• Media Type Adobe Acrobat PDF > Language and Content
  • State Active
  • Advisory No

Ensure that all documents specify the correct language of the document. Screen readers use this information to determine the correct pronunciation during speech output. When the wrong language is specified, the user may not understand document content.

Compliant Example

Compliant example should look similar to the following pseudo-code:

<Document language="English">

Non-Compliant Example

Non-Compliant example should look similar to the following pseudo-code:

<Document language="">

Ensure that the document's default language reflects the language of the document's content. This value can be changed in the properties of the document tag located as the first child of the root tags tag. For documents containing more than one language, the language for each text element which does not match the default language should be set from the Tags tab manually. All child elements inherit the language from their parent element.

  1. Open the tags tree
  2. Select the document tag
  3. Activate the context menu and then properties
  4. Set the language using the Language drop down listbox
  5. Activate the Close Button

The document language can also be set in the document properties dialog. Choose file > properties > advanced tab > Language.

Note: There is a known issue with setting the langugage in LiveCycle - it is not retained when the PDF is viewed in Acrobat Pro and Acrobat Reader 9 and 10.

Organization Standards

  • WCAG 2.0 Level A
    • 3.1.1 Language of Page
  • WCAG 2.1 Level A
    • 3.1.1 Language of Page

Other Mapped Standards

  • BITV 2.0 (Priority I)
    • 3.1.1 Sprache
  • HHS PDF 508 Checklist
    • Basic Elements
      • (7) Have PDF Document properties for Title, Author, Subject (AKA Description), Keywords, Language, and Copyright Status been applied per HHS guidance?
  • HHS PDF 508 Checklist (2014)
    • 1.0 Master Requirements for All Documents
      • (1.3) Have the Document Properties for Title, Author (an HHS OpDiv, StaffDiv, or Program Office---not an individual’s names), Subject (AKA Description), Keywords, and Language been filled out?
  • WCAG 1.0 Priority 3
    • 4.3 Identify the primary natural language of a document.
  • WCAG 2.2 Level A (Draft August 11, 2020)
    • 3.1.1 Language of Page
  • Severity5
    in range of 1 to 10
  • Noticeability5
    in range of 1 to 10
  • Tractability2
    in range of 1 to 10