Defining Language

Screen readers support and switch between multiple languages if you properly defines those languages. Language tags are supported in HTML and PDFs and are applied automatically in content management systems (CMS). However, a CMS cannot recognize different languages and will default to English.


Through HTML, you can define an entire page as one language and define blocks as different languages.

To define an entire page as English, use

<html lang=”en”>

To define blocks of text as English, use

<p lang=”en”>This is English text.</p>

In both instances, “en” defines the text as English. To define a different language, use that specific language tag. Find all language tags in the HTML Language Code Reference.


PDFs can define languages using functionality built into Adobe Acrobat Pro. Click “File” > click “Properties” > click the “Advanced” tab > elect the document language in “Language” under “Reading Options.”