Thursday, February 23, 2012

Trick #Android to use your language

When you are happily using your Android, it is still possible that it does not support the language that you are really using. As a consequence Android will in its standard configuration not enable you to indicate that you are using another language then the pre-configured ones. As a consequence it will not indicate in the meta data the correct language, languages like Neapolitan, Marathi or Frisian.

The "More locale" app allows you to add locales to your system. What I know is that you can add one with an ISO-639 code and you can specify a country code. particularly when your smart phone already supports the script associated with the language the result is wonderful. You can have Neapolitan or a Frisian enabled.

Given that the "Wikipedia mobile" app is localised in many languages that Android does not have as a standard locale, you may find that the "More locale" app will magically turn the localisation on in your language as well.

The screenshot you see to the right is taken on Amir's Android phone. His system has standard support for the Devanagari script and consequently it shows really well in our eyes. It is really relevant to check if a future phone supports you. Later versions of Android tend to do a better job.

Languages like Amharic, Gujarati and Malayalam do not have the same standard font support. For the scripts associated with these languages web fonts would be great but sadly we have not managed to make them work. Another option could be including fonts with our smartphone app. However tempting, it is much to be preferred when fonts can be included on the system level. Having the fonts is great when all you want to do is display texts, I am sure that people want to enter text in their language as well.

All in all, you can trick Android to use your language. The real challenge will be to enable the use of scripts that have no default support. Default support will make the "More locale" app redundant but until that time, it is very much recommended.
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