Daily Archives: November 20, 2007

Random fun with Microsoft Word and Russian Literature

I was sending someone an email tonight, and I was discussing one of my favourite books, The Brothers Karamazov. I noticed that Microsoft Word underlined “Karamozov”. Oh oh, I thought, better fix that.

Now if you type in “Karamozov” instead of “Karamazov” in ScribeFire, and then right click on it, it will tell you to replace it with “Karamazov”. But if you do this in Microsoft Word, you get “Kalamazoo”.

Now the first thought I had was: what, Word has been around since at least the early Dostoevsky novels, and it certainly ain’t small, so you think it would be smart enough to at least know leaders of major world literature? My Cyrillic is non-existent, but I am willing to bet money that the Cyrillic spelling of Karamazov NEVER translates into Kalamazoo.

My second thought was: maybe it’s me. So I right clicked on “Karamozov” and “Karamazov” and changed the language to “Russian” and the spell check error went away! Hmmm, I thought, Word IS smart! You just have to tell it the word is Russian! And it is smart enough to know that there are two ways to spell Karamazov!

But then I thought: I wonder if that is true. So I quickly typed in the another “Russian” word:

“Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww” and did the same test, and lo and behold, “Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww” is also the name of someone is Russia! (Perhaps this was a minor character the Dostoevsky later dropped to get the book under a 1000 pages.)

So, if you are a developer, and you are providing multilanguage support for your product, and you are asked to specify what standard you will be supporting, I recommend you say: the same one used by Microsoft Word! :)

 

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