According to https://ux.stackexchange.com/a/38982/111876, I don't need to display the current selected language option because the UI already provided this information. But I found it is difficult to display the language selector without current selected language, for example:

Case 1: Display other available language

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I found it looks like telling user that this page is written in Es currently.

Case 2: use ----- :

enter image description here

It seems look even worse because I believe users would have no idea what ----- is. So my question is, if current language option is not required to show, how to I display the language selector?

3 Answers 3


The key point is not about about whether you should show the current language, but how you design the language selector.

It's really not a big deal if you show the current language in the control that's used to change language (dropdown selector in your case). When a speaker of that language is on a screen, it would seem perfectly natural to see reference to the language they are reading in.

The case you should design for is when a visitor ends up on a screen in a language they can't read.

If your language selector is just that dropdown box, then a non-speaker of the current language won't know where to change it.

The most common pattern to solve this problem is to add a globe or map icon to the control. Something like shown below.

This communicates to a user who might be scanning a page looking for a way to change language "This control has something to do with internationalization or languages"

enter image description here


If you have only few languages, another common pattern is to display the languages in a link list, current language as a non link.

enter image description here

That way you solve both problems showing which language you are using now, and if someone ends up to a page they can't read.


A better choice is to use a flag of the country to signify language. A flag is far less ambiguous than your conventional icons. A flag represents a country. Humans associate languages to countries. games-workshop.com does this well.

Be careful before using icons. If you want to use an icon pick a couple different ones. Conduct testing with users to see what they see as language and if space permits add verbiage next to it.

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