Identify Languages

Set language button on formatting toolbar

​University sites generally identify each page's language as English.

This means screen readers will pronounce all text on the page as if it was written in English. For non-English text, the result is unintelligible gibberish.

If you are authoring content inside of a page that is a language other than English you will have to identify the language of that section or quote. Most content management systems provide a button for this; highlight the relevant content, click the button, and select the correct language from the list:


Don't do This

Unidentified language

<p>Mi profesora de español esta embarazada.</p>

Am I professor Ade? A spaniel is too embarrassed. Uhh...

Do This

Identified language

<p lang="es">Mi profesora de español esta embarazada.</p>

Mi profesora de español esta embarazada

Actually means:
My Spanish professor is pregnant.


Testing for Accessibility

To test

Use the WAVE tool to scan the page. It will mark any text assigned a language tag with a globe icon. Click the icon for further information:

Wave tool screenshot showing tooltip on icon reading "Element Language"

Applicable WCAG Success Criteria