iNaturalist language & common names

So, I’ve been using iNaturalist for over a year and a half. During that period of time, I’ve set up iNaturalist in Portuguese (my native language).

But there were always some translations on the website that bugged me, either because they were badly translated or they were translated to Brazilian Portuguese and not Portuguese.

So today I decided to change the language to English, while keeping the common names in Portuguese. The problem is that when I set the common names to be the ones used in “Portugal (country)”, not all of them appear in Portuguese. Most of them are in Portuguese, which is good, but some of them were changed to English (even though iNat previously used a portuguese version of the names, when I had my language set as Portuguese).

Is there an explanation for this? Or any way I can fix it?


There isn’t a way to specify a common name language separate from the website language, only a common name “place” (for example, to indicate you prefer to see names used in Portugal vs. those more commonly used in Brazil).

There is an open feature request to allow users to select a common name language here:


Yes, I understood that. The problem is that some of the names supposedly used in Portugal appear in english. While if I hadn’t selected the “common name place” and kept portuguese as my iNat language those same names would appear in english.

As for the feature request, I’m on my way to vote it

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Can you provide some examples including details regarding your website/language settings?


This is my language setting:

A bit downwards, I set the place to “Portugal”:


A good example would be the Lesser Stag Beetle.
When my language setting is “portuguese” and I have no defined “common name place”, the displayed common name is “Vaquinha” (the common name more frequently used in Portugal).

When I change my settings to the ones in the pictures above, the name changes to " Lesser Stag Beetle"

Yeah, the name vaquinha isn’t assigned to be prioritized in any place (e.g. Brazil or Portugal), so it won’t show up unless your website language/locale settings is Portuguese (Brazil) or Portuguese.


Is that fixable? Or is it possible for me to change that setting?

It would display the Portuguese name if we assign the name as default for Portugal. But 1) that really shouldn’t be necessary since it applies to all Portuguese names used in Portugal and 2) the guidance on that screenshot does say “please do not add names for every place where the name is used, only for places that conflict with other places”.

It’s a pretty common issue and I do hope the staff can find a solution. See previous discussions here, here, here, here, and here, among others.


Well, since there is no name assigned, if I had one for Portugal there shouldn’t be a problem, right?

The prioritize names from is really meant to be used for 2 circumstances:

  • when there are multiple names for a species in the same language, used in different places, so for instance if Brazilian Portuguese and Continental Portuguese call the same thing by different names, or how Gray Catbird is called Grey Catbird in Canadian English
  • languages the site is not translated into.

It is very common for names not to be assigned to a place.

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But in those cases where names are not assigned to a place, is there any way I can assign them? Or is it even right to do so?

Only the person who created them or a curator can edit existing names. This restriction had to be implemented unfortunately to stop edit wars going on with regards to names.

That makes sense. I think the best solution then is this one:


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