How to change the language on Android tablets (Chinese -> English, etc)

Google’s Android operating system has built-in support for dozens of different languages, which makes switching the text of menus, notifications, and other items from Chinese to English, French, or other common languages pretty simple.

But it’s always easiest if you already know how to speak (or read) the language you’re starting with. If you buy a Chinese tablet, for instance, and it arrives with Chinese as default language, it can be pretty tough to figure out how to change everything to English — unless you know where to look.

Then it’s pretty easy. Here’s how to change the system language of an Android device, even if you don’t speak the default language.

Hyundai T7 language settings

1. The first thing you need to do is open up the settings menu. To do this, just open the quick settings/notification menu — on Android 4.0 or 4.1, that will be at the bottom right corner of the screen. If you’re using Android 4.2, you can swipe down from the upper right corner  or the screen.

2. Next, look for a settings icon. It should look like three bars with small ovals intersecting them:

settings

Go ahead and tap it to bring up the Android settings panel.

3. From here, you should see a list of icons on the left side of the screen, followed by text (which may be incomprehensible). Look fot the Languages & input icon which looks like an A in a white box:

lang

Tap that menu option to bring up the Languages & Input menu.

4. From the following menu, choose the very top option. It doesn’t matter if you can understand the text or not — it says “language.”

5. The following menu should show a list of languages, each as it’s described in that country. For instance, English is written as “English,” but German is “Deutsch.”

In other words, it should be very easy to find the language you understand — just look for it from the list of options and it should be immediately legible.

6. Once you tap your language option, the system language should change and you should be able to understand the rest of the system menus.

Note that if you’re using a tablet imported from China or another country, you may still encounter some apps which don’t include translations for your native tongue — so those apps may be difficult to use. But for the most part, the steps above will effectively turn a Chinese Android tablet into an English one.

Note: Even if you purchase a tablet that’s been imported from China and it does ship with English as the default language, there’s a chance that if you ever perform a factory reset the system language will revert to Chinese. That’s because some retailers seem to manually change the language before shipping tablets to the US.

  • Andy Kirby

    Good tips there, sometimes you can even be left with a Chinese version of Android on a device after a firmware update (happened to me quite a few times) so it’s useful for people to know how to do this.

  • jack

    How if in my phone have only few other languages to choose and missing many

    • sanas

      thank you this is Successful

  • distus

    i already tried it. nothing’s happened. the system is still Chinese. i have PLOYER MOMO9p running 4.0.4 ICS.

  • LiberalenDieter

    Thank you, really useful!

  • celtic

    help please-as only the welcome screen (i assume) appears in chinese on galaxy tab 3.10 . There do not seem to be any apps or am I missing something. Nothing happens when home is pressed.

  • lippu

    Thank you very much friend… you have saved my day……

  • Grateful xXx

    Thank you!!!!! xXx

  • Cheryl Scofield

    what does it mean on an android tablet when it opens up using chinese instead of english and then it comes up no wireless AP found in english?

  • BALD HEADED DRUMMER

    SUPERB!! MANY THANKS FOR YOUR HELP

  • panmatix

    This was most useful…. My husband reached Taiwan and could not change his language setting on his phone. This link was very useful in setting his language back to English.

  • pink

    Thank you for this post. It REALLY helps me a lot… :-)

  • mike

    Thank-you it work like a real treat…..Android now in English…..Yeah

  • mark

    hi can i type english words and they come up in chinese ?? i need to write a txt in chinese is this possible pls

  • Jermill Edwards

    I love you dude. Thanks and Happy new year

  • Gramps 73

    Many thanks.A clear guide, which has worked perfectly on my chinese tablet.

  • ume

    thanks a lot

  • hamad

    How to set an internet in my android tab.

  • leonard

    thank u very much that was helpfull

  • Tiffany Bryans

    Thank you. this was so helpful. I suddenly was faced with japanese characters, and was at a complete loss til your simple steps to resolving the issue. Thanks!

  • Layne

    Thank you very much! Your tutorial was very easy to follow, and now I can read my tablet! Yay!

  • Nona

    Changing the language is done! But i’m afraid even after this, few apps and even the device’s system seems to show some chinese messeges!!! How am i suppose to deal with this? Need help!