I've tried changing the man pages on debian from English to Italian but all I have tried hasn't worked yet.

First of all, I installed the manpages in Italian with apt install manpages-it.

I then edited the /etc/locale.gen file and uncommented it_IT.utf8, then ran locale-gen to update it. After that I tried with:

man -Lit printf
man --locale=it printf

but none give me the manual pages in Italian.

The only manual page in Italian I can get is man man, but the other manuals are just in English.


1 Answer 1


The problem is that there's simply not many translated manual pages; when you look at the output of dpkg -L manpages-it, which lists all the files in the manpages-it package, you'll see it's only 107 pages – man is one of them, bash is another one. And then there's 71 other Italian pages that are part of other packages – anyways, not even close to maybe 500 English pages that come with a barebone debian installation.

So, long story short: I'm afraid man can't show you Italian pages that don't exist. It should care about the LANG environment variable being set before you call man:

export LANG=it_IT.utf8
man bash # should open the Italian bash page
man mkfs # should open the English mkfs page, since no Italian page exists

But in my experience that's extremely rarely actually working :-/. I'm not sure fixing that is worth the effort.

  • thank you very much for the help!
    – Chris
    Jan 25 at 16:11

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