Tablet PC learns more lingo

Microsoft Corp. today announced a beta release of its multilingual software for the Tablet PC, letting users log on or run an application in multiple foreign languages.

At the CeBIT 2003 conference in Hannover, Germany, the software giant released a first draft of its Multilingual User Interface and Recognizer Pack, which stretches language support for the Microsoft XP Tablet PC Edition operating system to include Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish. It also can translate Spanish handwriting to text.

The beta software switches user interface settings, such as menus and dialog boxes, from language to language. Until now, the XP operating system claimed support for English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and simplified and traditional Chinese.

Microsoft's beta pack, which will go public in July, 'makes it easier for speakers of different languages to use the same computing infrastructure," said Alexandra Loeb, vice president of the Tablet PC division at Microsoft.

The pack relies on the widely accepted Unicode encoding standard, which means developers can build applications, bug fixes, security patches and service packs in one language and deploy them in another without much additional coding.

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