Internationalization in Windows 8 for Everyone

Just yesterday Microsoft laid out some information about how SkyDrive would be integrated with Windows 8, and today they have revealed the updated internationalization options to be available in Windows 8.

According to Ian Hamilton, a program manager of the Windows International Team, it is currently quite confusing when it comes to installing language packs on Windows — some are offered through Windows Update and others through the Microsoft Download Center. Not only that, but most versions of Windows only have a single language option — when you install Windows, sometimes there is the chance to choose which language to use, but as soon as the install is done, the other languages are removed.

With Windows 8, Microsoft is introducing a new language preferences section within the Control Panel where users can find, install, and then use many different languages. Right now Windows 7 supports 95 languages, but Windows 8 will add support for 14 more, bringing the total to 109.

The new section of the Control Panel will allow users to add new display languages, which is an integrated experience — so you don’t leave the Control Panel, remove them, and then set a different language as their primary one. When a new primary display language  is selected, the user must log out and then back in for the changes to take effect.

It is not clear as to whether this feature will be available to all users of Windows 8 regardless of version, but it does sound like it: “ we’ve changed how we think about languages from a ‘local-market feature’ to a ‘feature for everyone everywhere,’ and have made it a priority for you to be able to work in any language you want, from any Windows 8 PC.” But since Microsoft has been hush-hush over the SKUs for Windows 8, an answer may be unlikely at this point.

Also, the premise of the blog post was about having a family which speaks two different languages (such as parents speaking Spanish and their children speaking English, in the United States, for example), each different user would then want to use the operating system in a different display language, but there was no mention as to whether this new option was system wide or user specific.

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