Locales: two-letter codes that identify a language

Locales: two-letter codes that identify a language

Understand the role of two-letter language codes in software localization

Posted by Joe Dodds on May 27, 2023

Two-letter language codes, commonly based on the ISO 639-1 international standard, provide a concise way to represent languages. Each language is assigned a unique two-letter code, which is universally recognized in computing and digital systems. For example, English is represented by 'en', Spanish by 'es', French by 'fr', and so on.

These codes are not only useful for representing languages but also serve as the basis for locale identifiers, which include more detailed information about regional or dialectal variation. For example, the locale en-US stands for English as used in the United States, while en-GB represents English as used in the United Kingdom.

Why Are They Important?

Two-letter language codes are instrumental in allowing digital systems to be tailored to individual users' language preferences, promoting inclusivity and accessibility. Websites, software applications, and more can automatically adapt their language based on the user's locale setting.

Moreover, they are essential in internationalization and localization processes, where software is adapted for use in different regions, accounting for differences not only in language but also in culture-specific content and conventions.

Wrapping Up

Understanding and correctly using two-letter language codes is essential in our increasingly digital and globalized world. Whether you're a software developer aiming to make your application accessible to a worldwide audience, a business looking to expand internationally, or a user trying to improve your digital experience, these simple yet powerful codes are an indispensable tool.

Here is a list of language codes currently used by Google Translate:

af Afrikaans
am Amharic
ar Arabic
az Azerbaijani
be Belarusian
bg Bulgarian
bn Bengali
bs Bosnian
ca Catalan
cs Czech
cy Welsh
da Danish
de German
el Greek
en English
es Spanish
et Estonian
eu Basque
fa Persian
fi Finnish
fr French
fy Western Frisian
ga Irish
gd Scottish Gaelic
gl Galician
gu Gujarati
ha Hausa
he Hebrew
hi Hindi
hr Croatian
ht Haitian
hu Hungarian
hy Armenian
id Indonesian
ig Igbo
is Icelandic
it Italian
ja Japanese
jv Javanese
ka Georgian
kk Kazakh
km Khmer
kn Kannada
ko Korean
ku Kurdish
lb Luxembourgish
lo Lao
lt Lithuanian
lv Latvian
mg Malagasy
mi Maori
mk Macedonian
ml Malayalam
mn Mongolian
mr Marathi
ms Malay
my Burmese
ne Nepali
nl Dutch
no Norwegian
pa Punjabi
pl Polish
ps Pashto
pt Portuguese
ro Romanian
ru Russian
sd Sindhi
si Sinhala
sk Slovak
sl Slovene
sm Samoan
sn Shona
so Somali
sq Albanian
sr Serbian
st Southern Sotho
su Sundanese
sv Swedish
sw Swahili
ta Tamil
te Telugu
tg Tajik
th Thai
tl Tagalog
tr Turkish
uk Ukrainian
ur Urdu
uz Uzbek
vi Vietnamese
xh Xhosa
yi Yiddish
yo Yoruba
zh Chinese
zu Zulu

MultiLocale helps you manage translation files of native and web appsmultilocale

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