[HOWTO] - Localization in OS X (international control pane) info


Simply Daemonic
In OS X we see something that we have not seen in the MacOS...probably ever! Lots of locales/translations of the OS without the need to buy a local version!

There are a lot of us here that don't have english as a primary language, or just can and do write in languages other than English.

For this reason I decided to do a little how to on the international control pane. I will do this in several posts so read on.

OK I will start off by doing this by tab.
You will notice 5 tabs labelled:
1) Language
2) Date
3) Time
4) Numbers
5) Keyboard

Lets begin!
In this tab you can set a couple of things
1) The computer's Language (the language it displays things)
2) The computer's Language Script.

Topic 1: Languages
In OS X version 10.1, Apple has fully localized the OS for 7 languages.
1) English
2) Deutsch (German)
3) Français (French)
4) Japanese
5) Nederlands (Dutch)
6) Espagñol (Spanish)
7) italiano (Italian)

What does this mean? It means that you can see the finder and all apps that shipped in OS X, as well as save and dialog boxes, in that particular language! Wow! (How can I guess what you are thinking? lol).
So what do you have to do for you computer to display everything (and I do mean everything) in that language ?.

Easy! Just click and drag that particular language to the top of the list, then logout, and log back in again and voilà ! Your computer is in another language!

PART II: More Languages
You may notice an "edit" button next to the list of languages. Clicking on it reveals another list of language. Most are unchecked.
These languages are the following:
* Australian English
* U.S. English
* Brit English
* Danish
* Canadian French
* Swiss French
* Swiss German
* Norwegian
* Austrian German
* Portugese
* Brazilian Portugese
* Finnish
* Swedish
* Korean
* Chinese (Traditional I would guess)
* Chinese (Simplified I would guess)
* Bulgarian
* Ukranian
* Russian

If you want any of these languages just check the box next to it and will appear on the list along with the 7 default languages. These arent fully implemented though, so you wont be seeing menus, apps, dialog boxes and save boxes in that language (yet). The future looks bright though


Now you may ask.."ok...so why does this come in handy?"

1) Well, if you speak more than english, you can change the language on the computer so that you can be the only one that understands what the heck you are doing (he he he, this way people wont mess with your mac ;) .
2) If english is not your primary language you can use your language
3) Applications take a look at your system's preferences when they launch and if they are available in many languages (i.e. localized) then they use the settings your computer has, so an application like "iTunes" (just for example) would use english if english were the first language, or french if french was prefered and so on. It's a way of getting things more unifor in your system :)

--> next thread scripts.
If you also want to write in another language. scripts come in handy.

The scripts that are available in 10.1 are the following:
1) Roman --> Latin based languages like english, french and so on
2) Cyrillic --> For languages like bulgarian, russian and ukranian
3) Korean
4) Chinese Simplified
5) Chinese Traditional
6) Japanese

--> Aside note: I hope Greek, Hebrew and Arabic are not far behind <--

By sellecting a particular script you are in essence telling you computer how to handle text that you input throught your keyboard. A nice little feature, wouldnt you say ;).

To select a script just click on it :)
This is pretty self explanatory:
On top you can choose your region. Depending on where you live there are certain preset values.

Here you can change how the date is displayed on your computer.
You can choose one of the presets, or make up your own. really simple :)

Also pretty self explanatory,
Here you can choose how to display time.
A 12hour based clock (if you choose this you can choose how noon & midnight are displayed. 00:00 is midnight, or 12:00 is midnight, up to you)
or you can choose a 24 hour based clock (also known as "military time")

You can also choose what separators you want for the time ;)
Here there also exists a region pull down menu, so if you wish you can use one of the presets.

Its up to you (man I love freedom of choice :D )
Here you choose how to display numbers in your computer.
There is a pull down menu here as well where you can choose you region (for preset values).

You can also set your own values for decimal and thousands separators.

Here (in the USA) we have a period ( . ) for decimals and the comma ( , ) for thousands so if we wanted to write five thousand and ten hundreds we would write it as:

in some european countries it's the opposite, the period is used for the thousands and the comma for the decimals so in europe they would write it as:

In this tab you can also set the symbol for the currency , as well as where it appears relativelly to the number.
For example:
In the USA we would write $10 while in canada (I think) they would write 10$...or another example: 10? (10 euros)

The last tab in this pane is the keyboards tab.
This tab just has all the keyboard layouts available for someone to use.
To make one active just click right next to it and once you close the prefs panel you will see a little flag on your menu bar. Just click on it and you can switch between keyboard layouts.

If you do not know about keyboard layouts and you are used to QWERTY keyboards, and you have never typed in any other language before (like chinese, japanese, greek and so on) its best to not mess with more keyboards.

It wont do anything bad to the computer, but it will probably confuse the heck outta you. The reason for this is that not everyont uses QWERTY keyboards (Standard american/english keayboard).
The french for example use an AZERTY keyboard layout and other countried use other keyboard layouts. This stems from the fact that keyboards are layed out like Typewriter keyboards, and each country hand its own way of laying out keys on a keyboard (depending on ergonomics, and frequency of key use, as well as different letters and accented letters).

So if you at some point press the 'q' key on your keyboard and you see an 'a' coming out on your screen, it probably means that you have changed keyboard layouts. If you've never deals with keyboard layouts before and arent gong to type in a non-roman language, its safe to ingore this tab.

If you know about keyboard layouts, then you have probably dealt with them in the past so no need to mention more :)

Hope this helped :D

Multi-lingual Mac OS X 10.1 also exists, but is (or was) under beta testing. It contains 15 different languages, all fully localized.
Ok, but what does "not fully implemeted" (I'm talking about the other lanuages beside the basic 7 ones) mean then? And "the future looks bright"?

I bought the original english version of MacOS X released 24/3 and have upgraded it to 10.1.1. Now I'd like to change the default language to something else than the 7 basic ones. How and when is this done?


That isn't possible, then you need a international version of OS X (5J34)...
"Not fully implemented" means that the languages exist, keyboard layouts exist and you can set that language/locale for the computer BUT you wont see menus and dialogue boxes and the basic apps in those languages.

(and I do have the english version, remember 1 world, 1 CD? same CD worldwide for OS X)

I am Still waiting for greek lol.

Where to download the language kit for Mac OS X?

Although I don't use Chinese frequently, but sometimes I do need input Chinese. But the language control panel only display the Chinese panel without input support.

Japanese input doesn't work either. The script never works for me.
Sorry, I think you have to buy the 5J34 version then, or get the 5J34 10.1 update, I think that should work, too :)
I did what you recommended with the language tab; tried it on 10.1 and the whole menu and basic Finder stuff remains in English. Just to show that I did it right, I repeated the steps for French and it's all in french. I was told that the upgrade to 10.1 didn't really install the localization packages for Chinese, but rather on the default seven. I wonder if I can download such packages for Chinese or others that did not come with the upgrade. Any ideas? Or has anyone tried to get Chinese interface working?

Hmm, I read further, and it seems that the english version I have doesn't really do more than the seven default ones. So any idea how I can get an international version without paying for anything extra? Otherwise, it's not that big of a deal if you are not a Western European/North American, right?

It it chinese you are looking for ?
LEt me play around with my MacOS X this weekend (This is my last week of classes and I have a lot of projects) and I will get back to you :) -- promise!

For those following the "Where is Chinese?" sub-thread, here's something interesting: http://www.yale.edu/chinesemac/pages/os_x.html

This may explain why 10.1 users don't get Chinese showing as they could with French or Italian. The CD with 1Z, which we all waited so eagerly for in early October, didn't have support for Chinese, where as the later 10.1 CD with 2Z supposedly did. Does anyone have a 2Z cd to confirm this claim? Also, does anyone know if Apple will allow people to download internationalization packages not in the 10.1 CD they possess?

Is chinese somewhat treated different than the other languages that doesn't belong to the basic 7 ones? What I'm getting at is, if your playing around is more successful than mine, is it in that case appliable to other languages? In my case Swedish?


Chinese package for internationalization is no different from packages of other locales. To get Swedish or even more complex languages like you just need the package for that locale. I am going to see if the Chinese package exists in the 2Z 10.1 CD.

Still waiting for Apple to make these packages available for download....

> Japanese input doesn't work either. The script never works for me.

Japanese input works fine here. Have you selected Kotoeri in the Keyboards panel? This gives you the Japanese input system.

Unfortunately, this does not work for Chinese. You can choose Simplified and Traditional Chinese keyboards, but you still cannot enter text (no Pin-in option). On the other hand, if you move Chinese to the top of the Languages list, OmniWeb uses Chinese for its menus and dialogs. It looks like the only thing misting is the ability to enter Chinese text yourself.

Indian languages are noticeably absent from the list. I hope these will be added soon.

I don't want to change the default language for everything on my new iMac, but I do want to be able to use some Japanese characters in documents, Photoshop, etc.

Is there a way to change a font to Kanji in a document the same as I would change from Courier to Times New Roman?