Why don't I get properly translated program output after installing the corresponding language pack?


A customer reported that they installed the Portuguese (Portugal) language pack, but even after rebooting, the ipconfig command still printed results in English. Same problem occurs with Turkish. But German is fine. What's going on?

There are multiple levels of localization. This page has some nice diagrams which illustrate them.

I've reproduced the diagrams below (in case the original link stops working).

Fully Localized Language Pack
German 100%
Language-Neutral OS
Partially Localized Language Pack
Base language
Arabic 80% French 20%
Language-Neutral OS
Language Interface Pack (LIP)
Bosnian (Latin) 20%
Base language
Serbian-Latin 80% English 20% Partially Localized
Language Pack
Language-Neutral OS
Language Interface Pack (LIP)
Catalan 20%
Parent language
French 100%
Language-Neutral OS

What's going on is that Portuguese (Portugal) and Turkish are in the second case: A partially-localized language pack. In particular, console applications and PowerShell Console UI are not localized and fall back to English.

This also explains why German doesn't have the same problem: German is a fully-localized language, including console applications and PowerShell Console UI.

Comments (28)
  1. skSdnW says:

    It would be cool if MS released a language pack/LIP version of their pseudo build [1] so you could really enjoy the pseudo locales.

    [1] https://web.archive.org/web/20110701154633/http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/04/11/10152035.aspx

    1. It would be only interest as a curiosity. Using pseudo localised Insider/Feedback Hub got annoying fast.

      1. skSdnW says:

        It would be useful for developers if they add a pseudo translation to their app; if you see a plain ASCII string anywhere you know you have a bug. 3rd-party IContextMenu extensions are not always locale aware but all other strings and resources you get from the shell and user32 should be.

  2. Antonio Carlos Porto says:

    Strange that they could chose to fall back to Portuguese (Brazil) and chose not to. But maybe the later is also in the second case.

    1. Entegy says:

      If pt-pt isn't fully localized, and the base install isn't pt-br, then there's no language resources to fall back to.

      1. Erkin Alp Güney says:

        European people will not understand Brasilian Portuguese. It is very much unlike American English in this regard.

  3. RetoFelix says:

    Some localization in German is wrong.
    Is there a place to report this?
    for example shutdown /?
    or the output of robocopy

    1. ender says:

      Maybe there is, but it's probably about as productive as reporting bugs in Windows when you don't have a support contract. Slovenian translation eg. translates "Scanning" in Disk Cleanup with words that mean "optical reading", and it's been like that at least since 7.

    2. I filed a bug for the Slovenian translation issue. I can file a bug for the German one if you include the details. (This mechanism obviously will not scale to the general public.)

      1. Ian Yates says:

        What a lovely Christmas present for ender :)

      2. RetoFelix says:

        Dear Raymond Chen
        Thank you for your support and sorry for the delay.
        The translation bug in German robocopy output is:

        robocopy CommandLine $ /XF *.cmd /XD test
        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        ROBOCOPY :: Robustes Dateikopieren für Windows
        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Gestartet: Montag, 2.Januar 2017 14:05:05
        Quelle : F:\Projekte\EDV\VBA\CommandLine\
        Ziel : F:\Projekte\EDV\VBA\$\
        Dateien : *.*
        Ausführbare Dateien : *.cmd < this is wrong
        Ausf. Verzeichnisse : test shutdown /?
        Syntax: shutdown [/i | /l | /s | /r | /g | /a | /p | /h | /e | /o] [/hybrid] [/f]
        [/m \\Computer][/t xxx][/d [p:]xx:yy [/c "Kommentar"]]

        Keine Argumente Zeigt Hilfe an. Dies entspricht /?.
        /? Zeigt die Hilfe an. Dies entspricht einer Eingabe ohne Optionen.
        /i Zeigt eine grafische Benutzeroberfläche an.
        Dies muss die erste Option sein.
        /l Abmelden. Dies kann nicht mit den Optionen /m oder /d verwendet
        werden.
        /s Fährt den Computer herunter.
        /r Fährt den Computer vollständig herunter und startet ihn neu.
        /r Fährt den Computer vollständig herunter und startet ihn neu. Nach
        dem Neustart des Systems werden die registrierten Anwendungen neu
        gestartet.

        the second explanation /r should be /g

        RetoFelix

      3. RetoFelix says:

        Sorry for confusion but my test is miss formatted.

        I split it in two separate posts.

        The translation bug in German robocopy output is:
        robocopy CommandLine $ /XF *.cmd /XD test
        ——————————————————————————-
        ROBOCOPY :: Robustes Dateikopieren für Windows
        ——————————————————————————-
        Gestartet: Montag, 2.Januar 2017 14:05:05
        Quelle : F:\Projekte\EDV\VBA\CommandLine\
        Ziel : F:\Projekte\EDV\VBA\$\
        Dateien : *.*
        Ausführbare Dateien : *.cmd < this is wrong
        Ausf. Verzeichnisse : test < this is wrong
        The German translation means execution (Ausführbare, Ausf.) but it should be exclusion (Ausgenommene Ausg.)

        1. I filed a bug for the (Ausführbare / Ausf. => Ausgenommene / Ausg.) issue. The shutdown translation is already fixed in the latest version, as you noted.

          1. RetoFelix says:

            thank you very much for your help

            RetoFelix

      4. RetoFelix says:

        The bug in shutdown /? is fixed in Windows 10 1607 but it is still there in windows 8.1
        shutdown /?
        Syntax: shutdown [/i | /l | /s | /r | /g | /a | /p | /h | /e | /o] [/hybrid] [/f]
        [/m \\Computer][/t xxx][/d [p:]xx:yy [/c “Kommentar”]]
        Keine Argumente Zeigt Hilfe an. Dies entspricht /?.
        /? Zeigt die Hilfe an. Dies entspricht einer Eingabe ohne Optionen.
        /i Zeigt eine grafische Benutzeroberfläche an.
        Dies muss die erste Option sein.
        /l Abmelden. Dies kann nicht mit den Optionen /m oder /d verwendet
        werden.
        /s Fährt den Computer herunter.
        /r Fährt den Computer vollständig herunter und startet ihn neu.
        /r Fährt den Computer vollständig herunter und startet ihn neu. Nach
        dem Neustart des Systems werden die registrierten Anwendungen neu
        gestartet.
        the second explanation of /r should be /g

    3. Medinoc says:

      Reminds me of the French localization bugs, notably in the file access rights for FILE_READ_ATTRIBUTES and FILE_WRITE_ATTRIBUTES... It became "hilariously wrong" after FILE_READ_EA and FILE_WRITE_EA were correctly translated.

  4. PT says:

    But will those languages eventually become "Fully Localized Language Pack" (in particular, PT-PT)?

    1. All languages are in the "sure, we'd like to fully localize everything someday" bucket, but they only get localized in order of priority. More users & more requests -> more priority. It happens slowly, though; back in the old days console was all English all the time, after all.

      1. JohnTH says:

        What I don't get is: all of those languages are fully localized when they're the base language installed with the OS, sowhy are the language packs not fully translated?

        1. Darran Rowe says:

          They are not completely localised when they are the base language. I am using one such language pack myself.
          What they normally do when they are the base language is to include the resources for the language and also the fallback resources for the components that they haven't localised.

  5. ZLB says:

    Merry Christmas Raymond. Enjoyed the blog this year.

    ...a little feature request that is (tenuously) on topic...

    I like the way Windows 10 pulls images form the internet for the welcome screen. I'm guessing the winter wonderland on my lock screen right now is a fishing village in Greenland. Or is it Scandinavia? Canada? Alaska?

    Feature request: Could it also pull location from Exif (if available) and show where it is?

    1. parkrrrr says:

      If the "like what you see?" icon is in the top right corner, hovering the mouse over it often tells you where the photo was taken. (Hovering over the other two icons shows other information.)

      1. ZLB says:

        No, there isn't.

        Actually thinking about it, I can see why now because it is on the secure desktop and I wouldn't really want any 'UI tinsel' running as system...

        1. parkrrrr says:

          I currently have what I believe is the same background. The icon is there, but for this image it doesn't show the location.

          1. Alex Cohn says:

            you an take a screenshot and google the result

  6. Michael says:

    As a sidenote - could an OEM mess something up for those language packs?

    I recently got a German Win10 laptop and noticed that if I install English US as a UI language, some of the strings in the Settings app are just wrong... like instead of "Additional settings" it'll say something about upgrading to a different edition of Windows. Same thing happens in another language.

    The German text is correct, so it's not clear to me what's happening there.

  7. Erkin Alp Güney says:

    GNOME and KDE boys have fully localised into many languages.

    1. Jack says:

      Sure, but I'd bet that ip still displays everything in English.

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