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How to change the language of Google Maps

I’ll be the first person to admit that I think Google maps are the best thing since sliced bread. Better in some locations than others but still a very good program website. I’ve actually built applications using the Google map and the most annoying complaint ever from users was the inability to change the language of the roads and places on google map. Since there is no link available to change the language of google maps how exactly do you going about changing the default language of a google map?
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Below I’ve added a bunch of links to the different google maps you can click on these links and it will take you to the default language as listed on the link. See how it works is on each link below there is a change in the query string. The query string is the pieces of codes added to each web address. The codes are actually tags and for every tag there is a query string. Programmers use query strings to help them remember how to display the page according to what settings your looking for. A dumb programmer would add sensitive information but a smart programmer would use the tags to remember such things as the default language of the google map. The query string tag the google programmers used for the language setting was “hl”. So if you have no “hl” tag in your query string it will use the default language based on your IP address. Since I live in Thailand it always comes out in Thai.

Here is how the language code/tag works for different languages:

hl=<language code> in query string

example:
hl=en  (Map in English)
or
hl=th (Map in Thai)

To change the language of an embedded google map you can use the hl tag in the query string to have your google maps show in the right language on your page.

<script src=”http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&f… ></script>

Now I don’t know every single language code but i’m sure a quick google search should get you your language, otherwise here is a list of the most common languages for google maps.

Chinese (simplified)
Dutch
English US, UK, Canada, and Australia
French France and Canada
German
Italian
Polish
Japanese
Spanish
Catalan
Galego
Euskara
Thai

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About Chris

Chris founded Living Thai and author of the books Learn the The Thai Alphabet and How to make money in Thailand also the Blueprint for Living in Thailand. Chris started this blog with the aim of educating westerners on how to have the best time in Thailand, to make new friends and to vent his frustrations Chris is also fluent in both written and spoken Thai.

4 Responses to How to change the language of Google Maps

  1. ian fenwick December 24, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Great! I can’t believe I just had this problem, and you wrote about it yesterday! Thanks

  2. Vidhi Raj March 18, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    I am still trying to understand how to open the Query String where I can change the HL=EN? I mean as a non programmer, where and what do I open in order to change the language of my normal browsing.

    I had a guest from Lithuania and since she has left, every Google Page by default opens in Lithuanian. I have tried going on gmail page and changing the language to English , however I just am not able to open Maps, or regular Google.com in English anymore. I don’t know how to edit this “QUERY STRING” that everyone keeps refering to .

    Please help a dumb brother from another mother.
    Cheers

  3. Nana March 31, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Amazing post! Very helpful, thank you!

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