When you first install Foswiki, it makes a big assumption; that you speak English, and your users won't ever use characters other than those typically used in the English-speaking world. This page discusses what you must do if you want your site to work for everyone else in the world.

Configure your character set

The first and most important thing that must be done is to change your character set. You are recommended to do this before you generate any content (though you can retro-convert an existing database to utf-8 if necessary, using the CharsetConverterContrib).

Most users (including those in English speaking countries) should switch to the UTF-8 encoding immediately:
  • select utf-8 as your {Site}{CharSet} in configure
  • ensure {UseLocale} is disabled


Some servers will already be configured to use a locale (as set by the LC_CTYPE and LC_COLLATE environment variables), which includes a specification of a character set. Foswiki can make use of this server locale if you prefer. configure supports the following EXPERT options:

Using non-English without a Locale

If you do not want to use the server locale, but most users will be using the wiki in a non-English language, you may want to consider setting {UpperNational} and {LowerNational} to allow your users to use wikiwords in the local language.
  • Enable {UseLocale} in configure
  • Ensure {UseLocalRegexes} is enabled
  • Ensure {Site}{CharSet} is set consistently with the locale.

Configure your user interface

All system documentation in Foswiki is shipped in English only, and unfortunately there is no simple way to translate this to another language. Note that Google Translate provides powerful translation capabilities that may be of value to you.

The user interface is always available in English, and is also translated to a large number of languages. To allow your users to view the user interface in a non-English language, you need to enable that language. For example, to enable Russian, you must enable {UserInterfaceInternationalisation} and also enable {Languages}{ru}{Enabled}. Enable all additional languages that your users may want to use in the user interface (English is always enabled).
Topic revision: r3 - 11 Jun 2014, CrawfordCurrie
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