Language settings reverting - Users Blocked


Users are seeing their language settings revert after they change them in the Account Settings page.

User impact

At least 16 users cannot change their Site Language to a language that they actually read. See where we are tracking them.

To reproduce

Go to and change your Site Language setting (under Site Preferences), then use the menu to go to your dashboard. For users having this problem, the dashboard will be in the old language.

has not been able to reproduce this on Mac Chrome desktop, but saw it using Chrome 75 on Ubuntu 16.04, trying to change from English to Catalan. She was not able to reproduce it on Firefox.

Current theories

  • If you visit a localized marketing page generated by Drupal (for instance, from Google), then your Site Language account setting will be automatically updated to that language. A localized marketing page has a URL that looks like , with /es/ being a language code. Again, this change will be automatic and will persist unless you manually change it back through the Account Settings page. It's important to check if the user might have visited a URL either from Google, using the back button, or from a localized URL being in their browser autocomplete. If they fix their Account Settings but then use that localized URL from autocomplete or the back button, their Account Settings value will be set to "es" (or whatever) again.

    • This sequence of events is NOT triggered by visiting new Prospectus pages.

  • If you have the prod-edx-language-preference cookie set to "es" (Spanish) for some reason, and you go to some edx URLs, they will look at that cookie and forward you to the localized version of the page, and then you're in the situation above where it saves that value to your Account Settings. It's not clear to me yet how the cookie could get changed, but if we find something doing that, then this path could be making the problem worse.

  • There is a value called Spoken Languages which in the new Account Settings page actually appears higher than Site Language. Spoken Languages is just a field that appears in the user profile, it doesn't affect the site language at all. There is a chance that some users are confusing Spoken Languages with Site Language.

Possibly Useful Facts

  • The new Account Settings page went live for all users on May 24th. On our spreadsheet, the earliest report is June 25th.

  • The event edx.user.settings.changed is fired when the user’s language setting is changed. (Example fields: {{{ new: es-419, old: end, setting: pref-lang, table: user_api_userpreference }}} .)




Epic Link


Story Points



Rebecca Doris


David Joy


Platform Area

Learner Experience - Language Selection & Support