F Configuring Oracle Database Globalization Support

This appendix describes these Globalization Support topics:

F.1 About NLS_LANG Environment Variable

Oracle provides Globalization Support that enables users to interact with a database in their preferred locale and character set settings. Setting the NLS_LANG environment variable specifies locale behavior for Oracle software. It sets the language and territory used by the client application and the database server. It also sets the character set for entering and displaying data by a client program, such as SQL*Plus.

The NLS_LANG environment variable uses the following format:



Parameter Description
language Specifies the language used for displaying Oracle messages, sorting, day names, and month names.
territory Specifies the conventions for default date, monetary and numeric formats.
characterset Specifies the encoding used by the client application (normally the Oracle character set that corresponds to the character set of the user terminal or the operating system)

The NLS_LANG environment variable is set as a local environment variable for the shell on all UNIX-based platforms. For example, if the operating system locale setting is en_US.UTF-8, then the corresponding NLS_LANG environment variable should be set to AMERICAN_AMERICA.AL32UTF8.

See Also:

Oracle Database Globalization Support Guide for information about the NLS_LANG parameter and Globalization Support initialization parameters


AL32UTF8 is the Oracle Database character set that is appropriate for XMLType data. It is equivalent to the IANA registered standard UTF-8 encoding, which supports all valid XML characters.

Do not confuse Oracle Database database character set UTF8 (no hyphen) with database character set AL32UTF8 or with character encoding UTF-8. Database character set UTF8 has been superseded by AL32UTF8. Do not use UTF8 for XML data. UTF8 supports only Unicode version 3.1 and earlier; it does not support all valid XML characters. AL32UTF8 has no such limitation.

Using database character set UTF8 for XML data could potentially cause a fatal error or affect security negatively. If a character that is not supported by the database character set appears in an input-document element name, a replacement character (usually "?") is substituted for it. This will terminate parsing and raise an exception.

The following table lists some of the valid values for the NLS_LANG environment variable.


Refer to the operating system specific documentation on how to determine the operating system locale environment setting.
Operating system locale NLS_LANG values

F.2 Running Oracle Universal Installer in Different Languages

Oracle Universal Installer runs by default in the selected language of your operating system. You can also run Oracle Universal Installer in one of the following languages:

  • Brazilian Portuguese

  • German

  • Japanese

  • Simplified Chinese

  • Traditional Chinese

  • French

  • Italian

  • Korean

  • Spanish


If the language set for the operating system is not supported by Oracle Universal Installer, then Oracle Universal Installer, by default, runs in the English language.

To run Oracle Universal Installer in a different language, you can use any of the following methods:

  • Change the language in which the operating system is running before you run Oracle Universal Installer. You can change the language in which the operating system is running by clicking Language on the Login screen and selecting the required language from the list.

  • To run Oracle Universal Installer in another language from the shell prompt, use a command similar to the following after changing to the Disk1 directory (or to the directory that contains the runInstaller file):

    # LANG=language_territory.characterset ./runInstaller

    For example, to run Oracle Universal Installer in German, use the following command:

    # LANG=de_DE.UTF-8 ./runInstaller

See Also:

Oracle Universal Installer and OPatch User's Guide for information about running Oracle Universal Installer in different languages