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How to Install a Language Pack

Description: How to find, download, upload and install a language pack to your board. Also how to set a board default and personal language.

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How to Install a Language Pack

phpBB makes it possible for a board Administrator to have multiple languages installed on his/her board for their users to choose from. This will allow a board to cater to users from different locations and who speak different languages. The phpBB3 download comes with one language only, British English (GB). However, has a Language Packs page offering downloads for other languages which can be downloaded and installed on phpBB boards.

The language packs are not produced by the phpBB Team. They are created and maintained by third party users or groups whom the phpBB group has determined to be the official translator for their particular language. As such, any issues with a specific language pack should be directed to the packs author who will be listed on that specific download page. If you are interested in becoming a translator then you can apply to become a translator.

The language packs only affect standard language in phpBB, such as labels, explanations, and buttons. They do not translate text entered in posts either before the installation of the language pack or after.

Find, Download, Upload, and Install the Pack.
Visit the phpBB Language Packs pages. Navigate through the list of available packs until you find the one you wish to download.

You can click on either the flag icon or the 'Downloads, Details & Support' link for your chosen language. This will take you to the relevant section of the Customisation Database. The language pack is compressed as a .zip file and can be downloaded to you computer by clicking on the green download box. Please make sure you have the right version for your board. Packs for 3.0 will not work on 3.1/3.2 and vice versa.

Now that you have the compressed language pack on your computer, you will need to extract (unzip) it. The extracted archive should contain 2 folders:


The language folder will contain the language files and the styles folder will contain the localised styling for the buttons for in prosilver.

NB: If you are using a style other than prosilver or subsilver2 you will need to copy the /styles/prosilver/theme/XX folder in to into the theme folder of your custom style.

Using FTP you will need to upload the /language and /styles folders (and their subfolders) from the extracted download into your board root. The board root is the one which contains the board's config.php file. When uploading into the board root via FTP, you will more than likely get a notice warning you that you already have folders called /language and /styles. If this happens, just click to replace them. This will replace conflicting files only (if this is your first time uploading the language pack there should be none) and add the new files into their correct locations.

Now that the language pack is uploaded to your server, you will have to install it via the Administration Control Panel. To do this you will need to do as follows:

Log in to your board.

Click the 'Administration Control Panel' link in the footer of your board or the ACP link at the top.

If needed, re-authenticate to enter the Administration Control Panel.

Now that you are in the Administration Control Panel, you will need to click the 'CUSTOMISE' tab at the top of the page.

On the left hand side you will have a menu split into categories. In this left hand menu under the category 'General Tasks' you will see the link 'Language Packs' which you need to click.


Once you have clicked the 'Language Packs' link you should see a page which lists the language packs you have uploaded onto your server. Those which have not been installed yet will show with an install link. Clicking the install link will install the language pack.


That is it for installing the language pack. The following sections deal with how to use your language pack.

Set as Board Default
You now have your new language pack installed and are probably wondering how you use it. The first thing you are probably going to want to do is to set it as the board's default language. The board default language will be used for guests visiting the board and for the new member's default language setting (although they can choose from any installed language when registering or change the language in the User Control Panel after registering). To set the newly installed language pack as the board default, follow the steps below:

Log in to your board.

Click the 'Administration Control Panel' link in the footer of your board.

If needed, re-authenticate to enter the Administration Control Panel or the ACP link at the top.

Now that you are in the Administration Control Panel, you will need to click the 'General' tab at the top of the page (although you should already be at this location).

On the left hand side you will have a menu split into categories. In this left hand menu under the category 'Board Configuration' you will see the link 'Board Settings' which you need to click.

Once you have clicked the 'Board Settings' link you should be greeted by the boards settings page. On this page you should be able to see the drop down menu for the option 'Default language:'. Select your newly installed language in the drop down menu and then click the submit button.


After doing the above you will probably notice that when you start browsing about your board the language is still not using your newly installed language pack. This will be due to the fact that you registered before the new language pack was installed, meaning you will not have your own language option in the User Control Panel set correctly. For details on how to set this read the next section.

Set Personal (My Language) Setting
As briefly mentioned above you can set your own language option in the User Control Panel. This allows the board Administrator to have several language packs installed and thus the board users can choose the language which they prefer. This is important on multi national boards where users of the board speak different languages natively. Of course, the Administrator of the board can change the user's language setting via the user management section of the Administration Control Panel. The following instructions will tell you how users can set their own language option.

Users will need to be logged into the board to be able to change their User Control Panel options. Once logged in, they will have the 'User Control Panel' link at the top right of the header.

Clicking this link will take the user into the User Control Panel.

Once inside the User Control Panel the user will have to click the 'Board Preferences' tab.

After clicking the 'Board Preferences' tab, the page should load showing the users 'global' board preferences. If it does not, the user will need to click the 'Edit global settings' link in the left hand menu.

Once the 'global settings' page has loaded, there will be a drop down menu for the option 'My language:'. In the drop down menu users can select their desired language setting. Once they have done this, the user will need to submit the page.


Once a user has set their own personal language option, their account will use this option regardless of the default board setting in the Administration Control Panel.

When the phpBB software is updated and a new version is released only the default British English (en) language pack will be updated as necessary. For other languages you have installed you will need to obtain updated language packs from the Language Packs area of the Customisation Database.

Note: Updated language packs are not always immediately available when the phpBB software update is released, it may take a few days to several weeks or more before they are all available, please be patient.

20111020 Updated by Oyabun1 (text, layout, and images)
20111112 Updated by Oyabun1 (section on updating added)
20160722 Updated by KevC (for 3.1)
20170907 Updated by JimA (for 3.2 and screenshots)