Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm a developer, and my primary language is French, so I use Mac OS X in French. However, I need on a regular basis to open an application in English to do support.

Right now I'm going to the International System Preferences and I put English above in the languages list, then I open the app I need to run in English. When I'm done, I switch it back to French.

This is an annoying process. Is there something else I can use, like a command-line program, to launch an application in a specific language?

share|improve this question
up vote 15 down vote accepted

There is a freeware, Language Switcher, to launch single applications with a different language.

it's really simple and work amazing.

share|improve this answer
Under the hood, it just launches the program with a -AppleLanguages (French) switch, which is what I really needed. Thank you! – zneak Aug 18 '10 at 21:21

You can change the language inside the preferences file of the application :

defaults write AppleLanguages '("en-US")'

Or just run once one application with another language :

/Applications/ -AppleLanguages '(de)'
share|improve this answer
Have this +1, since you were just a few seconds too late. Thanks for the preferences tip, I didn't know it. – zneak Aug 18 '10 at 21:22
Next time I'll be faster ;) – Studer Aug 18 '10 at 21:27
it's a good way but it's not easy as Language Switcher can do. – Am1rr3zA Aug 18 '10 at 21:30
Depends if you're more a GUI- or a CLI-man. – Studer Aug 18 '10 at 21:51

Go to the app, Press Command + I and if there are other languages they will show up in the info page. Just untick all except the language you want

share|improve this answer
It won't really solve my problem: most of the time I want to run a program in French, but sometimes it will be English. – zneak Aug 18 '10 at 21:13
This no longer work in Snow Leopard. – Loïc Wolff Aug 18 '10 at 21:59

In the Finder, get info on the application. There are languages here, and you can choose. Alas, this seems to have disappeared in Snow Leopard.

share|improve this answer
How does this differ from @Avi's answer made 3 years ago? – Mark Aug 25 '13 at 11:07

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.