How to Create a Gmail Spam Filter for Foreign Language Spam

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Frustrated about the amount of spam you receive in foreign languages? Be it Russian, Japanese or other Asian language; or Kanji, Hanzi, Hanja, logograms, pictograms, Cyrillic or other characters, foreign language spam is frustrating. And it’s all the more frustrating because if all foreign language email that you receive is usually spam, as is the case for many people, then your spam filter should have a way to tell it “All email not in English (or whichever your native language is) is spam.” Now, if you use Gmail, there is a way to do it (and even if you don’t use Gmail as your primary email program, you can use Gmail as a spam filter). Here it is.

The trick is to use Google’s own language identifiers – their abbreviations for each language – and to tell Gmail that any email that arrives in any of those languages should go directly into a separate foreign language spam folder – or – if you are very sure of yourself (say, after using the filter for a month or so to be sure it’s fool-proof for your needs) to simply delete any email that arrives in the listed languages.


Now, Google has identified a lot of languages, so for completeness, it’s actually easier add every language to the spam filter except the languages that you don’t want filtered.

Here’s how to do it.

Go into Gmail, and click on “Create a filter”

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gmail-create-a-filter

 

Find the filter option “Has the words” because you are going to create a filter to match the content of the spam:

 

gmail-filter-has-the-words

 

 

Now you are going to copy and paste the list of Google language abbreviations (included below) into the “Has the words” box – don’t worry that the list is much longer than the box, just paste it in there – it will look like this:

 

gmail-language-spam-filter-has-the-words

 

You should also add some words or names in the “Doesn’t have” section, to make super sure that important mail doesn’t get clobbered by the filter. Include important business key words, and names of correspondents who may occasionally add foreign words to their email (mon Dieu!).

Now, click “Next step” and then tell Gmail what to do with the spam it has found – we have it “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)” and apply a special label, in this case “FOREIGN LANGUAGE SPAM” (we put it in caps so it will stand out to remind us to check it occasionally). Unfortunately, Gmail doesn’t offer a “send to the spam folder” option, so you have to create your own folder. Again, once you are certain that the filter isn’t clobbering wanted email, you can change it from applying your label to “Delete it”:

 

create-filter

 

Look at that – immediately upon creating the filter it found 173 emails that hadn’t already been caught!:

 

foreign-language-spam-in-gmail-folder

 

Ok, here is the list to copy and paste into your “Has the words” section of the filter tool – mind you that we have removed English, Spanish, French, and German from this list – if you want to add any of them back in (along with Elmer Fudd, Hacker and Pirate language) you can get the codes from the full list of abbrevations at the bottom of this article):

lang:af OR lang:am OR lang:ar OR lang:az OR lang:be OR lang:bg OR lang:bh OR lang:bn OR lang:bo OR lang:ca OR lang:chr OR lang:cs OR lang:da OR lang:dv OR lang:el OR lang:eo OR lang:et OR lang:eu OR lang:fa OR lang:fi OR lang:gl OR lang:gn OR lang:gu OR lang:hi OR lang:hr OR lang:hu OR lang:hy OR lang:id OR lang:is OR lang:it OR lang:iu OR lang:iw OR lang:ja OR lang:ka OR lang:kk OR lang:km OR lang:kn OR lang:ko OR lang:ku OR lang:ky OR lang:lo OR lang:lt OR lang:lv OR lang:mk OR lang:ml OR lang:mn OR lang:mr OR lang:ms OR lang:mt OR lang:my OR lang:ne OR lang:nl OR lang:no OR lang:or OR lang:pa OR lang:pl OR lang:ps OR lang:pt-PT OR lang:ro OR lang:ru OR lang:sa OR lang:sd OR lang:si OR lang:sk OR lang:sl OR lang:sq OR lang:sr OR lang:sv OR lang:sw OR lang:ta OR lang:te OR lang:tg OR lang:th OR lang:tl OR lang:tl OR lang:tr OR lang:ug OR lang:uk OR lang:ur OR lang:uz OR lang:vi OR lang:zh OR lang:zh-CN OR lang:zh-TW

 

Here is the full list of Google’s language abbreviations:

 

google-language-abbreviations-af-is-afrikaans-icelandic
google-language-abbreviations-indonesian-romanian
google-language-abbrevations-romansh-zulu

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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People also searched for anywsy to filter out foreign language emails as span, spam filter how to make for regional language

4 thoughts on “How to Create a Gmail Spam Filter for Foreign Language Spam

  1. Google should reimplement this ASAP to let users decide what language they receive their valid email in, preventing useless Google mail server storage.

  2. Thank you. This solution curbed my foreign language spam immediately, particularly in Spanish.

  3. Thanks a lot. I get lots of junk in Spanish, which I don’t speak, and it never seems to get caught by the filter.

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