Introducing a “certain je-ne-sais-quoi”

A new year, a new blogger! Today’s post is all about me! I’m taking the plunge in the Mojo so let me introduce myself! I’m Eric Paquin, International Project Manager and totally new to the art of blogging (please be patient)! So, what can I bring to the Mojo? I’ll focus on the international perspective. Being a French Canadian (aka Québécois) living in Ireland (I’ll spare you the long story 😉 ) it gives me an interesting viewpoint on all things international (well… most)!

Mac head since 1989 (but also a PC user)… I’ve been working in localization for over 10 years. I was a tester in Corel – they had their localization centre in Dublin then. And I have been in the Ireland branch of MacBU for the last 7 years, first in test and now as a project manager.

In the past, one thing I was never good at was using French products (on Mac or PC) as historically (many moons ago), it used to take near 6 months after the release of the English product - not only for Microsoft products - to have the privilege to install it in French in Canada… Then once I started to install French products, I was really confused being used to the English terminology.

Things have change and for the last 3 years, my primary Mac at work is fully French! Talk about putting my software where my mouth is 😉 It helps me understanding issues that our international users might run into. It also made me realize that most software I use have issues when you run them in another language. Especially highlighted when you have a configuration like this (in System preferences/International):

  • French Canadian CSA keyboard

  • Ireland (French) international format

  • GMT / 24 hour clock

About localization in Dublin… (I won’t cover the whole process - Schwieb has already given a good overview). Who are we? We are a team responsible for 6 languages (namely French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch). For Office 2004, each of these languages contained an average of 100000 new and updated words (translation we could not recycle from previous versions) in the software. To add a new language like we did for Dutch and Italian, it means 300000 words and another 750000 for the help. We released the software in various flavours – Standard Edition, Student and Teacher, Volume Licensing, Word and Excel Standalone in some languages, Entourage standalone for Volume Licensing, Test Drive. Altogether, for Office 2004, we were responsible for signing off on 23 CDs for Office and 15 for VPC (Virtual PC). We also localize Messenger, RDC (Remote Desktop Client) and all the various software updates

That’s a lot… We couldn’t do it without automation and working with vendors on the translation part and some of the testing… In a future post, I’ll give an overview of the problems this causes, how we work around these and a quick overview of some of the tools we use.

I have a few more ideas for future posts but I would also like to hear from you if there are any particular international topics you’d like me to get into a little more… These include:

  • Differences between European markets and the US – is it day and night or more like 13h and 1PM?

  • International Features I’d like to see (and hopefully you do to!)

  • Communications with our European customers

  • And, pourquoi pas, “Le Mojo” – an occasional post in French?

Until the next time…

Au revoir!

Comments (28)
  1. Chris says:

    Support for real English would be nice, as it is written and spoken across the Irish Sea from yourself!

    The main bug is that colour is spelled incorrectly 🙂

  2. Yonatan says:

    Hi there Eric,

    I wondered whether the office 2004 and the next 2008 versions support right-to-left languages such as Hebrew and Arabic?



  3. Corentin says:

    The thing I’d be most intersted about would be to know if there is a chance we’ll get Office 2008 as bundle-apps: packages containing all localizations as it already is the case for Messenger for instance.

    (actually I’d also love to know what you guys use to localize 🙂 ),

  4. vgolf says:

    Any chance that Office 2004 will be released in a single international version, with the localization being controlled by the "International" panel in system preferences (like it should)?

  5. cfd says:

    Heureux de savoir qu’on a de la "famille" qui veille aux intérêts francophones de Office pour le Mac! Merci!

  6. Bob August says:


    intéressant ton propos. Et l’Irlande, c’est comment ? Faudra nou raconter un jour… Au plaisir de te lire – in french 😉

    Bob August

  7. Allo Eric, super un autre quebecois chez Microsoft! Moi je suis a Redmond, SDE dans IE. Bon travail sur Mac Office 2007, j’ai tres hate d’essayer le beta!

  8. MaLer says:

    Say more about localization and mainy about rules what will be localized: how many pieces there must be sold or so on. We would like to see Czech version of Office 🙂

  9. John Baxter says:

    Chris, “colour” was spelt entirely correctly.  😉

    Posts in French will be fine, but…

    You probably want to check how they look in the most-used online translation services.  (Or provide the English yourself.)

    My two years of junior high school French are 52 years in my past, and unfortunately I have not exercised the language sufficiently since.  I do remember the teacher–Mr. Turner–who, during the 10 minute snack period added to that particular class, would remove an apple from his desk drawer and break it in half by hand.  (With no prior preparation.)

    Per the Apple-provided translation Widget:

    Mes deux années de Français de lycée junior sont de 52 ans dans mon passé, et malheureusement le démuni de I a exercé le langage suffisamment depuis.  Je me rappelle le professeur — M.. Turner — le who, pendant la période minute du casse-croûte 10 ajoutée à cette classe particulière, retirerait une pomme de son tiroir de bureau et la casserait dans la moitié à la main.  (sans la préparation antérieure.)

    That’s probably not exactly Academy-approved French, and certainly not how a French-thinker would write it.  😉

  10. Jezpas says:

    So… if you’re responsible for the live messenger software… when will the mac community have access to all the goodies of the windows version (i.e. webcam support, winks, nudges etc)

  11. Cortig says:

    One additional point in addition to bundled-applications: please leave the resources editable.

    I read the post about the possibility of a Czech version for instance. Even if MS doesn’t provide it, editable .lproj would give a chance for local volunteer localizers to localize the app in their own language themselves.

    I don’t see any good reason why the resources should be locked actually…

  12. <I>Even if MS doesn’t provide it, editable .lproj would give a chance for local volunteer localizers to localize the app in their own language themselves.</I>

    Um, because if the localizer screws up, Microsoft has to pay for the phone call the user makes to tech support?

    Look, Microsoft shouldn’t be FORCED to make their apps effectively open-source (and yes, resources are part of the source). It’s certainly their choice.

    There’s also the part about needing to present an End User License Agreement in the appropriate language and so on, as well…

  13. Ric says:

    So, I wonder if this is a good place to mention the fun and games you have trying to type in RDC from a Mac with a UK keyboard to a remote Windows machine also with a UK layout?

  14. pacla says:

    ¿Do you have any idea about Office 07 for Mac being Universal or only intel? ¿Prospective launch date?

  15. nadyne says:

    pacla – This prior post to our team blog will answer your questions:

    But the short answer is: Office:Mac 2008 will be a Universal Binary (not Intel-only), and will be released in the second half of this year.  We’ll be talking more about it in the upcoming months.

  16. Michel Dumais says:

    Serais-ce le même Éric Paquin avec qui j’ai travaillé chez Cedrom-Sni en même temps que moi? Je gagerais que oui. Dubin, Corel…

  17. Yann Duguay says:

    Eric! Tout le monde au Québec utilise Messenger et personne ne comprend pourquoi la version Mac n’a pas les clins d’oeil et les wizzs. Peut-tu s.v.p. faire du lobbying pour que ces fonctions soient ajoutées?


  18. eric.paquin says:

    Thanks all for the comments! Watch this space for more on localization… I’ll try to shed some light on this obscure world of international mystery 😉

    Yann, Jezpas: For the Messenger features, please see this previous post explaining why it is not yet supported:

    Michel: Oui! N’hésites pas à me contacter!

    Ric: Do you mean Alt-92? 😉 Yes, I know the pain… It is a known issue (section 4.11 in the RDC Read Me) – I thought of a workaround, a batch file that would force change the keyboard layout when you connect with RDC – haven’t tried it yet so not sure if it would work… Anyone?

  19. Levi says:

    hey Eric,

    I’d be interested in hearing about differences between European markets and the US – and perhaps Canada



  20. Louis says:

    I know at least the Windows versions come in MUI flavors, but it would be really nice if all Office software had an English toggle.

    Supporting software in foreign languages is a huge problem, especially in the EU (with its freedom of movement and plethora of language.) Even if your support guy can read English, French, and German, and figure out the rest of the romance languages, he’s up a creek when a user comes to him with a system in Russian.

    Having an English toggle would REALLY aid IT staff (who have to deal with foreign students and professionals) as well as homegrown computer whizzes (who help out foreign neighbors.)

  21. moi says:

    will office 2008 support French orthographic rectifications? (because the windows version already support them since version 2003!)

  22. Manuel Silva says:

    Hello Eric and team of MacBU !

    You have Mac Office in 6 languages French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch.


    SEE this:

    Total speakers for portuguese language ? 230 MILLION !!

    Portuguese is official language of:

    Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and São Tomé and Príncipe, and co-official with Chinese in the Chinese S.A.R. of Macau and Tetum in East Timor.

    Portuguese is a major world language, being ranked fifth among the world’s languages in number of native speakers.

    WHY exist Mac Office in, German, Italian, Swedish and Dutch ? if the number total of speakers in total of langauges is less of portugues-

    french – 175 million

    portuguese – 230 million

    And NOT in Portugues Language ?

    For Office Windows exist in portuguese language !!!!

    The Microsoft have in Portugal I&D Speech and Natural Language !!!!!


    Best Regards

    Manuel Silva

    PS: About portuguese language


  23. Liz says:

    Greetings from a European Mac user and a fellow PM.

  24. CS says:


    that’s a really interesting topic you’ve opened up here.

    I’m using the German version of Office 2004 for now for a few years and the translation/localisation is very good but not perfect. I use mostly Word, Excel and PowerPoint and ditched Entourage in favour of the Apple apps.

    The later one has the problem that the contact card defaults are more Anglo-American style then German. Furthermore it doesn’t syncronise so easy with my phone (ok that’s not a localisation issue).

    What I really like about the Mac version is the fact you kept the keyboard shortcuts from the English version, while the Office on Windows (German version) forces you to relearn some of them. I like that because I’ve been using the English version of other software for a while, so I’m pretty used to the shortcuts. On the other end it’s not logical for German speaker to press apple+p to print (“drucken” in German..). Maybe you could offer a option to choose the shortcuts according to your language.


  25. PL says:

    Des posts en français, ce serait bien, mais aussi qu’est-ce qui t’amené là!

  26. Rafed says:

    Hi guys! I am still waiting to find a single post or article that says whether Mac Office 2008 will support right-to-left languages (Arabic and Hebrew). Wouldn’t the new .doc format i.e. XML make it a reality?!!!

  27. Damon says:

    I noticed on February 12th Rafed asked about Office 2008 support of left-to right languages. I am desperately in search of language support WITHIN MacOffice for the language departments I support. I am currently switching most of my non-Romance language users to NeoOffice so they can simply type their documents in something more robust than text edit. If MacBU needs testers for Office 2008 in left to right or complex layout languages, please let me know ( I know of several faculty members in Hindi, Arabic, Hebrew, Tibetan, and Sanskrit that would love to help get MacOffice up to speed.

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