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:


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:


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.

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

  1. Thank you so much. I purchased an android tablet from tophatter, and played around with it to make sure it worked. I then wanted to give it to my granddaughter who i didn’t want to be able to purchase games from the playstore, so i set it back to factory settings…Well it had all settings in Chinese….Without this help i’d probably would have had to thrown it in the garbage because it was useless…..My granddaughter and I are very grateful to you for posting this.

  2. since chinise is the default language then wat should i do to return it back to english

  3. This article proves the greatness of the worldwide web. Got a problem? then more often than not someone has the answer. Regarding the title of this page I was expecting to go through a long involved procedure to get my Yuandoo N101 back working after I factory reset it following the popular “google apps process not working etc,” nothing I tried would resolve it, couldn’t clear cache for any apps or clear any data. By resetting and changing languages as above it works better than ever, even my music was still there to enjoy.
    So Brad Linder and thank you very much indeed for bringing my enjoyment back.

  4. I know this is an old post but THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. You save this tablet lol i was about to throw it away…that was so helpful

  6. You cannot really find the Korean keyboard on the Google Android. You can voice a voice recognition software. You need to download the Korean keyboard on Google Play. It is called Korean Hangul Keyboard. I do not understand why Android does not provide the keyboard. There seems to be a Korean keyboard for the Samsung tablets, not for the RCA tablets.

  7. I can set up the Korean language fonts, but I can’t find the keyboard for Korean. Can anyone help me for the RCA Tablet 7 inch?

  8. I bricked my Ainol Tablet when it was so slow I finally decided to fix it with a factory reset, which deleted all of my info, and the tablet came to life speaking only Chinese! Since I don’t speak or read Chinese, I needed help and quick. When I found your easy-to-follow instructions, I was overjoyed when I got every my tablet working again, and the factory reset fixed all of the other problems, so now, all I can say is, “THANK YOU!”

  9. For ipad with android system:
    1) setting
    2) control
    3) language
    4) change from —-ie Chinese to English.

  10. 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!

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

  12. 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!

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

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

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

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

  20. 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.

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