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If your documentation (.Rd and .Rmd) is written in a language other than English, declare it by setting setting lang to the language code for your language:

lang: fr

This will be used to set the language of the web page and to translate the English words that pkgdown generates on your site. Current available translations are:

  • ca: Catalan
  • de: German
  • dk: Danish
  • es: Spanish
  • fr: French
  • ko: Korean
  • pt: Portuguese
  • tr: Turkish
  • zh_CN: Chinese (simplified)

As you can see, most language codes are two letters, but if a language has multiple variants, it gets a longer form which can be used to disambiguate the options. For example, Chinese can use one of two forms: simplified (used in China and Singapore) or traditional (used in Taiwan and Hong Kong). Another example would be providing specific French Canadian translations by using code fr_CN.


Translations are contributed by community members so if your language is not currently available, you could be the one to add it!

To get started, first check the pkgdown issues to see if anyone has filed an existing issue. If so, the person who filed the issue might make for a great collaborator 😀.

Next, install potools and usethis:

install.packages(c("potools", "usethis"))

You’ll then need to familiarise yourself with the basics of translations with potools and creating pull requests with usethis.

If you don’t already know it, you’ll need to look up the ISO 639-1 abbreviation for your language. In the examples below, I’ll pretend I’m providing translations for Zulu, which has code zu.

Start by initialising a pull request:


Then create the translation file by running potools::po_create("zu"), open po/R-zu.po, and starting filling in the translations.

If you have access to chatGPT or similar, you can try prepopulating the translations, with a prompt something like thii:

You are an R developer who is fluent in English and Zulu. You love to do careful, high quality translations in your spare time. Complete the following po file for the R pkgdown package (which creates websites for R packages) by supplying translations for Zulu. Use inclusive gender forms where possible.

Then copy and paste the complete contents of the .po file .

You can check your work by adding lang: zu to your _pkgdown.yml then running:


Once you’re happy with your work, make sure to compile the changes:


Then commit your changes to Git and submit your pull request for review: