Managing languages and locales

Phrase supports all written languages. Learn how to add and manage languages in your translation projects.

Projects in Phrase typically consist of at least two languages, also called locales in the context of internationalization. A locale defines a user's language and typically contains language- and/or country related parameters. You can add as many languages to your project as you wish to reflect all the variants and country regions you want to support in your software.

Adding languages

Once your project is set up, adding languages is easy. Just click the Add Language button in the language overview. After adding the language you can immediately start translating content for this new language.

New languages can also be added by uploading localization files that contain new languages you did not already set up in your project.

When adding and managing languages you will come across these settings:


We require the RFC-5646 locale code for a language. This contains the language and region, e.g. en, de-DE or fr-CH.

With this knowledge, Phrase can support you with useful information, e.g. figure out pluralization rules or manage the translation memory.

Default Locale

Every project needs exactly one default locale. This is the most important language and usually the language your software is developed in. In most cases this is English (en). We will automatically set the first language you create as the default locale but you can change this any time.

Main language

You can mark the most important languages in your project as main languages. For example, your application might be available in a variety of languages but most (initial) work is done in German (de) and English (en). Mark these two languages as your main languages to benefit from our Basic Review Workflow.

Unverify new translations

New translations can be automatically marked as unverified. You can select the “unverify new translations” option to benefit from our Basic Review Workflow.

Unverify updated translations

Updated translations can be automatically marked as unverified. You can select the “unverify updated translations” option to benefit from our Basic Review Workflow.

Source language

By default we assume that translations are entered based on your default locale. However, not all translators might be used to translate from your default locale (e.g. English) into the target language (e.g. Spanish). Instead they might want to use the French translations that were already entered in order to translate them into Spanish.

This is why every language can be assigned a source language. When given, we will display this as the source language for the translators to work with. If none given, we will display the default locale of your project.

Translators can switch the source language manually at any time by selecting it from the dropdown menu in the translation view.

Deleting languages

If you don’t want to support a given language anymore you can remove it from your project at all times. Follow the Settings link on the language overview and click the Delete button.

Please note that deleting a language will also remove all associated translations for that language from your Phrase project. Make sure you have a backup of your data before actually deleting the language.

Further reading