Language Translation

What is the best method to translate the form designed in English to another language ?
If the questions are in English, I need how can I translate the questions and options in Hindi directly by downloading the form in Excel. How can I do this language translation ?

Hi @ssinha,

Welcome to the community! There are two ways in managing translations in KoBoToolbox. The first one is translating the survey questionnaire using the form builder user interface. For details, please see the support article Adding another language to your form in the Project Dashboard. The second option is translating the survey questionnaire using the xlsforms. For details, please see the support article on Adding Another Language to your XLS Form.

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How do you switch the SURVEY language (not interface) in the app?


Your query is not clear, what @Kal_Lam had explained involves adding a language or multiple languages. When you need to switch the language of the form within collect you need to do so by tapping the menu button (three dots on the phone).

Kindly confirm if this is what you are looking for. If not, could you be very specific on your query.


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@Kal_Lam: Hi I’m new to Kobo and need to set up a project with English at default language and then add Thai. Reading up on guidance, I understand that there are two ways to do so (portal or an Excel template). In the portal I get stuck on setting English as default. I have created the form (not published), Then guidance is to click the ‘pencil’ icon to set the default language. But I don’t see that option - what am I doing wrong?

Hi @abaare,

I would suggest you to follow the following steps to setup a project with English at default language and then add Thai as secondary:

  • First of all, complete designing the survey project (with English Questions) in your KoBoToolbox user interface. Do not specify the default language at this stage.
  • Finally check your completed survey project (that has been finalized in English).

Now follow the images below that will guide you in adding the default language as well as the secondary language for your survey project.

  • Step 1:
    Press the globe like button.

  • Step 2:
    Type English under the Default language name, En under the Default language code and press SET.

  • Step 3:
    Press ADD LANGUAGE to add Thai as secondary language.

  • Step 4:
    Type Thai under the Language name, Th under the Language code and press ADD.

  • Step 5:
    Now press the globe like button to add Thai questionnaire within your survey project.

  • Step 6:
    Now translate your English questionnaire into Thai (Unicode) here. And press SAVE CHANGES when done.

With this you should now be able to view your survey questionnaire in both English as well as Thai.

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@Kal_Lam : thanks for the quick response. I have a test questionnaire (screen 1)The issue i face is that that your Step (press Globe) does not allow me to enter a default language: the fields at ‘greyed out’.

Screen 1 (test form, not deployed)

Screen 2
Screen 2: greyed out language fields

Hi @abaare,

Inside the grey shaded area you will see some white parts (as shown in step 2 above). Try filling out there.

@Kal_Lam. that worked. So languages set to English as default with Thai. After pressing the translation Globe next to Thai, the system reports that the translation ‘updated’ but doesn’t show text

Hi @abaare,

You will need to type the Thai by yourself. Please use the Unicode.

Hi @Kal_Lam Understood, thanks for the help

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