Document Language


Document language plays a role in Pandoc’s processing of most formats, and controls hyphenation in PDF output when using LaTeX (through babel and polyglossia) or ConTeXt.

Additonally, Quarto, Pandoc, and LaTeX will sometimes generate textual output that requires localization. For example, “Figure” or “List of Figures” for cross references, callout captions like “Note” or “Warning”, or the “Code” caption for folded code chunks.

lang Option

The lang document option is used to identifies the main language of the document using IETF language tags (following the BCP 47 standard), such as en or en-GB. The Language subtag lookup tool can look up or verify these tags.

For example, this document specifies the use of French:

title: "My Document"
lang: fr    

This will result in the use of French translations as well as the application of other language specific rules to document processing.


Quarto includes built-in translations for the following languages:

  • English (en, used by default)
  • Chinese (zh)
  • Spanish (es)
  • French (fr)
  • German (de)
  • Portuguese (pt)

You can also create and use a custom translation as follows:

  1. Make a copy of the default _language.yml file (

  2. Provide translations from the default English values.

  3. Specify the custom translation file using the language option. For example:

    language: custom.yml

The language option can be specified at a project or document level. Additionally, if you include a _language.yml file in the root of your project alongside your _quarto.yml config file it will be automatically used.

If you create a language translation file please consider contributing it so others can benefit from it. See the documentation on contributing language translations for additional details.