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Oracle® Database Client Installation Guide
11g Release 2 (11.2) for Linux

Part Number E10841-03
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A Configuring Oracle Database Globalization Support

This appendix describes the following Globalization Support topics:

A.1 Installing and Using Oracle Components in Different Languages

This section describes the following procedures:

A.1.1 Configuring Oracle Components to Run in Different Languages

You can specify the language and the territory, or locale, in which you want to use Oracle components. The locale setting of a component determines the language of the user interface of the component and the globalization behavior, such as date and number formatting. Depending on the Oracle component, the locale of the component is either inherited from the operating system session that started the component, or is defined by the NLS_LANG environment variable.

The operating system locale usually influences Oracle components that are based on Java technology. The NLS_LANG environment variable usually influences Oracle components that use Oracle Database Client libraries such as OCI.


The user interface of an Oracle component will be displayed in a selected language only if the appropriate translation is available and has been installed. Otherwise, the user interface will be displayed in English.

A.1.1.1 Determining the Operating System Locale by Using the LANG Environment Variable

The locale setting of your operating system session determines the language of the user interface and the globalization behavior for components such as Oracle Universal Installer, Oracle Net Configuration Assistant, and Oracle Database Configuration Assistant. It also determines the globalization behavior of Oracle Database sessions created by a user application through Oracle JDBC driver, unless overridden by the application.

The operating system locale is determined by the value of the LANG environment variable. Depending on your desktop environment, such as KDE, GNOME, or telnet, you can select a default session locale on a login screen, in a configuration panel, or in a configuration file.


Refer to the operating system documentation on how to select a locale for the operating system session in your desktop environment.

You can modify the LANG variable in the environment of your shell to start an Oracle component in a selected language. For example, to start Oracle Database Configuration Assistant in German, enter one of the following commands:

  • Bourne shell (sh), or Korn shell (ksh), or Bash shell (bash):

    $ LANG=de_DE.iso88591 dbca
  • C shell (csh):

    $ (setenv LANG de_DE.iso88591; dbca)

To modify the operating system locale for all Oracle components started from now on by the given shell, modify the LANG variable using one of the following commands:

  • Bourne shell (sh), or Korn shell (ksh), or Bash shell (bash):

    $ LANG=de_DE.iso88591; export LANG
    $ ...
  • C shell (csh):

    $ setenv LANG de_DE.iso88591
    $ ...

The value of the LANG environment variable must be a valid operating system locale. To see the list of valid locales, enter the following command:

$ locale -a


Refer to the operating system documentation for a mapping between values of the LANG environment variable and the languages and territories that they represent.

A.1.1.2 Configuring Locale and Character Sets Using NLS_LANG

The NLS_LANG environment variable determines the language of the user interface and the globalization behavior for components such as SQL*Plus, exp, and imp. It sets the language and territory used by the client application and the database user session. It also declares the character set for entering and displaying data by the client application.

The NLS_LANG environment variable uses the following format:


In this format:

  • language specifies the language used for displaying Oracle messages, sorting, day names, and month names

  • territory specifies the conventions for default date, monetary and numeric formats

  • characterset specifies the encoding used by the client application

    In most cases, this is the Oracle character set that corresponds to the character set of the user terminal or the operating system.


To install additional languages for a component, you will have to reinstall this component.

The NLS_LANG environment variable is set as a local environment variable for the shell on all UNIX-based platforms. For example, if the operating system locale setting is en_US.UTF-8, then the corresponding value of NLS_LANG environment variable is AMERICAN_AMERICA.AL32UTF8.

See Also:

Oracle Database Globalization Support Guide for information about the NLS_LANG parameter and Globalization Support initialization parameters

The following examples illustrate some of the valid values for the NLS_LANG environment variable.


Refer to the operating system documentation on how to determine the operating system locale environment setting.
Operating System Locale NLS_LANG Values
French (France)
Japanese (Japan)

A.1.2 Installing Translation Resources

To view the user interface of Oracle components in different languages, you must install the appropriate language translations along with the component.

To select the translation resources that you want to install:

  1. Start Oracle Universal Installer.

  2. In the Select Installation Type screen, select the type of installation that you want: Instant Client, Administrator, Runtime, or Custom and click Next.

  3. The Select Product Languages screen enables you to select the language in which you want to run the product.

    Select the product language from the Available Languages list, and transfer it to the Selected Languages list.

    Use the > arrow to move the selected language from the Available Languages list to the Selected Languages list, and click Next.


    Oracle Universal Installer will ignore languages in the Selected Languages field for which no translation is available.

A.2 Running Oracle Universal Installer in Different Languages

Your operating system locale determines the language in which Oracle Universal Installer runs. Oracle Universal Installer may run in one of the following languages:

To run Oracle Universal Installer in one of the available languages, change the locale in which your operating system session is running before you start Oracle Universal Installer with the ./runInstaller command. If the selected language is not one of the listed earlier, then Oracle Universal Installer runs in English.

You must ensure that the selected value for the LANG environment variable starts with the appropriate language abbreviation. In the aforementioned list of languages, in which Oracle Universal Installer can run, the required abbreviation appears in parentheses beside the language name. For example, fr_FR and fr_CA are valid values to run the Oracle Universal Installer in French.

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