2 ways to change the language used by Cortana in Windows 10

Although Cortana's native language is English, she is not limited to just that. She can understand and speak other languages too. For each of the languages she knows, she is able to adapt not only her voice and speech style, but also the information that she offers users. You may want to know how to change Cortana's language. Maybe you'd like to know how many languages Cortana supports or in what regions she is available. For all the answers, read this guide:

How many languages does Cortana support?

At the time this article was written, Cortana was able to understand and speak only eight languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. Furthermore, Cortana is available on your Windows 10 computer or device only if you set it to use one of the following regions and languages pairs:

  • Australia: English
  • Brazil: Portuguese
  • Canada: English/French
  • China: Chinese (Simplified)
  • France: French
  • Germany: German
  • India: English
  • Italy: Italian
  • Japan: Japanese
  • Mexico: Spanish
  • Spain: Spanish
  • United Kingdom: English
  • United States: English
Cortana using English on a Windows 10 PC

You might also wonder on what devices you can use Cortana. The answer is Windows 10 computers and devices. Up until the end of January 2020, Cortana was also available as an app for Android and iOS, running on both Android smartphones and tablets, as well as on iPhones and iPads. However, Cortana's mobile apps were killed for every market except the United States, where they're still available, at least for the time being.

Andrew Shuman, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and the person leading the Cortana team, confirmed that this move from Microsoft doesn't mean that Cortana is killed entirely. It is just a refocus of the company towards computers and enterprises, where most of Microsoft's clients are present. It seems that Microsoft finally admitted that the other virtual assistants available for smartphones (Google Assistant and Siri) have won the mobile market.

1. How to change Cortana's language in Windows 10, based on your primary language

Cortana is designed to speak the same language as the region language set on your Windows 10 computer or device. Thus, to make her speak another language, you must configure your Windows 10 PC to use a different language. Furthermore, keep in mind that you can only use one of the Cortana supported regions and languages that we've shown you in the first section of this tutorial. To illustrate the steps required to change Cortana's language, let's make her speak Spanish:

Start by opening the Settings app. A quick way to do it is to push its button from the Start Menu, or by simultaneously pressing Windows + I on your keyboard.

The Settings button from the Start Menu

In the Settings app, click or tap on Time & Language.

The Time & Language category of settings

On the Time & Language page, select Region on the left sidebar.

The Region page from Windows 10 Settings

On the right side of the page, click or tap on "Country or region," and select a region that matches the language that you want Cortana to speak. In our example, because we want Cortana to use Spanish, we have to select Spain or Mexico (one of the two regions where Cortana supports Spanish).

The Country or region setting

Now, select Language on the left sidebar of the Time & Language page.

The Language page from Windows 10 Settings

On the right side of the Settings app, click or tap on "+ Add a preferred language", in the Preferred languages section.

Add a preferred language

The Settings app should display a dialog called "Choose a language to install". Scroll through the list until you find the language that you want Cortana to use, or type the language name in the text field from the top. Once you've found the language, click or tap on it.

As we want Cortana to speak Spanish, we have to select Espanol from the list. Don't forget that the language you choose must match one of the regions and languages pairs that we mentioned in the first section of this tutorial. For example, we can't use Puerto Rico's Espanol language, because it's not supported by Cortana. We can only use Spain's or Mexico's Espanol language.

Choose a language to install

Once you've made your choice, click or tap on Next.

Selecting the new language to install

Windows 10 asks what language features you want to install. Choose the ones you want, and make sure that you select "Set as my display language" and "Speech recognition". The recognition of speech is mandatory for Cortana to be able to use the new language. Then, click or tap on Install.

Choosing the features to install for the new language

Wait for Windows 10 to download and install the required language packages.

The new language is being installed

Once the new language is installed, Windows 10 asks you to sign out of your account, so that it can apply it. Do so now if you want to use Cortana in the new language as soon as possible, or choose to "No, sign out later" if you're not in a hurry.

Windows 10 asks you to sign out of your account

After you sign out of your account and sign back again, the new language you installed is used by Windows 10, both as your display language, and as Cortana's spoken language. Our Cortana now speaks Spanish, and your Cortana speaks any other supported language that you've set her to speak.

Windows 10 and Cortana use the new language you've installed

Now let's see how to set Cortana's language based on your region language:

2. How to change Cortana's language in Windows 10, based on your region language

Windows 10 also lets you make Cortana use your specific region language. For example, the primary language you use on your Windows 10 PC or device might be American English because you live in the United States. However, if you're a Great Britain national and you prefer British English, you can make Cortana use English (United Kingdom) so that she can understand you better. First, open the Settings app and go to Cortana.

The Cortana category of settings

If Talk to Cortana is not selected by default on the left sidebar, select it yourself. Then, scroll on the right side of the window until you get to the area called Cortana Language.

The Cortana Language area from the Talk to Cortana page

In the Cortana Language section, Windows 10 tells you the language that Cortana is using right now and also lets you change it. To change the language used by Cortana, click or tap on Choose one and select the language you prefer from the list.

Choosing another language for Cortana

After you select the new language, Windows 10 might download additional packages. As soon as they are installed, Cortana adapts to speak the new language you've chosen. If you change your mind and want to make her "use the language that works best for the region on your device," click or tap the Default language button anytime you want.

Reset Cortana to use the Default language

Don't forget that this method only lets you change Cortana's language to one of the current language variants that's spoken in other supported regions. For example, if Windows 10's and Cortana's current language is English (United States), you cannot change Cortana's language to Spanish. Still, you can make her use the English spoken in other supported regions, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, or India.

Did you change Cortana's default language?

Now you know how to change Cortana's language settings. Why did you want to make her speak another language? Was it because you also use Windows 10 in another language than the one set by default? Or did you move to another country and wanted to adapt faster and practice your Spanish (or whatever language is spoken there)? Comment below and let's talk, preferably in English! 🙂

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