How to enable (Enabling) Multiple Languages on the Computer

Where to find the options  
The options for setting up your computer to handle text in multiple languages is available on the dialog box that you can access using the icon with the label Regional and language options from the control panel.

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Date, Time, Currency Display Language  
The language in which the date, time and currency on your computer are displayed is decided by the language set up on the default tab of the Regional and Language Options dialog box.

Installing the required Software  
If you are using Windows XP you will have to install the software for supporting the language you need.

This process is not needed if you are using Windows Vista.

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Enabling keyboards for typing text in other languages  

Making a specific language keyboard active  
At any given time a specific keyboard is active. The active keyboard decides the character that is inserted into the document when you press a specific key.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut set up on your computer to change between languages.

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Handling the Language Bar  

Keyboard Layout - Font - Character Map  
One aspect that is to be taken note of in entering text in other languages is that the keyboard is the same (in english) and you are trying to enter text in other languages.

Keyboard Layout

Each key on the keyboard has a specific character/symbol related to it. Thus if you are entering text in other languages, you need to know what character is related to which key.

To know of the keyboard layout for a specific language in windows (Open in Internet Explorer)

You can also view the layout for a particular language from

  • Windows_xp

    Start menu | All Programs | Acessories | Acessibility | On-Screen Keyboard

  • Windows_Vista

    Start Menu | Programs | Accessories | Ease of Access | On-Screen keyboard

Fonts and Keyboard Layout

When the user hits a key, the keyboard sends the "address" of the key pressed to the computer. The computer passes it to the keyboard layout software. This software figures out what the corresponding letter in a font is, and display that letter on the screen or in the document.

Thus what character is displayed on the screen is dependent on the keyboard layout that is active as well as the font in use.

» Some Keyboard Layouts are functional only with Certain Fonts

Certain keyboard layouts would be setup to be functional only with certain fonts. This results in in no character being displayed on the screen/document when you press a key after making a particular keyboard active and using a particular font.

This would be especially true in case of non-english language keyboard layouts. Thus to ensure that text in the intended language appears on the screen or is inserted into your document, you need to use the required keyboard layout as well as make the font that is compatible with that keyboard layout active.

Character Map

Character Map is a Windows utility useful for viewing the characters in any installed font, to know the "Alt code" for entering those characters, and also to copy the characters to the clipboard without having to type them.

It is especially useful for entering special characters.

You can also view the layout for a particular language from

  • Windows_xp

    Start Menu | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Character Map
  • Windows_Vista

    Start Menu | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Character Map

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Transliteration - Easy Typing Tool  
Transliteration is the method of writing script of one language using the characters of another language. Thus Hindi text is written or produced by typing English text/characters.

Baraha a Wonderful Transliteration tool

While Transliterating, you type in English

Even, transliteration works only after you have set up your computer to work with the required langauge.

However you don't need to make the relevant language keyboard active while using transliteration. The conversion is done by the program (Baraha here). You need to keep the English keyboard active if you are using transliteration.

Set up the language software and use the transliteration tool if you don't need to type directly in the language of your choice.

Type Directly in your application

If you are good at typing using the english keyboard for the language of your choice, you can activate the relevant language keyboard, set the correct font for the same and type directly to produce the text in the intended language.

However for this to work properly, you need to know, which fonts work with the keyboard layout you are intending to use (in case of languages other than english).

Transliteration Tools on the Web

Even in cases where you intend to use a web based transliteration tool, you need to have the software for display of the language text installed on your system.

Display in Web Pages - Set the Character Encoding  

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