Windows XP Language Support

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In many countries around the world, for example, in Canada, companies need to be able to work in more than one language. Currency, time and date format may be different from one language to another. Windows XP has addressed this need for multiple language and location support.

Enable multiple-language support
Multiple-language support consists of two separate technologies
• Multilingual editing and viewing which allows a user to compose and read documents in a bilingual (or more) format.
• Multilingual user interfaces that allow the Windows XP interface to be presented to the user in the language of their choice.

Depending on your work environment, you may choose to use either a localized or multi-language version of Windows XP. A localized version of Windows XP will support multilingual editing, viewing, and printing, but the interface is designed in the most likely language of the environment. For example, a localized version of Windows XP in Greece will support document creation in English and Greek, but the user interface will be in Greek only. Multilanguage Windows XP provides a user interface in a large number of languages. This version of Windows XP is geared to support a work environment where more than one language is used and more than one person will use the computer.

Configure multiple-language support for users
Multiple language support for users can be configured in Control Panel in the Regional and Language Options icon. Simply select the language settings that you wish to support on that computer. After the computer restarts, an icon will appear on the Taskbar that shows the current locale and keyboard inputs that are being used. Switching to another supported language is simple - just click on the icon!

Configure local settings
If you have a localized version of Windows XP, the local settings will be geared for the locale in which the version is to be distributed. For example, a Japanese localized version will support only Japanese location settings. If you have a Multilanguage version of Windows XP, you will be able to configure the numbers, currency, time, date, and keyboard (input locale) to suit the language in which you are working. This is also done through the Regional Options icon in Control Panel.

Accessibility Services
Microsoft has had an ongoing commitment to providing accessible technology to individuals with disabilities for a number of years. Working hand-in-hand with third party vendors, Windows XP has incorporated a number of built-in accessibility options to eliminate barriers to technology.

In order to configure accessibility options, you must access the dialog box under the Accessibility icon in Control Panel (Figure 3.19). There are five tabs in the Accessibility dialog box to help you configure the unique behavior you require from the computer to meet requirements.

The Keyboard tab allows you to change the behavior of the keyboard. A person with a mobility impairment may find it difficult to hold down the Ctrl-Alt-Delete key sequence at the same time. StickyKeys allows the individual to press these keys one at a time. As well, a person who lacks fine motor control may want Windows Professional to ignore brief, repeated keystrokes. The repeat rate can be slowed to accommodate this. Use FilterKeys to accomplish these requirements. ToggleKeys will sound a tone if Caps Lock, Num Lock, or Scroll Lock are pressed. There is also an option to display extra keyboard help in programs.

The Sound tab allows you to enable SoundSentry, an accessible feature for persons with deafness or low hearing ability. Visual warnings are generated when the computer makes a sound. ShowSounds will display captures for speech and sound on the computer.

The Display tab allows you to configure high-contrast settings for Windows colors and fonts. High contrast settings help persons with particular visual impairments more clearly see the taskbar, menus, etc., which are either too small, or do not have the proper contrast for their vision. There are also cursor options to allow a person to make their cursor appear wider or more narrow, as well as adjusting its blink rate.

The Mouse tab allows you to enable MouseKeys, which allows you to control the mouse pointer through the keyboard.

The General tab allows you to configure several administrative and maintenance options. You can configure SerialKey devices to provide alternate input for keyboard and mouse features. Accessibility options can be applied to the logon Desktop and as defaults for new users. Accessibility features can be turned off automatically if they have not been used for a specified amount of time and notification features notify when the features are turned on and off.

As well, Windows XP has provided the user with several accessibility wizards:
Accessibility Wizard: Configures the computer based on the user's vision, hearing, and mobility needs. The user can select the text size that is easiest to read and collects input to determine whether the user has vision, hearing, or mobility challenges.

Magnifier Utility: Creates a separate window to magnify a portion of the screen, to allow user with low vision to view sections of the screen in a large print

Narrator Utility: Provides a text-to-speech synthesizer that can read text, dialog boxes and buttons aloud. A sound output device must be installed and configured for the Narrator Utility to work.

On-Screen Keyboard: Provides a keyboard on the screen. The keyboard can be accessed through a mouse or other alternate input device, such as an Eye-Gaze system.

Utility Manager: Allows you to start and stop the accessibility features, as well as specify whether or not you want the utilities started automatically.

Windows XP Language Support Pop Quiz Questions
1. What is the difference between localized and multi-language versions of Windows XP?

2. How can you switch between language interfaces in Windows XP?

3. Outside of the interface, what other options can you configure in the multi-language version of WinXP?

4. Normally, to activate the CTRL-ALT-DEL function, you must press all keys at the same time. If you wish to use this function, but be able to press only one key at a time, which feature should you activate in the Accessibility Options?

5. You have a user who has deafness. What feature can you activate so that sounds made by the computer are accessible to this user?

Windows XP Language Support Pop Quiz Answers
1. A localized version of Windows XP has its interface designed in the most likely language of the environment (for example, in Italy, the interface will appear in Italian). It will support multi-language editing, viewing and printing. A multi-language version of Windows XP will also support multi-language editing, viewing and printing, but also provides the interface in a large number of languages. For example, in Canada, the interface can appear in English or French, depending on in which language the user chooses to work.

2. Multiple language support for users is configured in Control Panel. After configuration, switching between languages is easy! Simply click on the icon in the Taskbar.

3. In the multi-language version, you are also able to configure the numbers, currency, time, date and keyboard to suit the language in which you are working.

4. The Use StickyKeys feature, under the Keyboard tab, will allow this functionality.

5. Under the Sound tab on Accessibility Options, there is a feature named Sound Sentry. It will display visual warnings when the computer makes a sound, and captures for speech and sound.


Deborah Timmons is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. She came into the Microsoft technical field after six years in the adaptive technology field, providing technology and training for persons with disabilities. She is the President and co-owner of Integrator Systems Inc.

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