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How to Change Languages in Word

Internationalization and Accessibility in Word

How to Change Languages in Word

When you're creating a document that's aimed at an international audience, using text in multiple languages, there are extra considerations to keep in mind.

Change the Proofing Language

You can change the proofing language for all or part of a document, which sets the language for spelling and grammar check.

  1. Select the relevant text.
  2. Click the Review tab on the ribbon
  3. Click the Language button.
  4. Select Set Proofing Language.

    The top of the Languages window shows the languages currently in use, while the rest of the languages Word supports will be listed below it.

    Internationalization and Accessibility

  5. Select a language from the list.
  6. Click OK.
    Internationalization and Accessibility

The editing language for the selected paragraph is changed. Spelling and grammar check now understands the additional language. You can even view synonyms for a word in the new language.

Customize Language Preferences

If you’re working with multiple languages, you can manage the list of editing languages in use in the Word Options screen.

  1. Click the Language button on the Review tab.
  2. Select Language Preferences.

    Here, you can see all the editing languages currently in use and add new ones quickly.

    Internationalization and Accessibility

  3. Click the Add additional editing languages list arrow.
  4. Select a language.
  5. Click Add.

    The new language is added to the list. You can also remove languages from the editing list

    Additionally, you can change the default editing language, the display language used for ribbon tabs and buttons, and the default language for help files from here.

  6. Click OK.
    Internationalization and Accessibility

The language preferences are updated.

Best Practices for International Documents

When working on documents meant for an international, multilingual audience, there are a few best practices to keep in mind.

  • Keep syntax simple. Word includes built-in translation tools that, while not perfect, work pretty well when translating something simple.
  • Don’t use ambiguous date and time formats. Make sure that you don't use date and time formats that mean different things in different regions. For example, 6/12 can mean either June 12th, or December 6th. Instead, write out the month and date to remove ambiguity.
  • Use default Body and Header fonts. This way, someone viewing your document can switch font sets easily if necessary to make it easier to read.
  • Globalize examples and avoid specific cultural references and colloquialism. Avoid using specific colloquialisms where, if the words translate perfectly, the meaning may not. For example, the phrase "for the birds" is simple enough to translate word-for-word, but the meaning may get changed or lost depending on the culture of the reader.?

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