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Could you name 96 languages on a bet? That's how many languages Office 2010 and Windows 7 support, from Yoruba to Afrikaans, and from Quechua to Basque.
What with localized products, language packs, and language interface packs, sorting through the possible configurations can get complex, so in honor of International Mother Language Day, here's the first of 2 posts* this week about language options for Office and Windows.
First, a distinction: You can purchase fully localized versions of Office and Windows in more than 35 languages (37 for Office 2010)--such as the Spanish version of Office 2010 or the Arabic version of Windows 7. You can purchase add-ins called Language Packs if, for example, the localized version you want isn't available in your market.
But for less common languages, including the 59 native and indigenous languages listed below for Office 2010, you can download free Language Interface Packs (LIPs) from the Local Language Program. You can also download the Office LIPs from Office.com. I'm focusing here on the LIPs.
*Read Doug and Turi's post for advice on how best to actually tailor your language set-up to what you need to do, and this feature story, Hello Mother: Microsoft makes 'Native languages' more accessible, for more insight into local language support.
Free downloads for all 59 of these Office 2010 LIPs will be available by the end of 2011. Add that to the 37 fully localized versions of Office 2010, and you're speaking the languages of a lot of people. (You can find a list of LIPs for each version of Office on Office.com.). After the table you'll learn what LIPs actually are, and hear about the Microsoft Terminology Collection.
Middle East and Africa
Bosnia and Herzegovina
North and Central America
Middle East and Africa
Malay (Brunei Darussalam)
Sesotho sa Leboa
Valencian (CLIP, not LIP)
LIPs are partly localized versions that you can install on top of any of the 35+ base languages to change the functions you use most often into the new language. They're like skins that you apply to your local version of the product, with translations for up to 350,000 words. For Office 2010, the LIPs let you change the user interface in Excel, OneNote, InfoPath, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word to your local language.
To see exactly which LIPs are available for each version, visit the Language Offerings Section of the Local Language Programs site. From there you can download a complete list of LIPs and CLIPs (Captioned language interface packs) for Windows, Office, Visual Studio, SharePoint Server, and Windows SharePoint Services, going back to Office 2003 and Windows XP.
And for help figuring out how extensive a language setup you need, read Doug and Turi's post.
Microsoft's focus on making products available in native languages isn't new, but the list has grown. For example, Office 2010's 59 LIPs compares to 34 for Office 2003, 57 or Office 2007. Windows 7 supports 5 more indigenous languages than did Windows XP, and 3 more than Vista.
Another resource for local languages is the Microsoft Language Portal, whose Microsoft Terminology Collection has standardized terminology for many Microsoft products and services in close to 100 languages. The portal enables external developers, customers, and authors to find the right translations and style guides. Local governments, universities, and local language experts helped produce many of these guides, and we've begun sharing the collection to encourage consistency across technological terms, independent of who is writing the software.
So much for the overall picture. Where do you start if you need language support? Doug Kim's post later this week will walk you through that, using the example of his own father (or apa, babbo, patro, fader...). Visit the Local Language Program for the latest status of language packs for your products, and the Office 2010 Language Options page on Office.com for more information and instructions.
Me, I'm going to make some tea and get out a big old-fashioned glossy National Geographic Society map of the world to study for a while. I'll check online maps too, but later. There's something satisfying about a big colorful map, creases and all, and a new box of colored pushpins. Things have changed a bit since a Dutchman named van Schagen produced this beauty in 1689:
I find it fascinating that MS supports so many languages ... do you think that MS could help to save disappearing indigenous languages?
@Leslie, I think that's part of the hope and part of the impetus behind the Local Language Program--to help raise awareness of the value of these languages and by extension, the many many others that are under threat.