How to use your own language/spellings for region names

Let's say you are making a choropleth world map, and you want everything - title, labels, tooltips, and attribution - to be entirely in your native language. Good news! It is possible to create maps in whatever language you want since all of the text elements in the maps are fully customizable. In this article, we'll make the following map showing the percentage of internet users per country entirely in Spanish!

The first step is the most important and is really done as a part of pre-processing your data. On the "Add your data" tab, you need to include two columns in your dataset - one that matches the Geo-Code in Datawrapper and a second that contains the name of the regions in the language in which you want them to appear on the map. 

In order to upload your dataset into Datawrapper, you must match your dataset's names/IDs to a Geo-Code format provided by Datawrapper for your region. A "Geo-Code" is essentially an ID, which can be a name, a FIPS code, or ISO code, among many others. If you are using Name as your code, the name in your data needs to match the language of the name in Datawrapper. (If you are using a numeric code, the numbers must match.) 

In the example below, the uploaded data has a 'Name' column (left) for the English names of the countries and a 'Spanish Name' column (right) for the Spanish names of the countries. The dataset is matched on the 'Name' column since the country names provided by Datawrapper are in English.

NOTE: Geo-code and Output Locale are unrelated. Output locale only affects the language of the attribution line in the bottom left of the map and defines decimal and thousand separators as well as translation of month and weekday names. Changing the Output Locale will not affect the title, labels, nor tooltips of your map.

Then when it comes to customizing your tooltips or map labels, you can select your special column with the correct language on the Refine tab of the Visualize step. On the Customize tooltips menu, select which column you'd like to appear for the hover tooltips. In this case, you'd want to use "Nombres_en_esp_ol" (the computer will have trouble showing accents over letters). This will result in the hover tooltip showing the Spanish name of the country. For map labels, by selecting the Spanish name ("Nombres en español") column from the dataset, the map labels will appear in Spanish. You can also write the Title of your map in any language.


Map Labels:

The end result is that you have full control over which language the map labels, tooltips, title, and attribution text appear in. 

To summarize:

  • match your dataset's name/ID column with Datawrapper's geo-code (must be in the same language!), 
  • have a column in your dataset with the region names in the language in which you'd like the tooltips and map labels to appear. 
  • use that column for the Tooltips and Map labels section of the Refine tab on the Visualize step
  • remember you can change the attribution line in the bottom left of the map using the Output Locale menu.
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