Is it possible to select a different language for a specific application? On some systems I run Fedora15/Gnome in German, but want to use the Terminal in English including for the simple prompt questions like: Y/N instead of j/N = Ja/Nein etc.

1 Answer 1


You can launch any program with a different language by setting the LC_MESSAGES environment variable (or LANG to include other regional settings besides display language such as sort order, number and date formatting, etc).

$ LANG=en_US gnome-terminal

Keep in mind that anything you launch FROM that terminal will inherit the language. If you specifically want a program to run with your you could start it up with:

$ LANG=de_DE program_to_run_in_german
  • thank you Caleb ! how can I add this command to the gnome shortcut in the menu bar ?
    – mate64
    Jul 26, 2011 at 7:36
  • I suggest you right click on the gnome-terminal menu item and "add to panel" to get a copy of it put in your panel as a launcher. Then right click on it and edit it's properties so that it runs the command and shown above. Basically change gnome-terminal to LANG=en_US gnome-terminal.
    – Caleb
    Jul 26, 2011 at 7:57
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    I don't know about other DE but gnome fails with this command line. Something like bash -c "LANG=en_US.utf8 gnome-terminal" works. If you want to change the menu entry, you can copy the gnome-terminal.desktop to ${XDG_DATA_HOME:-~/.local/share}/applications and modify it.
    – tuxce
    Jul 26, 2011 at 14:54
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    @msec Specifically, for messages, you should set LC_MESSAGES rather than LANG (which has other implications). Jul 26, 2011 at 20:31

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