SAP Knowledge Base Article - Public

2395445 - Default Locale | How to control the user language in SuccessFactors


  • How can I change the default locale/language for new users without the need to specify it in the UDF file?
  • The Default locale is changing and not respecting language choice
  • How do we set the Default Language before the user logs in?
  • How can the user change the default locale / language?


SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite

Reproducing the Issue

  1. Navigate to Admin Center > Update User Information > Employee Import > Import the User Directory File with Default Locale column left blank;
  2. Navigate to Admin Center > Update User Information > Employee Export > Export the User Directory File
  3. The Default Locale of the newly imported users is en_US. 


There is Default Locale in custom sync mapping in Data Model / BCUI.


When a new user is added to an instance, their default locale is set to en_US by default if the default locale column is left blank, when importing the User Directory File.

SuccessFactors replaces with the Default Locale if this field was populated with an invalid Locale in the User Data File. 

  • For customers without Employee Central:
    • The Default Locale will remain as en_US for newly added users if the Default Locale column is left blank. 
  • For Employee Central customers:
    • The new Onboardee users (ONB2.0) the default language will be the same as the Default Language setting for your company via the backend in Provisioning. It only applies for onboardee's, it doesn't apply to regular internal hires via Add new employee wizard or Employee import, or API upsert. 
    • Enabling Employee Central and setting a Default Locale after the initial import of users will not alter language/default locale for existing users. Meaning they'll still be set to en_US. To change this you will need to reimport them with the desired Default Locale specified.

NOTE: We do not support HRIS configuration. Because HRIS sync is always running, the data might be changed without you even noticing.

Therefore, we do not recommend below similar configuration:

 <hris-element-ref refid="personalInfo">
        <hris-field-ref refid="custom-string3"/>
        <standard-element-ref refid="defaultLocale"/>

To remove the HRIS mapping above:

  1. Login into SuccessFactors
  2. Go to Admin Center > Manage Business Configuration
  3. Expand HRIS Elements
  4. Find the element and field that has the mapping to default Locale
  5. Delete the mapping
  6. Save

Now to fix the data, you will need to re-import the user file:

  1. Go to Admin Center > Employee Export
  2. Export the user data file via Employee Export
  3. Save a copy of the file to be re-imported later
  4. Populate the Default_Locale column in the UDF file with the correct locale
  5. Import changed file via Employee Import
  6. Wait for the above import to be completed
  7. Then import the saved copy, with no changes applied

After removing the HRIS mapping and re-importing the file, the issue should be solved.

The user can also change the default locale that was imported initially by going to Settings > Change Language, selecting the preferred language and clickin on Switch.

Important: The company default language also affects the default language of other places where localization is applicable. For example, when you create a new Rating Scale or a new Route Map, you have to enter the value in default language locale first which is your Company default language, then you can add translation in other locales.

See Also

  • 2269945 - List of Supported Languages with Locales (BizX)
  • 3115662 - Is It Possible to Map Custom-String field to EP standard Field defaultLocale
  • 2380278 - How to set the Default Locale for a User in the Add New Employee Wizard
  • 2395445 - Default Locale | How to control the user language in SuccessFactors
  • 2269945 - List of Supported Languages with Locales (BizX)


SF, success, EC, Default Locale, UDF, basic import, manage business configuration , KBA , LOD-SF-PLT-MNG , Manage user Issues , LOD-SF-EC-HRS , HRIS Sync , How To


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