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Firefox gets improved interface language switching and spell checker support

Mozilla plans to improve the way Firefox users can switch the default interface language of the browser and the spell checker that comes with it. Firefox users have to download language packs and dictionary packs from Mozilla’s website currently to change the interface language or download the browser in a different locale.

Most users of the browser who downloaded the browser in a language that they don’t want to use have probably downloaded the browser in the correct language. It is possible to install the new language version over the old to switch to the new language.

The workaround does not help Firefox users who want to use multiple interface languages. While it is theoretically possible to use different profiles each with its own language, or switch between languages using the preference intl.locale.requested, it is not really comfortable.

If you look at how Chrome handles the switching to a different interface language, you will realize that Google’s browser handles things much better.

Chrome users select a different language in the settings to switch to it. A restart of the web browser is all that is required to display Chrome in the newly selected language.

Firefox: improved language switching

firefox 63 language switching

The language switching and dictionary switching process of Firefox will change significantly and for the better in the future. Basically, what Mozilla plans to do is integrate options to switch the interface language of the Firefox browser directly in the preferences.

Mozilla plans to roll out the functionality in steps. Firefox will display all installed languages under language preferences in the first stage; this makes it easy to switch to another of the languages as it can be selected.

spell checker firefox select

A link to download new language packs is provided in the first stage of implementation. The second stage makes it even easier as it is then possible to search for and install language packs directly from within Firefox similarly to how Google Chrome handles the functionality.

Similar functionality improvements will be included for the supported spell checkers of the browser. Mozilla plans to list all installed spell checkers in a table on the preferences page. Firefox users may select and deselect dictionaries if available using the interface.

Dictionaries will be downloaded alongside newly installed languages eventually, another useful feature that will improve language switching in Firefox.

Firefox Nightly users may set the preference intl.multilingual.enabled to true to get some of the new functionality right away.

Closing Words

The last week has been filled with reports about features that Mozilla plans to remove from Firefox or make more difficult to configure; the improvement in language and dictionary switching behavior is definitely a positive new feature that many Firefox users will benefit from as it makes the process more straightforward and easier to complete. (via Sören Hentzschel)

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