Microsoft is expanding the language support for the latest iterations of its main cash cows, Windows 7 and Office 2010. Specifically, no less than 59 new Language Interface Packs (LIPs) will be made available. The new LIPs are designed to integrate with both Office 2010 and Windows 7. In addition, the Redmond company will also be providing four new LIP additions for the next generation of its development platform, Visual Studio 2010.
“Allowing for people to use and build software in their native language helps emerging markets build a stronger work force, and ultimately better prepares employees to help grow their local economies,” said Lauren Woodman, senior director of Microsoft’s Government and Education Engagement Programs. Before the new 59 LIPs for Windows 7 and Office 2010 and the new four LIPs for Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft’s offerings included no less than 178 downloads in 67 different languages which already were covered by LIPs and CLIPs for earlier versions of Windows, Office and Visual Studio.
In addition to announcing the new LIPs for Windows 7, Microsoft will also be providing customers with new Caption Language Interface Packs. Customers will be able to leverage a CLIP as a tool tip, the software giant revealed. CLIPS will make it possible for the software’s interface to show terms in a specified language, but also keep the base language in place, whether it is a LIP or a fully localized version.
Microsoft hopes that CLIPs will streamline transition from one language to another and also promote computer literacy in multiple languages. CLIPs are different than LIPs because, a Language Interface Pack through the Local Language Program brings to the table approximately 400,000 terms which are replacing a base language completely. “This new CLIP technology will also help people bridge the language gap and, for the first time, use technology in a meaningful way,” Woodman added.
According to data shared by Microsoft, 1 language out of the over 7,000 spoken worldwide today dies every 14 weeks. Through the Microsoft Local Language Program (LLP), the company offers support for 95 additional languages on top of the approximately 40 languages that have produced fully-localized versions of Windows and Office. Microsoft underlines that over 1 billion people speak the languages supported by its LIPs.
“Linguistic diversity is under threat. This loss not only erodes individual communities and cultures, but more broadly, the very makeup of our societies,” explained Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO. “Linguistic diversity promotes mutual understanding and dialogue. Access to learning in local languages is of utmost importance for reducing social exclusion. What is encouraging is that a growing number of partners are acknowledging the importance of languages and committing to safeguard them. It is crucial that we bolster these efforts because each language is a treasure.”
Office 2010 Beta 14.0.4536.1000 is available for download here.