If you’d like to change the language of the entire desktop, with menus, and program’s menus all to be displayed in the language of your choice, you can do that very simply on almost any variant of debian with gnome or mate. Since linux mint is a derivative of ubuntu linux, and ubuntu linux is a derivative of debian linux, the steps described here will work on all of them.

First of all, for the sake of clarity, I would recommend using the default gnome menu, when following this tutorial, because in the menus shipped with different flavors, or distributions of linux, the different companies or groups that produce the releases, might have put things in different places, then they were, in the default gnome menu. So, for simplicity, when I say “open the menu”, I mean press ALT+F1 to bring up the default gnome menu, regardless of whether it’s visibly installed or not. Pressing ALT+F1 on gnome or mate desktops, will bring that old, “outdated” simple gnome menu up.

When the menu is up, click on “System”, then “Preferences”, then “Language Support”.

Some checks will be run automatically, regardless of how many languages or writing aids you have installed.

An alertbox or message may also appear, telling you that you do not have complete language support installed for some languages. Don’t worry about it, just click on “Remind me later”. Then click on “Install/Remove languages”. From the list that appears, select the language or languages that you’d like to install.

You can press a letter on the keyboard to quickly jump to the language which’s name begins with the letter/key pressed. (For instance, for “dutch” you’d only need to press D to get close to “dutch” in the list.). Then click on the checkbox to the right of the language you’d like to select.

Click on apply changes. You have to have a working internet connection at this moment, because some packages have to be downloaded. and installed.

You’ll also have to authenticate to elevate your user privileges temporarily for the package installations.

Now, in the list of the window to which you’ve been returned if you followed the steps correctly, the languages you’ve selected for installation, in the previous steps, are at the bottom. Click and drag any of those languages to the top of the list and release. After that, click on “Apply systemwide”. Authenticate again, and wait for the changes to be applied. You can click on OK and the window will close.

You have to log off and then on again, to have your linux desktop and hopefully all your programs’s interface changed to the language of your choice.

Watch the video to see the exact same steps I’ve described above, in a real example.

Has this post or video helped you ? Leave a comment and let me know.
Anything else you’d like to know how to do ? Leave a comment and I’ll try to write an article and post a video about it.