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Localizing the Map

You can customize your map for a specific country or region in the following ways:

  • Change the default language settings.
  • Specify a region code, which alters the map's behavior based on a given country or territory.

Language localization

By default, the Maps JavaScript API uses the user's preferred language setting as specified in the browser, when displaying textual information such as the names for controls, copyright notices, driving directions and labels on maps. In most cases, it's preferable to respect the browser setting. However, if you want the Maps JavaScript API to ignore the browser's language setting, you can force it to display information in a particular language by adding a language parameter to the <script> tag when loading the Maps JavaScript API code.

The language parameter affects the names of controls, copyright notices, driving directions, and control labels, as well as the responses to service requests. The effect on services is not as apparent. For example, when geocoding street level addresses the country name is returned in the language you requested, but the rest of the address will be specific to the location you are geocoding. On the other hand, postal and political results are returned in the requested language. Try this demo to experiment with the changes on the map when you update the language parameter.

The following example displays a map in Japanese and sets the region to Japan:

<script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&language=ja&region=JP">
</script>

View example.

If you set the language of the map, it's important to consider setting the region too. This helps ensure that your application complies with local laws.

Note: When you load the API in the manner shown above, the map uses the Japanese language for all users regardless of user preferences. Be sure you want this behavior before setting this option.

The Maps JavaScript API also supports bi-directional (Bidi) text containing characters in both left-to-right (LTR) and right-to-left (RTL) languages natively. Examples of RTL languages include Arabic, Hebrew, and Farsi. Generally, you should specify RTL language pages to render properly by adding dir='rtl' to the page's <html> element. The following example renders a map of Cairo, Egypt using Arabic controls:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html dir="rtl">
  <body>
    <script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&language=ar&region=EG">
    </script>
  </body>
</html>

View example.

See the list of supported languages. Note that new languages are added often, so this list may not be exhaustive.

Region localization

When you load the Maps JavaScript API from maps.googleapis.com it applies a default bias for application behavior towards the United States. If you want to alter your application to serve different map tiles or bias the application (such as biasing geocoding results towards the region), you can override this default behavior by adding a region parameter to the <script> tag when loading the Maps JavaScript API code.

As the developer of a Maps JavaScript API application it is your responsibility to ensure that your application complies with local laws by ensuring that the correct region localization is applied for the country in which the application is hosted.

The region parameter accepts Unicode region subtag identifiers which (generally) have a one-to-one mapping to country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs). Most Unicode region identifiers are identical to ISO 3166-1 codes, with some notable exceptions. For example, Great Britain's ccTLD is "uk" (corresponding to the domain .co.uk) while its region identifier is "GB." Try this demo to experiment with the changes on the map when you update the region parameter.

For example, the following script tag localizes the map to the United Kingdom:

<script src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&region=GB">
</script>

The following examples show two maps, one which geocodes "Toledo" based on the default region (US) to "Toledo, Ohio" and one which biases results based on a region set to ES (Spain) to "Toledo, Spain."

View the US example and the ES example.

Localization Demo

When setting the language of the map, it's important to consider setting the region too. Here is a demo that allows you to load the map with your choice of language and region.

View this demo in fullscreen.

Loading the API in China

The Maps JavaScript API is served within China from http://maps.google.cn. When serving content to China, replace https://maps.googleapis.com with http://maps.google.cn. For example:

<script src="http://maps.google.cn/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY">
</script>

If you are specifically targeting users in China, you should add the region and language parameters as well. The API supports both zh-CN and zh-TW as values for the language parameter.

<script src="http://maps.google.cn/maps/api/js?region=cn&language=zh-CN&key=YOUR_API_KEY">
</script>

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