Monday, 6 July 2009

Mind Your SharePoint Language

Another busy SharePoint week, that has seen me and the other Office Talk consultants travelling the UK. Today I have been in the capital and I am now waiting for my train at Euston station comparing the merits of Harry Ramsden’s and Burger King. Don’t worry I am not going to start comparing one of them with SharePoint. On the table to my left are two women who I think are Spanish and because I think they are Spanish I am assuming they are speaking in Spanish. This could be completely wrong and they could actually be from another country and speaking a totally different language. You will understand from this that I am not exactly multi-lingual. In fact the only non-English based language I can vaguely understand is French. I did French at school, but I certainly didn’t shine and it was probably my worse subject (although my Woodwork teacher might disagree). In fact everything we seemed cover in French appeared to involve Jean Pierre going to Dieppe on his bicycle. I did start to dislike Jean Pierre and hoped one day he would fall off his bicycle on the way to blooming Dieppe. So what has this all got to do with SharePoint? The answer is multi-languages. The women next-door are happily chatting away in what I think is their native tongue, but it might just be a code so SharePoint Bloggers can’t write about what they are saying and then link a funny video to it. Of course, it’s always possible that the translation of what they are saying is in fact “what do you think that baldy man is typing over there and do you think he is going to buy any Harry Ramsden’s chips?” The cosmopolitan side of London is one of its charms and you can hear so many different languages as well as regional dialects. So why shouldn’t SharePoint reflect these different languages as well? The answer is it can and many companies use it this way. All you need is the free SharePoint language packs and you can give site administrators the option to create sites in any language they want (as long as a language pack is available for it – Klingon is not currently available). The advantage of the language pack is that for a global company that has offices at countries speaking different languages the offices can all have SharePoint on the same Web Application yet still use their own native languages. You can even allow users to configure their search requirements so only items in their own language are returned. Although, I do understand that many people are better at languages than myself and can happily converse in more than one. I am sure that blinking Jean Pierre could speak English probably better than I can as well as French even when he was riding his bike. SharePoint Language packs have been around since SharePoint 2003. You can download the latest Language Pack for SharePoint 2007 at the following link; http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=2447426b-8689-4768-bff0-cbb511599a45&displaylang=en The following table lists the language packs that are available: Arabic Bulgarian Catalan Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Croatian Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian Finnish French German Greek Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Italian Japanese Kazakh Korean Latvian Lithuanian Malay (Malaysia) – Only available for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Norwegian Polish Portuguese (Brazil) Portuguese (Portugal) Romanian Russian Serbian (Latin) Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish Thai Turkish Ukrainian If Martin O’Neill finally does start signing some of the players he is being linked to then perhaps he will need to have some language packs inserted in him. Don’t forget in next week’s blog I will be giving away the ‘My Team’s Performance’ Site Template for the new 2009/2010 season.