My computer is mac mini (late 2012) with Yosemite 10.10.1 installed. The primary language of the system is English, with Chinese being the second language.

Sometimes I need to use the Maps.app, and as a Chinese person, a map with Chinese characters is more comfortable for me to use rather than English. So when I use the Maps.app, I have to temporally switch the primary language into Chinese, and then switch back to English after using the Maps.

But, it's really inconvenient to do the switchings all by clicking the Settings icon, clicking the Language item, and dragging the language up and down.

Can I do these actions by writing scripts, such as AppleScript or shell script? Thank you very much!

P.S. I've checked the dictionaries of AppleScript and also the OS X manual pages, but found nothing help. It seems that no such 'language setting command' exists.

3 Answers 3


You don't have to change System language to launch an app in different one. You can do for example this:

/Applications/Maps.app/Contents/MacOS/Maps -AppleLanguages '(de)'

This will launch Maps.app with german language set.

Here are the other options: Is it possible to launch a program in a specific language?


You could also use Language Switcher (free), an app which allows you to "use your apps in different languages at the same time". It will give you a list of apps and let you choose in which language you want it be started. I use it all the time to make english screenshots for Stack Exchange.

  • When Maps.app is launched by Language Switcher in a specific language,for example Chinese, only the menus are shown in Chinese, but the words in the map picture are still in English. It seems that the words in the map picture depends on the system language, not the way how it launches.
    – bo zhao
    Dec 21, 2014 at 16:45

You don't need to change language. You can simply set it in the App of Maps' Menu: [View]-> [Labels]-> [always Show Labels in English]. Cancel it. Try now :)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .