Windows 8 and Languages

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It seems as we are approaching next weeks public release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview the pace of posts from the Building Windows 8 Blog is increasing.

In the Using the language you want post that went live during the night Steven Sinofsky introduces it, like he has all the other posts on that blog, and says that this change was meant to allow anyone, anywhere to see the display language they chose.

Since its introduction in Windows 2000, Multilingual User Interface technology, or MUI, has allowed customers to install additional display languages on their Windows PCs and to switch between them. But for the majority of users, the language you got when you booted up your Windows PC for the first time was likely the one you were stuck with. For Windows 8, we have reimagined the display language experience, focusing on making additional display languages available to all Windows users, making them super easy to find and install, and allowing users to switch between them. This blog entry unveils the changes we’ve been making in Windows to achieve this.

Highlights of some of the improvements that Windows 8 will have relating to display languages from the past are:

  • New and easier way to get languages – a new Control panel applet is a one stop shop for all things relating to languages.  From downloading them or choosing them for use, this applet centralizes previously different resources for downloading languages in the OS.
  • More languages – Windows 8 will add 14 additional display languages to bring the total available to 109 languages compared to the 95 that are currently available for Windows 7. They are also adding 13 new Language Interface packs or LIPs.  These are installed on top of the display language you use to localize the user interface elements for the most commonly used Windows features.

They estimate that these additional languages means that over 4.5 billion people will be able to use Windows in their own language.

According to the blog post by Ian Hamilton, a Program Manager on the Windows International Team, this is not the end of efforts to improve languages in Windows.  He indicates a future blog post will explain changes made to text entry, locale support and other areas of Windows 8 relating to Display Languages and LIPs.

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