Windows and Foreign Languages

I sure wish Windows was internationalized to display menus in the language of choice of the user.  I know you can type in Japanese on an English Windows system, but that’s not exactly what I want.  I want a system that switches the language of the entire OS to the native language of the user.  Menus, help files, and all other aspects of the operating system should display in the language for the user.  OSX has had this feature for years.  Of course, how feasible would that be with Microsoft’s convoluted product architecture?

3 thoughts on “Windows and Foreign Languages

  1. Microsoft publishes localized versions of Windows. For example, in Portuguese, my native language, Microsoft publishes both a Brazilian Portuguese and a Continental Portuguese version of Windows 7. For example for Windows 2000 the following languages are available:

    English, German, Japanese, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Brazilian, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Portuguese, Greek, and Turkish.

    You should be able to get more information from


    1. In my situation, I have 2 people sharing the same computer. One person speak/reads/writes English and the other is Japanese. The users basically take turns using the computer and use the multi-user features of the operating system. On OSX, when the Engish user logs in, all menus, programs, etc are displayed in English. When she is done using the computer she logs out (not a shutdown). When the Japanese user sits down, she logs in using her own credentials and all menus, programs, etc are displayed in her native language of Japanese. All of this is done without requiring any additional software.

      Both suggestions are good and maybe I’m not understanding them completely. But here are the shortcomings that I see, please feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken on any of this.

      A VM would require that I first obtain VM software. I know of several, some are free, some are not. However, using a VM I will not be able to take full advantage of my hardware since I’m literally supporting the overhead of an operating system within another operating system. Unless my hardware is extremely powerful, the performance may not meet expectations. Also, there is the expense of installing the additional operating system.

      Obtaining a localized version of the operating system would then force my users exclusively to another language and would not work well in a multi-user environment unless I reverted back to the solution Carmen recommended or a dual boot scenario.

      Essentially, both force me to buy two versions of the same operating system to support multiple users. Less than ideal when you consider that OSX can support both right out of the box. I’m no Apple fanboy, I just want this same functionality in Windows.

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