History:Release Language

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Releases have two linguistic attributes, language and script. The language attribute (e.g. French) records the language of the release title and track titles, (not the lyrics and not the extra information on the disc sleeve), and the script attribute (e.g. Latin) records the general type of characters in which the release and track titles are written. In most cases, the script will be guessed correctly, so you don't need to worry too much about it. The language guessing is less accurate, and may be hard even for an experienced person to determine.

For classical releases, please check out the ClassicalReleaseLanguage guide for some discussion on how to determine the language of classical releases.


MusicBrainz uses the ISO 639 language codes to record languages; there are over 400 different languages, and a list with several thousand being developed. However, few of these languages are used in many MusicBrainz releases, so by default, a reduced list of 20 languages is presented (you can request a complete list if the correct language for a release is not listed). The reduced list includes the official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish), the special case 'Multiple Languages', and the 13 other languages that are most frequently used in MusicBrainz data. The languages are chosen in this way for fairness, allowing the community to choose which languages are most important when they set the language of a release.

If several languages are used in the titles, choose the most common language. For releases where there's an equal mix of two or more languages and hence no obvious answer, 'Multiple Languages' may be the best choice. But remember that it is quite common for languages to borrow words and phrases, and so "Je ne sais quoi" in an English title does not make something multiple languages, nor do a few English words in a foreign language title. (Some languages borrow quite extensively, and especially for Japanese, unless most of the titles are in other languages, Japanese is probably the best choice.)

In some cases, the release and track titles written on a release may include translations or transliterations.