Language change without lang attribute Accessibility Checkpoint


Phrases in a different language should be in a span or div with a lang attribute.


Non-English phrases in English text, or English phrases in non-English text, will be mispronounced by a screen reader unless they are identified with a lang attribute.

Applicable standards

Note: Section 508 Refresh (2017) checkpoints are equivalent to WCAG 2.0 level A and level AA checkpoints.

Change history

  • 6.43 Dec 2021 Improved phrase detection.
  • 6.40 Jan 2021 Improved language detection.
  • 5.37 May 2020 Improved detection.
  • 5.35 Oct 2019 Fixed false positive. Changed rule ID from AccWcag1-4.1.1 to AccPhraseLangMissing.
  • 5.9 Jun 2015 Improved language detection.
  • 4.0 Jun 2010 Use Content-Language header and meta tag if document has no lang attribute.
  • 3.5 Dec 2009 Don’t fire on French/Spanish/Dutch/German proper names commonly seen in English text (e.g. Las Vegas).
  • 3.3 Jun 2009 Improved language detection.
  • 3.0 Dec 2008 Now triggers WCAG2 issue.
  • 1.0 Feb 2007 Added.

This page describes a web site issue detected in HTML documents by SortSite Desktop and OnDemand Suite.

Rule ID: AccPhraseLangMissing