Spring cleaning

Spring is here and I don't know where the time has gone... So apologies for not posting earlier! A short post today to tackle some questions I have heard and hopefully get your thoughts on these issues.

To localize or not to localize

Will Mac Office 2008 be available in <insert language here>? A question I have heard many times!

What do we look at to decide if we are going to add a language? There are many parameters that comes into play. MacBU's marketing department constantly sifts through a lot of data to take this kind of decision. To name a few areas - we have to look into Apple investments in various markets, Microsoft investments and strategies and information coming from our various subsidiaries. The process is very close to the one we use when we face some feature decisions (see Mary's post on Messenger decision for more complete information). I know I am over simplifying! There is more considered but it's close to this. If Apple sales in a market do not perform well, chances are that Mac Office sales will also not do well!

Look at Office 2004. When we started the process, we decided to include Italian which had been dropped after Office 98. Italian sales were looking good and so did the outlook for Apple... And it does indeed; they are opening an Apple Store in Rome at the end of this month! Then, after a few months, we added a Dutch version. 2 new languages for Office 2004. Who knows what the future may bring?

To switch or not to switch...

... languages not OS, that is! Ever since OS X has been released, we occasionally get the question whether Office will become multi-language. For the moment, it is not. We always try to offer the best to our international customers through localization, templates, proofing tools - OS language switching is something we haven't done. Don't take me wrong, I think it would be a really cool (and useful) thing to offer to people like me who share their Mac with people speaking a different language. I'd love to use Office in French while my wife can keep using it in English. Again, we always face tough decisions when comes the time to select what feature to add or remove. Which one will prove the most useful for most of our users (again, see Mary's post for the details)...

Although I think this would be very cool - along with many other features; at this stage, as Nadyne explained so well, we need to Ship It!

To correct or not to correct

Talking about switching and adding languages to Office, we do provide a good set of proofing tools in all our languages. To proof a Word document in your favorite language, simply select your text and go to Tools/Language. Did you know that a Word document can contain one than more language? You have a paragraph written in English followed by one in French? That's no problem just follow the above instructions for each paragraph and "Voilà!"... You can proof both at the same time!

So what languages can you correct? All our versions of Office 2004 come with the following tools:
Brazilian-Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.


So what do you think? You would like to see a <cool international feature> in Office (ok... maybe not in Office 2008), do send your suggestions and feedback to us! The official way is this way: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/default.aspx?pid=feedback or you can leave us a comment!

Comments (25)
  1. Nitai says:

    As a Beta Tester for many years now I have ONE feature request for MANY years now. Please, make a shortcut to switch languages!

    I am writing emails in english, german and sometimes french and it is a very cubersome (to say the least) to always go to "Tools/Spelling Language/" and chose the language. A nice drop down menu in the new message window or a keystroke would be SO helpful 🙂

    Thank you for the consideration.

  2. Yonatan says:

    Hi there,

    I enjoyed reading your last post on the mac mojo and was satisfied to find that you addressed the languege issue.

    Still, it is extremely important for those of us pros who work on their macs with right to left langueges to know whether the next release of office will support such langueges, since the last version doesnt. (not very well, more like).

    Thank you.

  3. Jimmy Grewal says:

    Bi-directional text in documents (arabic support).  Take it from a former MacBU-er who gets this complaint several times a month.  🙂

  4. Corentin says:

    There are other advantages to havong a packaged version of the apps with all localizations inside. Since youhave one and only version for all languages, you need only one updater for everybody.

    A packaged app with editable ressources also means that volunteers can provide the localization themselves in laguages that wouldn’t otherwise be supported (a it has hapenned for many other apps in many languages).

    Beside the problem of the user interface, the last point you raise is also extremely important IMVHO. The spelling and grammar support is critical for many. A lot of people can deal with not having the user interface in their own language, but they will need the spelling dictionaries (for their own language – or for a foreign language they have to write in).

    (By the way, there is an error in "Voila!": you need an unbreakable space before the exclamation mark in French :-> )

  5. Corentin says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the comment made by Nitai. We NEED a shortcut to switch between languages.

    To workaround that issue, I created a macro to switch languages for Word, but a built-in shortcut would be so much better (and easier – and accessible to anyone – even if they don;t know how to write a macro).

  6. AS says:

    Arabic support, Arabic support, Arabic support. I am not saying you have to localize the whole program. But please allow for right to left languages like Arabic (or Hebrew). In the case of Arabic, MS Word right now break the ligatures in the letters. You’ve already fixed the problem in Excel (which, for some odd reason, displays Arabic letters just fine). So, please do this. Open Office and NeoOffice do it. Again, we’re not asking for the whole program to be re-written into Arabic. Just allow bi-lingual Arab speakers to use Word by adding support for right-to-left languages and fixing the ligatures problem. Please…

  7. Brice says:

    Catalan language proofreading tools have been available in Microsoft Office for Windows since forever. Plese do include catalan in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac too!

  8. vgolf says:

    One vote for Corentin.

  9. LawClerk says:

    Don’t know how easy this is, but something that has collaborative elements to it.  I would love to be working on a document (excel or otherwise), and have another office 08′ user watch and help do what i’m doing.

    There could also be something beyond iChat for the iSight camera-enabled mac’s that would do video conferencing in more of a business environment within Office rather than have to use a separate program.

  10. Why not just support all spell checking that the user installs in OS X and use the spelling services provided by the system.

  11. CW Linn says:

    How about Chinese language(traditional/simplified) locolization?

    Everytime I open a new document in Word,

    I see this anonying message "Chinese(Taiwan) profiling Tools are not installed" in compability box.

    And why we have to register Word in Japanese language to get extra text functional? Can’t you do it just in one and solid package?

    It’s lame that we have to bear this forever…

  12. alex says:

    yes, proof spelling is the most important feature, I don’t mind having the UI ing english.

    btw. which programs are included with Office 2008 ?

    powerpoint ? (reader at least?) 😛

    word and excel I guess

    some mail program (entourage or is it outlook?)

    updated msn?

  13. A. O. Schmidt says:

    PLEASE include an option in Office 2008 to either use traditional or reformed German orthography.

    Everyone who knows a little more about the orthography situation (which most certainly looks very odd from the outside – and it is odd!) in German speaking countries knows that the old orthography will be around for at least some decades.

    And maybe the new one (which is the, I think, fourth "updated" new orthography in just a few years!) will be reverted again.

    There are a lot of fights about this going on and the best thing for word processing programs is to offer both and let the user choose for whatever reason he wants or has to choose.

    Thank you.

  14. Walafrid says:

    Could I put a word in for British English too? It often gets neglected, and I would be really pleased if it was there (I didn’t notice it in the list at the bottom of the blog post).

    Thank you!

  15. eric.paquin says:

    On German reform:

    We do offer the possibility of using pre- and post- reform. In Word – once you have selected your language as German (should be set as the default if your OS is German) – go to Word/Preferences/Grammar and you will see the preference under spelling. (Note: 2004 does not support the latest German reform as it was introduced after we released).

    On British English:

    It is actually there – I did not go into each language variations but we do offer Australian, British and US English – just make sure that it is selected in Tools/Language.

  16. Manuel Silva says:

    Hello Team of MACBU

    You look at to decide if going to add a language ? Like Portuguese ?

    Well, I think that is simple. Portuguese is a major world language, being ranked fifth among the world’s languages in number of native speakers.  <sic>

    Ok, serious, Office Mac 2008 is write in COCOA ? How many hours you need for add languages in content office ? The COCOA is multi language. You d`ont need write the application entirely. Need to add .pkg of english, french or portuguese and the GUI is modified for this language.

    You relate:

    “So what languages can you correct? All our versions of Office 2004 come with the following tools:
. . . Portuguese, …”

    For Portuguese language this tool is very, very good.

    Is the best, because is created for a portuguese, the best, company: <“>http://www.priberam.pt>

    You write:

    “Microsoft investments and strategies and information coming from our various subsidiaries.”

    In Portugal Microsoft gives gratuitously 107 000, yes 107 000 windows vista and MS office for windows !!!!

    And Office for Mac ? Is more expensive. This is strategies.

    Team, you have a chance to show to your great capacity making a great product. The Office 2008 for Mac, in portuguese and other languages and an aggressive campaign of marketing.

    Best regards

    Manuel Silva

  17. Cameron Bales says:

    Canadian English – All I want is the spelling dictionary, it seems so little to ask.  So frustrating that it is so small, and Windows Office has it.


  18. Mia says:

    PLEASE PLEASE add Canadian English.  I bought my mac in Canada and it doesn’t even support my "language".. how crap is that?

  19. walafrid says:

    Thank you for your reply about the British English dictionary, but would it also be possible to have the interface with British spellings? That would be amazing.

    Sorry for the confusion earlier, it’s just whenever ‘English’ is mentioned, it invariably means ‘US English’, other forms of English simply being neglected.

    Thanks again,


  20. Yves says:

    I look forward to seeing Office 2008.

    The one feature, for which I have been waiting for years is the automatic recognition of languages. I find it very cumbersome to always select text and change the Language under "Tools". My default is set to English, and when I work on a French or German text, everytime I insert a footnote, it will show up in the default (i.e. English), rather than the language I selected previously.

    What I would like to see is the following: you type a few words, and Word automatically recognizes that what you’re typing is Spanish or French or – you name it.

    I think this feature has been in Word for Windows for many years now. Can you make sure Mac users get it also?

  21. Catalan citizen says:

    I love Mac, I love MSWord, but I can’t correct my works because I am one of the 9 million Catalan speakers. Include it in the comming release (2k8), you will bring language tools to people who need it.


  22. Gatis Abele says:

    Latvian proofing tools is what I am waiting desperately in forthcoming Office for Mac.

  23. Thai citizen says:

    I have been using Office 2004 for long time and the only thing that annoys me is that there’s a problem with word breaking in Thai.

    I know Thailand is a very very very small market for both Apple and Microsoft. I’m not asking for a localized version of Office 2008 but I am just asking for a Thai word-break feature.

    Like Office 2007 on Windows, the unlocalized version of it does support Thai. In this case, it means it can count the words, users can type Thai in the document without any problem.

    Office 2004 for Mac, it can type Thai but the only problem is that if I do not insert a space between sentences, it will count all I have typed as one word. In Thai, there will be no space between words but only between sentences. That means when I type a document in Thai, it will not automatically cut the sentence and move my curser to the next line if my line is full. Instead, it just keeps going through the margin until I press "space" to indicate that the sentence is ended (i.e. one word, as Word says).

    I hope that at least this "Word Break" feature is added in Office 2008. I am not hoping for a localized version but just a version that fully support Thai input. Honestly, all other 60 million citizens of my country don’t care about interfaces and menu in Thai but we just hope that it works. More than 70% of computer users in our country is still using unlocalized version of Windows/Mac OS X/Microsoft Office for Windows. We are more familiar with English-based interface.

    Thank you.

  24. Thai citizen says:

    Oh, there’s one comment above about writing an application in Cocoa. I just want to give you one information: I don’t know anything about writing an application but one thing is Mac OS X supports the word breaking in Thai. That means when I type any document in Thai using Pages, Safari, or any application from Apple, the Thai language works perfectly.

    Again, Word is the best word processing application for me. Therefore I want to type Thai using Word… not Pages!

  25. CDN Kev says:

    The lack of a Canadian English Dictionary is greatly annoying. Please look into the number of Canadian Mac users and make a judgment if this is a worth while addition to 2008. I will buy Word 2008 based on this alone.

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