Language of the document must be specified

Rule ID: lang-def-catalog
Ruleset: axe-pdf 2.0
User Impact: Serious
Guidelines: WCAG 2.1 (A), WCAG 2.0 (A)

Learn Web Accessibility

Subscribe to our extensive curriculum of online self-paced courses

Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Deafblind
  • Mobility


  • WCAG 2.1 (A)
  • WCAG 2.0 (A)

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.1 (A)]

  • 3.1.1: MUST: Language of Page

WCAG Success Criteria [WCAG 2.0 (A)]

  • 3.1.1: MUST: Language of Page

How to Fix the Problem

Identify the language of the PDF document.

In Acrobat Adobe Pro:

  1. Select File > Properties
  2. In the Properties dialog, select the Advanced tab
  3. In the Reading Options field, select the default language from the Language combo box

Note: Adobe Acrobat Pro is the most common tool for PDF remediations, but other tools and software are also available and can be used to remediate the PDF.

Why it Matters

When configuring a screen reader, users select a default language. If the language of a PDF is not specified, the screen reader assumes the default language set by the user. Language settings become an issue for users who speak multiple languages and access documents in more than one language. It is essential to specify a language and ensure that it is valid so the document text is pronounced correctly.

Rule Description

Both assistive technologies and conventional user agents can render text more accurately when the language of the document is identified. Screen readers can load the correct pronunciation rules. Visual browsers can display characters and scripts correctly. Media players can show captions correctly. As a result, users with disabilities are better able to understand the content.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Language of the document must be specified


Other Resources

You may also want to check out these other resources.

Refer to the complete list of axe 2.0 rules.

Was this information helpful?

You have already given your feedback, thank you..

Your response was as follows:

Was this information helpful?
Date/Time feedback was submitted: