I'd like to be able to host users who have different native languages (e.g. English, French, Spanish, German and so on).

Is there a way I can configure a system so that man pages are available in each language (for both the base install and any packages added via the OS package manager)? If so can this be configured to keep them in language specific locations (e.g. /usr/share/man/en, /usr/share/man/es and so on)?

1 Answer 1


Most distributions (and perhaps even all general-purpose distributions) are already set up like this. You’ll see manpages in various languages under language-specific directories in /usr/share/man; for example, /usr/share/man/de, /usr/share/man/fr... These manpages are used automatically, based on the language specified by the LC_MESSAGES or LANG environment variable.


LANG=fr_FR man man

to see an example.

The main issue you’ll run into is that few manpages are translated.

  • The lack of translation really can't be understated. Localization is generally pretty good for mainstream desktop software, but it's quite often completely nonexistent for other software on a Linux system. Oct 29, 2018 at 19:40
  • sorry for the long wait for a reply, thanks. this helps a lot
    – MrGlasgow
    Nov 17, 2018 at 17:25

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