu desktop language into Chinese.
12. After logged in, a dialog will ask you to switch directory names to Chinese > you can Accept it or Decline it.

13. To revert back, repeat step 10 for English (US) to be the top. 


Method 2

Below is the second method aimed for Traditional Chinese (正體字, zhèngtǐzì) commonly used in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. This language is recognized on Ubuntu as 中文 (香港) literally means Chinese Language (Hong Kong). 

 中文 (香港) literally reads Zhongwen (Hong Kong)

1. Repeat step 1-7 from the above but select Chinese (traditional) option instead.

2. Repeat step 8-12 from the above and put 中文 (香港) to the top > Apply System Wide > you finished switching Ubuntu desktop language to Traditional Chinese.

Final Result

Ubuntu Chinese (汉语/中文) will look like pictures below. You may notice how the top bar, calendar, tray, start menu, and applications now speaking in Chinese (simplified) instead of English. Also notice how File Manager and LibreOffice look like with Chinese. 
Simplified Chinese [ 汉语 (中国), Hanyu (China) ]:



Traditional Chinese [ 中文 (香港), Zhongwen (Hong Kong) ]:

That’s all. We hope this article will be very useful to you. See you next time.  


China (中国)
Hong Kong (香港) 

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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