Change your map’s label language

When building a map from a Mapbox template style, map labels will appear in English by default. You can change the language of your map’s labels directly in the Mapbox Studio style editor or dynamically using Mapbox GL JS, the Mapbox Android SDK, or the Mapbox iOS SDK. This guide also outlines changing label language in Mapbox Studio Classic.

Languages available

All Mapbox template maps use the Mapbox Streets vector tileset for map features. In this tileset, there are seven different name fields for each of the label layers:

  • name — the name or names used locally for the place
  • name_en — English (if available)
  • name_es — Spanish (if available)
  • name_fr — French (if available)
  • name_de — German (if available)
  • name_ru — Russian (if available)
  • name_zh — Chinese (if available)
  • name_zh-Hans — Simplified Chinese (if available)
  • name_pt — Portuguese (if available)
  • name_ar — Arabic (if available)

Change label language in Mapbox Studio

Layer by layer

  1. Create a new style or edit an existing one in Mapbox Studio.
  2. Select the layer that contains the labels you’d like to edit.
  3. Under the Text tab, click the value next to Text field. A panel will appear with all language options for the layer.
  4. Click the desired language; the map will update on select.

screenshot in Mapbox Studio changing text-field input box with new language

screenshot in Mapbox Studio of resulting new language in map style

Multiple layers at once

Instead of changing each label layer individually, you can use the Properties panel to change all the label layer’s languages.

Click Properties at the bottom of the layers list to reveal the Properties panel and click Text field. This will show a list of each Text field in your map style. Any change you make in one of these fields will also apply to all other layers that had the same value.

screenshot of Mapbox Studio changing text field in properties panel

Change label language dynamically

Mapbox GL JS

If you are comfortable with JavaScript, you can change the language of your labels dynamically by using the .setLayoutProperty() method in Mapbox GL JS. See the language switcher Mapbox GL JS example for more details.

You can also use the Mapbox GL Language plugin to automatically change the layers of a map style to use the text-field that matches the browser language. Read more about this and other capabilities of the Mapbox GL Language plugin on GitHub.

Mapbox Android SDK

With the Mapbox Android SDK, you can change the language of labels on your map dynamically at runtime:

Layer mapText = map.getLayer("place-city-lg-n");
mapText.setProperties(textField("{name_ru}"));

See the Android SDK documentation for details and the language switch example in the Mapbox Android demo app for more code implementation.

Mapbox iOS SDK

With the Mapbox iOS SDK, you can change the language of labels on your map dynamically at runtime:

let layer = style.layer(withIdentifier: "place-city-sm")
layer.text = MGLStyleValue(rawValue: "{name_es}")
MGLStyleLayer *layer = [style layerWithIdentifier:@"place-city-sm"];
layer.text = [MGLStyleValue valueWithRawValue:@"{name_es}"];

See the iOS SDK documentation for more information.

Change label language in Mapbox Studio Classic

Most of the Mapbox preset styles in Mapbox Studio Classic will have a @name variable in the CartoCSS. This is where you can set the language. Below are the options and an example of how to set the value of @name to '[name_en]' or English labels.

// Language options: name (local), name_en, name_fr, name_es, name_de
@name: '[name_en]';

Swap out any of the language options inside the brackets to change your labels to that language.

Next, you must set all the labels with the property text-name with the value @name. For example:

#country_label[zoom>=3] {
  text-name: @name;
  ...
}