RE: Multilingual Documents [was: HTML forms and UTF-8]

From: Chris Pratley (
Date: Fri Dec 03 1999 - 05:14:48 EST

I guess it depends what "support" means. If it means you can type and print
the language, then there are many hundreds of languages supported in
Office/Word (covering perhaps 80% of world population). Many hundreds
(thousands?) that have special accenting needs not handled by pre-composed
characters in Unicode are a little too difficult to do in the 2000 release,
so I wouldn't call them "supported". And then there are the few hundreds of
langs that use scripts we don't support yet. So it is not as bad as
"dozens". That's just the ones we do proofing tools for.

As for the auto-detection, I have the same problem. It is unfortunately too
aggressive in assuming your doc is multilingual (more irony given the topic
of this thread). For next release, we're toning it down to more strongly
bias towards monolingual docs and to only switch where it makes more
structural sense (i.e. a switch is more likely when you start a new
paragraph, and not in the middle of one, or worse in the middle of a table).
That will miss a few cases but cut out the majority of the noise. Actually,
the original purpose of the feature was to detect which language your
monolingual doc was in, but in the end it shipped a little on the aggressive


-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: December 3, 1999 1:15 AM
To: Unicode List
Subject: Re: Multilingual Documents [was: HTML forms and UTF-8]

       Chris Pratley wrote:
>I find it ironic that the biggest driver for multilingual
       support, and therefore Unicode support, and thereby support for
       minority languages in mainstream software, has been the needs
       of large "faceless multinational corporations" - the same ones
       that are often vilified for trampling smaller cultures. Funny
       how things seem to work out in the end.

       Not that I don't greatly appreciate all the I18N advances I've
       seen software from Microsoft and many others, but support for
       several dozen languages is still just a drop in the bucket when
       it comes to > 6,800 minority languages.

       By the way, Chris, you've mentioned in this thread Word 2000's
       ability to detect the language of text. I think I finally
       disabled that feature because it wasn't helping: it would
       frequently tag my English text as French! Is it doing that
       because I grew up in Montreal?


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