Microsoft has been quite busy adding more languages to Windows Phone 8. In July 2011, Windows Phone 7 supported just 22 languages. For the launch of Windows Phone 8, that number increased to 50 different languages.
In a post on the Windows Phone blog, Microsoft talks about some of the challenges it has faced in adding new languages to its latest mobile OS. One of the issues was how to show languages that are meant to be read from right to left, such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian.
While Microsoft at first thought about just displaying these languages without changing the screen orientation, this plan apparently didn't work because sometimes the end of a particular word would flow off the screen. Instead Microsoft decided to "mirror" the screen for certain menu items.
Microsoft used the example above of a Windows Phone 8 screen in the Arabic language. It states:
Note that text is now aligned on the right side of the screen, and the flow is towards the left as is natural for a language such as Arabic, although “Facebook” is still written left-to-right. More subtly, the arrow icons still point to the right since users associate this direction with “play” as opposed to “reverse”.
The virtual keyboard is also localized for all 50 Windows Phone 8 languages, plus variants depending on the territory. For example, the English keyboard is different if you use the US version compared to the UK keyboard. Finally, Windows Phone 8 now supports 15 languages for its voice recognition feature, compared to just six in Windows Phone 7.
Source: Windows Phone blog | Image via Microsoft