Oracle SQL Developer is being used around the world. I see evidence of this in Indonesian tweets, OTN forum questions written in Spanish, talking to people at the larger tech conferences, and looking at our website Google Analytics.

For just this site, here’s where people have visited from in 2014:

Google Translate support for Indonesian is terrible, so I usually can't tell exactly what these folks are saying...
Google Translate support for Indonesian is terrible, so I usually can’t tell exactly what these folks are saying…

If I look at the Browser Language configuration for site visitors, it’s 72% English, with the next top language being French at a little more than 3%.

Did you know that SQL Developer has supported from the v1 release a fully localized interface for these languages?

  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Simple & Traditional Chinese

SQL Developer determines what language to use in the user interface by looking at the Operating System locale/country properties.

Hint: You Can Override the UI Language

Many computer folks prefer to have their software operate in English, even though their native tongue is something else. So a pretty frequent question is how to get SQL Developer work in English even though their OS is setup for France or China.

In your sqldeveloper.conf file – located in the ‘bin’ directory – add this line

AddVMOption -Duser.language=en

Here’s what it looks like if I set that to ‘fr’:

Oracle SQL Developer with a French user interface
Oracle SQL Developer with a French user interface

Note that setting the locale does more than change the language – we also pick up your number and decimal separator characters.

And with it set to ‘ja’:

Oracle SQL Developer with a Japanese user interface
Oracle SQL Developer with a Japanese user interface


I'm a Distinguished Product Manager at Oracle. My mission is to help you and your company be more efficient with our database tools.


  1. Hi Jeff,

    I tried adding the line ‘AddVMOption -Duser.language=fr’ but it doesn’t seem to work for me. MyGUI diplay was in english before but I’ve been playing with nls parameters because I needed to insert some data with western european characters and have it encoded right.
    The data insertion worked fine for the but it also setthe display to french.
    My OS language settings are also in french ( I also tried changing them to english and it didn’t affect sql developper).
    Any suggestions would be great!

    • Hi. Thanks for replying.
      I added the line to sqldevelopper.conf. Here’s what it actually contains now:

      IncludeConfFile ../../ide/bin/ide.conf

      SetJavaHome ../../jdk

      #Set our usage tracking URI
      AddVMOption -Dide.update.usage.servers=

      #Disable the AddinPolicyUtils
      AddVMOption -Doracle.ide.util.AddinPolicyUtils.OVERRIDE_FLAG=true

      #Draw performance change
      AddVMOption -Dsun.java2d.ddoffscreen=false

      #font performance
      AddVMOption -Duser.language=en

      #Update the size of the perm gen area
      AddVMOption -XX:MaxPermSize=256M

      AddVMOption -Doracle.ide.startup.features=sqldeveloper

      AddJavaLibFile ../lib/oracle.sqldeveloper.homesupport.jar
      AddVMOption -Doracle.ide.osgi.boot.api.OJStartupHook=oracle.dbtools.raptor.startup.HomeSupport

      #Configure some JDBC settings

      AddVMOption -Doracle.jdbc.mapDateToTimestamp=false
      AddVMOption -Doracle.jdbc.autoCommitSpecCompliant=false
      # The setting below applies to THIN driver ONLY for others set this to false.
      # Refer to OracleDriver doc. for more info.
      AddVMOption -Doracle.jdbc.useFetchSizeWithLongColumn=true
      AddVMOption -Dsun.locale.formatasdefault=true
      AddVMOption -Dorg.netbeans.CLIHandler.server=false

      IncludeConfFile sqldeveloper-nondebug.conf

  2. sqldeveloper.conf file doesn’t seem to exist in Version 4.1 ???

    • Where are you looking for it? I see it in the sqldeveloper/bin directory where it should be.

    • The folder sqldeveloper only contains the two folders “extensions” and “lib” (and both of these contain only jar-files), and there is no “bin”.

      My Windows 8.1 is configured to list ALL files, and default language ist German.

      And, using search, there is no .conf file available either.

      I downloaded SQL developer 4.1 only a few day ago, as beta release, from

      Thanks for your help …. it’s disturbing to have all menues in German, but all the documentation in English, as well as the system being developed.

    • There is no sqldeveloper.conf for the data modeler. Go into the datamodeler directory then the bin, and you’ll have datamodeler.conf

      What are trying to set in the conf file?

  3. Hi,
    In my current job I cannot modify anything inside the program files directory, and my client is German, so the menus are in German and I cannot change the .conf file to change it to English.
    Can I ask that in future versions the menu language could be user-specific, so that each user see’s the menus in the language of his choice?

    Thanks and regards

    • I don’t have permissions to write except in my temp folder (it’s a citrix remote desktop solution). But maybe it would be possible to store a copy of the conf file in a user-specified folder and then have the application use that file instead of the default one.

  4. Hi Jeff,
    I found out that on a dutch Windows 7 machine, a few places in SQL Developer (like Apply and Cancel buttons for substitution variables prompts) are anyway translated in Dutch, even if you don’t mention Dutch as one of the supported translations…

    It does not look very good, so the workaround is to explicitly set the language to English using your hint.

    Anyway the only drawback is that every user on the machine is forced to have the language set to English. Is it somehow planned to make the language setting valid per user and modifiable from the user interface?


    • Paolo – try adding the flag to your product.conf file – that’s in your application data directory, and that’s per OS user. So as long as you login as paolo, then when someone else goes to use it, they won’t be affected.

  5. “Oui je parle français ! ” avec un f minuscule et un c cédille

    The translations are getting excellent. I remember the first version where only half the menus were translated. Now I would go for 99%

    the 1% missing : “Page Setup” (fichier-datamodeller), “Customize main toolbar” (Affichage – Afficher les barres d’outils) “Monitor Sessions” (Outils) maybe “Moniteur de sessions?” . In Préférences, what is “ObjectViewer” (visualiseur d’objets?) “Undo Behavior” (comportement d’annulation?) . “Usage Reporting” is totally untranslated.

    And the “help” also is in English.

    A bit annoying are the “abbreviations” , ALT-A does not go as expected to _A_ffichage.

    But it is impressive !

    • You can provide suggestions on improvements/replacements – I often fwd them over to that team directly. Having the technical knowledge AND the language is a nice helper 🙂

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