Office 2007: now with more language-y goodness

[cross-posted on techotuesday]

After two days of Office2007 training, I’ve a few pieces of info that might be of interest to language folks:

  • Publish Directly to Blog
    This is pretty cool: if you don’t like your blog’s online post editor, or frequently need to blog when no intartubes are available, Word can automagically take content you’ve created in a document and publish it to your blog. It works with Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, and any other blogging system that can accept posts via Atom or MetaWebLog APIs; it even stores passwords for those of us with differently-abled memory regions. Surprisingly enough, the formatting is preserved with fair accuracy (standard bolds and italics, in addition to ordered and unordered lists, transfer properly), and Word even uploads images directly to your blog or to a separate server. In theory it should work with .mp3s as well, but don’t quote me on that.
  • Auto-Recognition of Language Keyboards
    I’m not sure if this is true of older versions of Office or not, but if you have certain alternate software keyboards enabled, Office will automatically make certain features available to you. For example: if Word sees a Japanese keyboard installed, it will give you the option to insert pre-loaded Japanese greetings and salutations into documents. It doesn’t provide any translations for said greetings, so user beware … but I’ll give Microsoft brownie points for trying to be helpful.
  • Proofing Tools
    The plain vanilla installation of Office 2007 now includes French and Spanish proofing tools by default, no six-CD package necessary. For those of you who write in any other languages, you still have to purchase the proofing tools separately. Institutions still have the option to buy all the proofing tools in one shot on DVD – welcome to the 21st century – but individuals who may only need one or two languages, or who aren’t covered by a volume license, can now purchase individual language packs directly from the Microsoft website for $25USD.
  • Translated UI and Help Docs
    Office2003’s Proofing Tools CDs included spelling and grammar checkers, as well as dictionaries … with Office2007’s Multi-Language Pack (MLP) you can also choose whether you’d like to fully localize application menus, dialog boxes, error messages, and the Help system. Fantastic for helping students learn technical terminology in their target language; also helpful for native speakers of foreign languages (TAs?) who may not have a strong English technical vocabulary.
  • Community Glossary Project
    Speaking of vocabulary … for those language communities that lack technical terminology, Microsoft’s Linguistic Partnership Project is sponsoring a Community Glossary where users from around the world can collect and define terms for themselves. Unfortunately, this only exists for languages not included by the MLP, except Thai and Vietnamese.

Of course there’s a lot more to know about Office2007, including a brand-new Apple-esque menu structure in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint called the Office Ribbon (here’s a demo video if you want a quick look). And I haven’t yet gotten my hands on Office2008 for Mac, which ironically enough retains the old 2003/2004 menu structure. Anybody using either new version of Office on a regular basis? I’d be interested to hear what y’all have to say!

Ryan has been proudly maintaining and contributing to Language Lab Unleashed since 2005, and is the current President of SWALLT. Since the summer of 2013 he's been causing trouble with his all-star colleagues in the UMW DTLT; when not wrangling websites Ryan can be found doing strange things with heavy objects.

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