Localized versions of Microsoft Office 2004

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 17th, 2004 • 11:56 pm

Based on this MacCentral/ComputerWorld article, Microsoft will ship Office 2004 for the Mac in May… The code for Office 2004 will be “released to manufacturing on April 14“.

If your main language is not English, however, the story is a bit different:

In the next few weeks, six localized versions of Office 2004 for Mac will be released to manufacturers: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Swedish.

I guess Microsoft still haven’t figured out how internationalization/localization is supposed to work in Mac OS X. See, we are not supposed to get separate versions for each language. We are supposed to get one single version of the software that includes all languages, so that users and system administrators don’t have to track down the version of the software that corresponds to their language.

Instead, users should be able to install from CD and see the software automatically detect which language they are using for their OS X interface and use the same language for the interface in the software itself.

Just because Office 2004 includes a word processor doesn’t mean that it is exempt. For several generations now, Microsoft Office has included multiple language proofing tools in its “Value Pack”, meaning that you could (optionally) install, for example, the French proofing tools even if you were using the English version of Office. It is, in fact, what I am using on my machine. I run Mac OS X in English and I have the English version of Office X, but my Office X install also includes the French proofing tools (in addition to the English proofing tools).

I should be able to order Office 2004, pop it into my computer, install the software with the proofing tools of my choice, and then choose my language for the OS X interface and see all my software titles automatically switch to that language for their interface as well.

Oh, how far we are from that ideal… The international foundation is there in Mac OS X, which can be switched from English to French to whatever nearly on the fly. (You just need to log out and back in.) But now, thanks to Microsoft, since I provide tech support for both English- and French-speaking Mac OS X users, I will have to double-check the language thing for each and every person who wants to purchase Office 2004.

Grrr. I guess international convenience is yet another one of these things that Office users never ask for in Microsoft’s user surveys.

2 Responses to “Localized versions of Microsoft Office 2004”

  1. vincent philion says:

    Bonjour, merci pour cet article! Très instructif. est-il possible selon vous de télécharger une version française lorsqu’on a eu la mauvaise idée d’acheter le disque anglais?


  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Vincent: Avec Microsoft, cela m’étonnerait beaucoup! Mais selon l’endroit où vous avez acheté Office, vous pouvez peut-être faire un échange…

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