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SuccessFactors – Language Packs – General discussion for all SuccessFactors modules

I did some searching around and found several discussions and blogs that mention one type of SuccessFactors (SF) module or another and the related language packs. But I couldn’t find a blog specifically focused on language packs for multiple modules. While it is becoming easier and easier to implement languages, the soup to nuts area of language packs could probably use its own blog. So here we are 🙂 We’ll start off small an build from there.

How can you be sure your customer has purchased language packs?

Check the customer’s Schedule A which shows the licenses, languages, and other services from SF. You must be sure languages are purchased before you turn them on in provisioning.

Who implements language packs, SF or Partners?

Partners or SF PS both can implement language packs. It is simply a matter of turning on the appropriate languages in provisioning including the top checkbox for Language Packs. New instances already have that checkbox ‘Language Packs’, but that wasn’t always the case. And it will wreak havoc in your instance if that is not checked. Don’t ever uncheck it even if the customer only has English!

The key is to KNOW for sure the customer owns the language pack within their Schedule A or ask them to purchase before you turn on languages in provisioning.

If a customer purchases one language pack, then decides they want to change it, can you do this on your own in provisioning?

You should not just allow a customer to switch a language without a change order to their contract. This would be handled through their SuccessFactors Account Exec and then have them show you the change order. Only at that point would you change the language in provisioning.

Which default language does a customer get with their basic license?

To my knowledge, unless this has changed, customers only get one default language, English. And English cannot be changed out for a different language, even if they will only be using one. For example, if the customer is in Germany and that’s the only location for their business, you cannot switch out German for English unless for some reason this is specifically called out in their contract with SF. If anyone knows something different than this process, please add notes here.

If a customer purchases language packs for BizX, does this automatically mean they have language packs for other modules with their own instances, e.g. JAM and LMS?

Although JAM does have its own instance, it is considered to be part of BizX and all customers have it with their licenses. So yes for JAM. But LMS is different. Because LMS is a completely separate instance, language packs are turned on and configured differently and they have their own pricing. Note that pricing does change so customers should check with their SF Account Exec if there are any questions on whether language packs are included or not.

For BizX modules e.g. EC, PM/GM, Recruiting, once the customer purchases BizX language packs, they are usable for all BizX modules. It just gets tricky when the module is on a different type of instance like LMS.

Is all language work accomplished in admin tools now or must some still be done in XML templates?

Language work is becoming more and more ingrained within the admin tools. Performance, profile, route maps, rating scales, and even Recruiting templates can now be edited in the new admin tools and language translations added there. However, unless I haven’t see something new about Goal Mgmt, you cannot add goal plan translations in admin tools. Keep watching release notes as this will surely change soon.

How can the basic system language be changed other than what you can do in Text Replacement?

The functionality for this is called 3 Tier Architecture which is accomplished in provisioning. A customer can request any system language change. But of course all it takes is time and money by the partner as you cannot do this in admin tools, except for the selections in Text Replacement. There are lots of resources out there to instruct on the configuration and it is not as scary as it sounds. But like everything else, pay careful attention to the details and do it in test first!

Which is the best tool to use with language work, Excel or something else?

For language work, Excel is BAD! Do not use it at all, never, never! Use the free suite of tools called Open Office and the spreadsheet within that tool. You customer will need to learn this as well for competencies, etc.

In provisioning, why are there sometimes duplicates of the same language but one with SF, e.g. es_ES_SF?

This situation should be very rare now and only on a very old instance. But in case you ever see it, do not begin work until the customers instances have been migrated to the new language packs which is an engineering case that your customer will need to open and follow through. Do not begin work until this is completed.

Typically, do partners actually provide translations or does the customer do that on their own?

Of course customers can purchase anything with enough time and money. But normally, the customer provides their own translations. We provide the ‘cookbook’, they add the translations, and then it is normally a combination of work between the customer and partner on who adds the translations. It is most important to let them know right up front about this as I have seen customers be disappointed and not understand they provide the translations.

When during the implementation project is the best time to start the translation process and how much time does this add to a project?

Language translations should be discussed on day one at the kickoff including how it works, the cookbook, who does what, etc. But it is best not to start the actual cookbook and then adding translations until AFTER configuration sign off. You can imagine how many versions of the cookbook would exist if you started earlier than config sign off. If the project timeline accommodates waiting until after config signoff to begin translations, you’ll need to add on about 8 weeks to go live unless they agree to an English only go live first. That being said, the customer work in admin tools should be taught and tested very early on and if they want to add their translations early and go back and correct them, it is up to them.

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  • Hi Margaret

    Good job with this article and one minor update is that SuccessFactors announced during the keynote that there were no longer going to charge for language packs and all were going to be available for free for new pricing customers.  Not sure what the impact is for existing customers.

    Best Regards,


  • Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for posting this article.

    If Implementation partner want to implement language pack for client,does they need to raise a incident JIRA?

    If so can you please provide the insights of the tool - under which category we need to raise a incident ticket for getting required language configured by SuccessFactors (As English is provided as a default for all customers in the basic license) ?

    Who should raise the incident ticket - Customer or Implementation partner?



  • To add to this, SF is making great strides in their localization of Onboarding. Most of the language customization can be done in the admin tools section of the Onboarding instance, however, there are still a few areas that would need to be done in Super Admin, which is only accessible by Success Factors or a consulting partner.

    You can localize any custom panel, any standard panel as long as it's not a compliance panel, any form, any notification and the dashboard. These items can all be done via Admin Tools.

    If you want to update the text that employees see while moving through the system, this can be done as well, along with the date format that appears throughout the system but both of these would need to be done via Super Admin in the backend.

      • Hi Lori;

        There is a super admin that can be created in the BizX Provisioning tool > Company Settings.

        However, Julie is referring to a different super admin for Onboarding that must be given by SF to the Onboarding partner consultant.

        There's actually a different administrator for LMS as well!

        Hope this helps 🙂 --Margaret

  • Cool summary, Margaret. Lots of confusion out there on the details of languages...

    Jarret, my understanding of the new pricing approach (i.e. free language packs) is that current customers stay under their on-going contract until the end of it, and then switch to the new pricing.

    Julie - interesting input - but there is certainly more to Onboarding localization than only languages - I would be interested to hear your opinion and input.

  • You're right Chiara, there is more, however, since this blog was on languages, I was sticking to that topic.

    For On-boarding localization, along with the multiple translation options they have available, there is also the date format change, which I did mention above, as well as the inclusion of compliance forms for different countries, which was supposed to be expanded in the next release, but they have pushed it out to a later release

  • Hi Margaret. Is it possible to have language switched on for PMGM but not Succession? My client wants to switch on languages, one module at the time.


    • Hi Margaretha;

      Behind the scenes, the language is on for the BizX suite as a whole. But the localization can be done per module. So if you only want to translate PM first, that's fine. But in this example, the end users would need to understand their PM forms would be translated, but if they have access to Succession, that would still be English until they are ready.

      Hope this helps! --Margaret

  • Hi all,

    Do you have any knowledge about roadmap of implementation new languages into SF?

    I'm especially interested in Macedonian and Montenegrin.

    Thanks. Tomasz.

  • Hi Margaret

    Great article!

    Are you aware of any limitations on the number of text changes that can be made using the 3 Tier Architecture. I seem to recall a colleague mentioning this in the past but of course I can't find the email trail now!

    Also do you know whether or not there is a risk of the text changes being overwitten in subsequent releases.



    1. If we implement Language pack what would be the impact on other modules. For example, if we implement language pack for LMS. is there any impact on Employee Central , PM&GM?