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Habla Espanol? Sprechen sie deutsch? If you speak another language or more precisely if you have to use text from another language inside InDesign, you should tell InDesign about it. After all, InDesign has spelling and hyphenation dictionaries for about two dozen different languages. In the InDesign Essential Training title, I pointed out that you can assign language to text by selecting the text on the page, going to the Control panel and choosing the language from the language popup menu. For example, this is French so I will choose French from the popup menu, but in this case because I know that I have French in multiple places in this document, it's much better to create a character style to do this.
So I am going to open the Character Style panel and I will Option-click on the New Character Style button or Alt-click on Windows. That opens the New Character Style dialog box. I am going to call this one French language and I am going to set this to be Italic just because it looks little bit nicer when it's italic when it's a foreign language. Now I need to change the language. In the Advanced Character Formats pane. This is one is going to be set to French. Click OK, apply this the selected text and I can see that I have italic and French in the Control panel. Let's apply this to some other text. I will select this sentence down here and I will simply click on the character style and now changes it to italic, changes it to French and now we are ready to go.
Now one of the best reasons to apply languages to text is that they spell check correctly. For example I will go to the Edit menu, choose from the Spellings submenu, Check Spelling and here we can see that this word is not properly spelled in French. I didn't know that. I don't speak French. So I need to choose a different word in here. It's probably this one with an I instead of an E, let's try that. I will click Change, click Done, and we can see that it's spelled correctly right now. It lost my exclamation point though, so I better type that in myself.
Okay let me show you a couple of other language related tips here. For example, what if I have a URL in here, like http://www.lynda.com, there we go. Now that is going to spell check incorrectly every time because InDesign's dictionaries have no idea of what this is. So it would be nice if there are ways to turn off the spell checking for certain phrases like URLs or other technical terms that you don't want it to spell check and you can do that selecting the text, going to the Language menu, and choosing not one of these languages, but at the very top No Language.
When you specify No Language to some text it basically turns off spell checking for that text. By the way I also want to warn you about one other language in here and that is Ukrainian, down at the very bottom. Ukrainian actually acts just like No Language. I think there is bug in InDesign. For some reason it will not spell check anything correctly in Ukrainian. So I have actually heard from a client who couldn't figure out why nothing was showing up as incorrect in their spell check and it was because some how all of their text had been changed to the Ukrainian language and so spell checking just stopped working.
I figured out to let you know if your spell check is not working at all anymore; it's either set to No Language or Ukrainian. So there you go. One other fun little language related trick that you should know about has to do with dates. Now I have made a text variable and I will insert that by going to the Type menu, choosing from the Text Variables popup menu and I will say insert the Creation Date and we talked about making text variables in the Essential Training title. Suffice it to say I have made a Creation Dates variable and I have inserted here in the text. So looks great, it says the 26th of August. That was when this document was created apparently, but look at this.
This is really wacky. If I select that variable and come up to the Language menu, I can choose a different language, like Swedish perhaps, and it changes the date. InDesign is actually smart enough to know that the word for August in Swedish is augusti I guess. I don't speak Swedish. I didn't know that. If I changed it to Spanish, it changes it to a Spanish word. So there is a whole language translation feature in here that only works with dates. It doesn't work with other words. I mean what I would really like is a feature that would automatically translate all my text to another language. Doesn't do that yet, maybe in version CS10.
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