In 10.3, Mathematica starts captioning symbol-names into foreign languages if your Interface preferences are set to have Mathematica in a foreign language.

Graph annotated

I poked around the Attributes, and viewed the Cell expression, but from the code I couldn't find any sign that this was happening at all (though it's obviously happening somehow).

I want to be able to make this happen on my own functions: to be able to supply translations, for instance, or extremely short inline explanations. For example, if I made a little function toInt, I might want to attach a type annotation String->Integer. This could help offset the verbosity of Mathematica code by making the notebook interface that little bit more intelligent.

One can see the translations available using WolframLanguageData:

 EntityProperty["WolframLanguageSymbol", "Translations"]

How does Mathematica do the translation annotations, and how can I do it myself?

  • $\begingroup$ +1 I would really like to know the answer too! $\endgroup$
    – Silvia
    Oct 23, 2015 at 7:11

1 Answer 1



Karsten 7. suggested a better method in the comments, which does not require a modification of any system files and can be used under English language setting. It works on my 10.2 installation after applying the following procedures:

  1. Under the user's directory (FileNameJoin[{$UserBaseDirectory,"SystemFiles\\FrontEnd\\SystemResources\\FunctionalFrequency"}]), add a file named, say, CustomAnnotation.m.

  2. Edit this CustomAnnotation.m as you want, consisting with the format of the built-in language specification file as described in my old answer (see below).

  3. Either open the Option Inspector and add the following path to Global Options ► File Locations ► PrivatePaths ► "TranslationData":

    FrontEnd`FileName[{$UserBaseDirectory, "SystemFiles", "FrontEnd", "SystemResources", "FunctionalFrequency"}]

    or execute the following code within the notebook:

    CurrentValue[$FrontEnd, {PrivatePaths, "TranslationData"}] = 
     Append[CurrentValue[$FrontEnd, {PrivatePaths, "TranslationData"}], 
       FrontEnd`FileName[{$UserBaseDirectory, "SystemFiles", "FrontEnd", 
         "SystemResources", "FunctionalFrequency"}]];
  4. Restart Mathematica.

  5. Execute the following code in Mathematica (replace $FrontEnd with $FrontEndSession for non-persistent modification):

    SetOptions[$FrontEnd, TranslationOptions -> {"Enabled" -> True, 
                                                 "Language" -> "CustomAnnotation"}]

Original Answer


  1. The following method works on my Mathematica 10.2, but not tested on other versions. [Also tested on Mathematica 10.3, Mac OS 10.11.1.]
  2. The following method involving modification of a system file, thus is likely prohibited by the EULA.

  1. First find the language specific file located on a path similar to the following (I will use the simplified Chinese as a demonstration):

    C:\Program Files\Wolfram Research\Mathematica\10.2\SystemFiles\FrontEnd\SystemResources\FunctionalFrequency\ChineseSimplified.m

  2. Add a new function annotation line (the 3rd line in the snapshot):

    Mathematica graphics

  3. Open Mathematica with language setting to simplified Chinese, type ThisIsATestFunction in a notebook:

    Mathematica graphics

  • $\begingroup$ This is great - I'd still like a way to do this without changing the system language, but that's looking increasingly unlikely given how it seems to have been implemented. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2015 at 8:38
  • $\begingroup$ @PatrickStevens I doubt there is any way without changing system files.. $\endgroup$
    – Silvia
    Oct 23, 2015 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Karsten7. I would like to know how to make it work under english language settings. $\endgroup$
    – Silvia
    Oct 23, 2015 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Karsten7. I edited your method in my answer, please feel free to correct me if there is any misunderstanding. $\endgroup$
    – Silvia
    Oct 23, 2015 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ This method seems to be limited to function names starting with a capital letter or $, though. $\endgroup$
    – Karsten7
    Oct 23, 2015 at 22:38

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