Fast foreign Firefox

Quickly switch Firefox language and locale preferences with this free add-on.

It's a small world, but try telling that to anyone who shares a PC with someone who not only speaks a different language but uses an entirely different character set. Diplomatic relations are possible, thanks to Quick Locale Switcher by Captain Caveman. It's a free Firefox add-on that lets users quickly switch locale-related settings, including languages, spell checkers, context menus, and more. It will even translate complete Web sites automatically, if your browser settings support it. You can configure Quick Locale Switcher for automatic switches or manual function with notifications. Even if your locale isn't listed, you're not lost; you can add locales manually.

We downloaded and installed Quick Locale Switcher and restarted Firefox. Our Firefox status bar now sported a small U.S. flag icon and the abbreviation en-US, indicating English language and location settings for the United States; the add-on also installed a Tools menu. Hovering the cursor over the icon displayed a pop-up with our User Interface and Content language settings displayed: English (United States) on both. Right-clicking the icon called up a menu with language selections, including the main European and Asian languages, each labeled and designated with a national flag icon. Clicking Options brought up Quick Locale Switcher's tabbed preferences dialog, with entries for General settings, which mostly cover display and notification options; Locales, with an extensive, searchable list of locales to select for the program to display as well as a tool to add your own; and Autoswitch, for configuring specific sites and domains. Using Quick Locale Switcher is easy; click the locale you want to switch to from the drop-down menu on the status bar as well as the (optional) notification dialogs, and then either restart Firefox or let Quick Locale Switcher do it for you. We tried Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and a few others; it was interesting to see tabs labeled in Chinese characters, for instance, or Russian menus. Switching back was as easy as clicking the U.S. flag icon in the list.

Quick Locale Switcher is a great example of taking something Firefox can do--namely, accept multiple language preferences--and adding functionality to build a new feature and a useful new capability.

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