Choose common names language and place in the app

We are currently trying to mobilize people to participate in the CNC 2019 and build a long-term community of users in Luxembourg. Generally people are very susceptible to what iNaturalist is all about and mostly understand how it works quite quickly.
However a major issue and question we often get is “how do I change the language”. By this, people do not mean the language of the user interface, but rather the langue in which the common names are displayed.

I know that for many regions and people this is not much of a problem. We are however confronted with a multi lingual community (German, French, Luxembourgian, English, etc.). Many people are fine with using English as the main language for their mobile devices UI, the languages used in the daily life (or for which people know species names) is mostly some other language (mostly French or German).

Currently the iNaturalist app does not offer the possibility to change the language in which common names are displayed (I know that one can change this on the website, which influences the app). For people who mainly want to use iNat via the app this is kind of annoying.

It would be great to get a feature within the app to set the “Names - Place”. Or have the possibility to change the apps UI language independently of the langue the mobile device is set in.

I think this would make it easy to recruit users in communities like ours.

And you do not have troubles about the availability of common names in your languagues?

If a French man, A German and an English man are on an excursion in Luxembourgh the most easy would be to download the three lists on the device with
local names German
local names English
local names French.
I think…than every one can use their preferred language. I would never correlate the local names with the Place. I was in italy and the names occured in italian, which is not my mother tongue at all.


Well yes, there are only a few names in Luxemburgian on iNat (not even associated with the place Luxembourg) . For French and German there are however many.
Me for example I have set my “names place” to Germany, because I’m most confortable with those common names (rather than English, default). As I said, this can only be done via the website and not the app itself this is my main issue).
In general would prefer bing able to choose the language of my common names rather than the “place”. But I do understand the issue with that; some languages are spoken in different (larger) countries and common names differ for these places.

Localising common names to the place Luxembourg is not something that I think is a useful thing (3 official languages) this would only create a mess.

@ahospers I don’t really get what you mean by downloading lists (in different languages) to the device. In my imagination those 3 men would set the language of their common name to their mother tongue.

When I’m going on vacation I will not switch to the local language, I’m staying with my preferred language. If not all the species I encounter have names in that language I’m fine with the names in English.

Additionally the app is not always handling the common names of species very well. I have some displayed in German some in English in “my observations”. The English ones are displayed in German when I click on the observation, this is slightly irritating…

1 Like

Because the site is translated into Luxembourgish, you dont really need to associate the entered name with the place Luxembourg. Any user who sets their site to run in Luxemburgish will automatically see those names.

When the site is translated into a language the only real value in further associating the name with a place is for folks who want to run the site in one language but see names in another.

As noted, setting it for a place is problematic in multilingual nations.

The one time when it is really important to set the name associated to a place is when the site is not translated into that language, such as Swedish, as that is the only way users can see those translated names.


I think the website is handling names fine.
The issue with the app still prevales unfortunately.

1 Like

7 posts were split to a new topic: Common names changed in Android app

Totally agree!
I use the app way more often than the website.
My phone’s language is English, and that’s not going to change.
I am usually most interested in German common names, often French as well, almost never English.
I’d change the language for the iNaturalist app to German if I could do that without changing the language of every other app on my phone at the same time; I’d be equally happy to leave it as is if there were a way to pick a separate language for common names, which I’d then set to German.
One more wish, if I’m allowed to dream: It would be most fantastic if I could have common names listed in several languages, Swiss style!


Same about Estonian for me. Is there a particular reason this was implemented like this, especially given there’s a couple hand-select options anyway? :)