I'm searching for a documentation of how SharePoint processes the display languages that users can configure in their My Site. Which components (services, timer jobs, caches...) of SharePoint are involved and how do they interact when changing this setting? How does a site "know" about the user's preferred language?

Here is a screenshot of the setting (sorry in German, because this darn feature does not work):

Language Settings

Currently I'm debugging a case where the language setting simply is not applied regardless of what the user configures. Language packs are installed, alternative site languages are enabled, we waited hours after changing the setting. No UI language change. So I want to understand the underlying mechanisms to know where to start looking.

My specific case is a SP 2013 on-prem environment but I assume the underlying architecture did not change much in SPO (at least for the classic experience) given that the classic My Site UI is still there. (It just got more complicated.)

Can anybody provide information or pointers to documentation/books where the architecture of this specific "display language" functionality is described? Or at least provide some insights as to why it might take an hour to apply this setting after making changes?

2 Answers 2


There are two timer jobs involved. One synchronizes the language setting with Active Directory, or with a non-default user profile service in some cases. That synchronization is typically not an issue.

The other is the one that controls what sites know, the "User Profile service application - User Profile to SharePoint language and region synchronization" timer job. This goes to every site and updates the user-specific language setting on that site. The timer job is typically once per minute but it sometimes doesn't get to it in time so it can take several minutes.

To see the current setting for the current user on that site, go to "_layouts/15/regionalsetng.aspx?Type=User"

SharePoint compares that setting, a ranked list, item by item with the list of alternate languages of the site, and uses the first one that matches, and if none match then it uses the list of browser languages, and if none of those match then it uses the site default language. There is a bit of mapping for example if you have English (UK) rather than English (US).

In addition to that, SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2019 cache some menus and navigation so the language change can take a while, but you should be seeing a fair bit of the other languages right after the sync is done.

  • 1
    Deleting and re-provisioning the "User Profile service application - User Profile to SharePoint language and region synchronization" timer job via PowerShell fixed the problem. Thank you very much! Apr 7, 2021 at 14:52

About the language settings in SharePoint, you could refer to this article:


For it may take an hour to apply this setting after making changes, i think there should be a timer job running hourly to sync the language.

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