Original Poster

How can I keep Google from changing my language settings

One thing which annoys me terribly about Google is its weird way it deals with languages. Many people in the world are multilingual. I work in China, I use a Japanese OS, I generally use English, but also Dutch and German.  In my language settings I have set my language to English.  However, when I click on my account details; the page shows in Japanese without a possibility to change.

Then, if I want to look for something Dutch, I go to google.nl, expecting to see google in Dutch with the one-click options to search Dutch pages only, I again get Japanese.  It really starts to piss me off.  Or am doing something wrong?
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Was this ever resolved for you?  I've been using yahoo, as they don't bump you to languages you don't ask to be bumped to.  My browser was almost rendered unusable when google decided that since I am in Korea for an extended time on business, that I would magically type something in English, hit "RETURN" and viola, every single thing in Google turns to Korean with no way to turn the language setting back.
That also annoys me terribly. It makes me waste an ENORMOUS amount of time TRYING (and alas not always succeeding!) to switch back to english. I hate this crazy and dumb feature that overides my settings and does all those things that Bikkurikun and nyavogo describe. It is awful, awful. I'm considering adopting nyavogo's solution and dropping google altogether.  
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Jimmy Deheeger
There are two issues that you guys are referring to. I'm responding to both of them:

1) Google automatically directing you to a search domain based on your location

Google directs you to a search domain based on your IP address. We do this to connect you with the most relevant information. To learn how to change this setting or report incorrect IP detection, you may go through the Web Search Help Center article at http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=873

2) Your Google Search Language preferences aren't sticking

A few users have reported that their Search Language preferences aren't sticking. This may cause unexpected changes in the language that your Google homepage and search results are displayed in. You can troubleshoot this issue with the handy tips in the Web Search Help Center article at https://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=533

Let me know if these articles don't take care of the two issues. Jimmy is at your service!

Another user visiting Japan and unable to get rid of the Japanese page here.

First off, it's not a wrong IP detection -- I am in Japan and getting the Japanese page.

The tips on the second answer link don't work though.

Cookie based settings don't seem to work in a basic way -- once I get redirected to the google.co.jp page, the cookies I set on the google.com page to say that I prefer English UI don't get sent. What is needed is something that I can set in English, that tells google.co.jp to redirect me back if I got there by an accidental automatic redirect, or perhaps instead, just stop redirecting and leave users on whatever national/top level domain they called up Google services.

But even worse, I just now set English UI on http://www.google.com/preferences, and upon clicking Save Settings, got redirected to the www.google.co.jp: that simply says to me that the just-applied settings have been ignored by the local server (apparently jp-in-f104.google.com at the moment) answering to the name www.google.com.

Please consider the possibility that the local Google subsidiaries in Asia are not following the policy that the corporate hq and therefore help desk think they have implemented, but instead, are more aggressively (or blindly) redirecting queries on their servers to Japanese, or perhaps have made logic changes in the course of localization such as renaming identifiers, in order to "help" their local users.

The second tip, which basically recommends typing in www.google.com or clicking the "Google in English" link, does not work with tools like Firefox' search box or right-click search. For the latter, Mozilla forums recommend going to Google language settings. (Is that the same as Language tools? That does not seem to have settings, or forces me to choose www.google.co.uk; I can't find an US flag labeled www.google.com there, that also applies to the Japanese rendition of that page.)

Also, it may be time to update the "General FAQ"; that still claims that the default answer language is based on accept-language headers. Mine are set to en-US; en and that answer and that fix have been obsoleted ever since Google started using the geo IP method.
Lame self-reply but I just experimented a bit and found that the forcible redirect to Japanese only happens if you set the preference to English. Upon selecting and saving several other preferred languages I tried, I was redirected to that particular language/region's www.google.*.

So this is seems to be indeed a "special service" redirect that applies to English speaking users in Japan. I don't quite understand what sense that is supposed to make, but that's secondary. This misfeature has to go!
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Jimmy, how is providing people with information in a language they don't understand despite the fact that they have clearly indicated their language preferences in the settings "connecting you with the most relevant information?"

On Thursday, June 11, 2009 7:20:25 PM UTC+8, Jimmy Deheeger wrote:

1) Google automatically directing you to a search domain based on your location

Google directs you to a search domain based on your IP address. We do this to connect you with the most relevant information.
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