Selecting document and query languages

You can specify that only documents in specific languages are returned when you enter a query. You can also specify that the search engine process queries in a particular language.

Important: You must enable cookies on your browser to use the language settings. For most browsers, you can enable cookies in the Privacy page from the Options window.

By selecting a document language, you tell the search engine to return documents only in that specified language. The default setting is to return documents in all languages that match the query. The search engine automatically determines the language of each document that it crawls and performs linguistic analysis for many languages. This analysis results in higher search quality.

The query language is used to interpret the words in the query. Setting the query language helps the search engine analyze inflections and other word forms for a specific language. Therefore, it can return documents that contain the query terms in different forms. For example, if a query contains the term running, the search engine might return variations of this term such as run or ran. Typically, you get better results if the query language is the same as the language of the documents that you expect to find.

If you do not specify a query language in the Language Preferences window, the query language and spelling suggestions are defined by the language setting in your browser. For example, if your browser is configured to use French, any search queries are interpreted in French and spelling suggestions are made in French.

Tip: To temporarily specify that only documents in specific languages are returned for a specific query, use the Document Languages option on the Advanced Search page.

To select a document or query language:

  1. Click Search only for documents written in one or more of the following languages.
  2. Select one or more query languages. If you do not see a list of query language selections in the Preferences window, contact your search administrator.
    Remember: The language preference overrides the language setting of your browser.
  3. Click Save.

The search engine automatically identifies the language of a document during indexing by a linguistic analysis of the text of the document. The language that the search engine identifies might differ from the language that is specified in document metadata. Mixed-language documents are assigned only one language.