Windows 8 blog reveals improved language support

As we get closer to the launch of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview version on Wednesday, February 29, Microsoft has been on a tear in updating its official Windows 8 development blog site. Early this morning, 15 hours after its last update, Microsoft posted yet another entry on the blog site. This time, the subject is languages; specifically how Microsoft will be adding more and better language support to Windows 8.

Currently, Windows 7 has support for 95 display languages. For Windows 8, Microsoft will be adding an additional 14 display languages (one new stand alone language and 13 Language Interface Packs) which means that Windows 8 will support a total of 109 languages that will cover 4.5 billion people around the world. Microsoft's Ian Hamilton writes:

In some countries, people can purchase PCs with a variety of languages preinstalled. With Windows 8, users will be able install additional display languages beyond those preinstalled languages. This means that the language of the PC no longer needs to be a major consideration when deciding on which model to buy. If the language you want is not preinstalled on the PC you like, you can now install the one you want.

Some users of Windows 8 will also have to be able to switch between languages due to their household being multilingual. Windows 8 will now have a new Languages preference section in Control Panel that should allow users to easily add new languages as well as switch between them.

One interesting addition for Windows 8 is that the UK English is now a stand alone display language. As Hamilton writes:

We admit that this is something we should have done a long time ago. Windows users in the UK have gotten by with the US English version of Windows, and while we Americans knew this was not their favourite, that is clearly no defence. We believe that this version of Windows will also be widely used in India, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland and many other places.

Windows 8 will also add 13 more Language Interface Packs that are installed over a stand alone language pack that allow for the users of those languages to see commonly used Windows interfaces in their local language. They include Punjabi (Pakistan), Sindhi (Pakistan), Central Kurdish (Iraq), Uyghur (People’s Republic of China), Belarusian (Belarus), Kinyarwanda (Rwanda), Tigrinya (Ethiopia), Tajik (Tajikistan), Wolof (Senegal), K’iche’ (Guatemala), Scottish Gaelic (United Kingdom), Cherokee (United States), and Valencian (Spain).

Image via Microsoft

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24 Comments

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Great addition, definitively in the right direction.

Hopefully Windows Phone 8 will follow the same path for language additions.

Good now we won't have to hide all those languages on WU and nice clean UI too. And those complaining Windows didn't come in UK English will be d'lighted.

IakobosJ said,
UK English. finally; it's about time Microsoft added this! I hate seeing American misspellings.

You mean "American spellings" It is still spelled correctly, it's just not your language.

IakobosJ said,
UK English. finally; it's about time Microsoft added this! I hate seeing American misspellings.

I agree. I live in the US. I would prefer to have the UK spellings, rather than the crappy US spellings.

Btw. Where is Persian language support?

IakobosJ said,
UK English. finally; it's about time Microsoft added this! I hate seeing American misspellings.

Why are you all so fussed about this? I'm British as well, but it's wrong to think that one dialect is better than the other. There is no such thing as "correct" English. It's a de facto standard. It's defined by the way it's used.

IakobosJ said,
UK English. finally; it's about time Microsoft added this! I hate seeing American misspellings.

I submitted a bug report for the Windows 7 beta for EN UK lang support but they said at the time it was a waste of time for the team. If it makes a user feel more comfortable with "s" instead of a "z" then it's hardly a waste of time...

KomaWeiss said,

I agree. I live in the US. I would prefer to have the UK spellings, rather than the crappy US spellings.


Um no.

If you read through ALL of the blog entries for building windows 8, you will see that this is an enormous leap in OS design that tries to be everything to everybody.

I really hope it sees the commercial success it deserves.

Happy they finally have Cherokee.
Now maybe my first nations brothers can dump iDevices.

I remember a video on MSR site, where some First Nations technology enthusiasts were pleading with MSR for native OS support for their language. They cited cost of iDevices as one of many reasons for MS to step up.

I want improved "Bad Language Support" ...the user goes to do something and the computer says "Don't do that you stupid ****er!"

warwagon said,
I want improved "Bad Language Support" ...the user goes to do something and the computer says "Don't do that you stupid ****er!"

oO lol ? computers maintenance much ?

MiukuMac said,
It's good to see Windows embrace something other operating systems did.. about a decade ago or more.

Windows has had multiple language support for over a decade. They're just making it even easier to use.

Enron said,
It's good to see you don't read articles.

Who didn't read what?

The article says before Windows 8, Windows didn't support languages that differed by region. Such as American English, British English, Australian English, and Canadian English. All the same language (English) with changes on word use, grammar, spelling depending on region.

Other OSes like iOS and Mac OS have supported these differences with fallbacks for a very long time. (for example, if a British English string is identical to an American English string, there is no reason to have duplicates, just fall back to American English if British English doesn't have a different string)

TRC said,
Right, because adding new languages to Windows 7 would be terribly difficult.
...Do you even think before you speak?