How To Spellcheck in Another Language with Word, Pages, and OS X

Spelling and grammatical errors aren’t limited to English. Both OS X and Microsoft Office have their own spelling/grammar check systems, each supporting foreign languages. A common question for students, international business workers, bilingual people, or anyone needing to type documents in a foreign language is “How do I set the spellcheck for Spanish, French, German, Dutch, etc in Microsoft Word or Pages?”

Spellchecking Foreign Languages in Microsoft Word 2008:

With Microsoft Word, there’s two ways you can spellcheck another language. The method you choose depends on your document. You can either spellcheck a section or the whole document using an alternate language or just change the default language.

Note: Not every language is supports the spelling / grammar check. See below for the list of supported languages.

Spellchecking via Alternate Languages with Microsoft Word 2008:

If it’s a small section in another language or it contains more than one language, you’ll want to spellcheck via an alternate language.

1. Highlight / Select the text (or entire document) that’s in another language.

Multilingual Spellchecking in Microsoft Word 2008

2. Choose Tools from the Menu Bar and select Language…

Multilingual Spellchecking in Microsoft Word 2008

3. Select the language you wish to correct.

Multilingual Spellchecking in Microsoft Word 2008

4. Word is now set for the other language – only where you selected.

Multilingual Spellchecking in Microsoft Word 2008

5. Run the spellcheck.

Multilingual Spellchecking in Microsoft Word 2008

Note: Word will only spell / grammar check in the alternate language for the parts you’ve selected and told it what language it is. Otherwise, it will run spell / grammar check in the default language.

To Change the Default Language in Microsoft Word 2008:

Now, let’s say you permanently want to use Word 2008 in French, German, Spanish or any of the other supported languages. Selecting text and switching languages can get tedious. What you will want to do in this case is change Word’s default languages.

1. Choose Tools from the Menu Bar and select Language…

Multilingual Spellchecking in Microsoft Word 2008

2. Select the language you want.

Multilingual Spellchecking in Microsoft Word 2008

3. Click Default.

Note: Switching the default language will affect other settings such as date, number and currency formats.

Languages supported by Microsoft Word 2008:

Finally, you’ll need to know which languages are spelling and grammar check supported with Word 2008.

- Danish
- Dutch
- English (AUS, UK, US)
- Finnish
- French (And Canadian)
- German (and Swiss)
- Italian
- Norwegian
- Portuguese (and Brazil)
- Spanish
- Swedish

Spellchecking in Different Languages with Pages or OS X:

iWork’s Pages also spellchecks in multiple languages using OS X’s built-in spellcheck. To run spellcheck in different languages with Pages (and within any supported OS X application, like TextEdit):

1. Highlight the specific text or the entire document.

Multilingual Spellchecking in iWork's Pages

2. Click View from the Menu Bar and choose “Show Inspector”.

Multilingual Spellchecking in iWork's Pages

3. In the Inspector pane, Click the T for text at the top, then click the “More” tab.

4. Choose your language.

Multilingual Spellchecking in iWork's Pages

Note: When using Spellcheck in TextEdit, you can just go right to the next step to choose your language..

5. Click Edit on the Menu Bar and choose Spelling, then “Spelling…”.

Multilingual Spellchecking in iWork's Pages

6. Pages will now spellcheck your document in the alternate language.

Multilingual Spellchecking in iWork's Pages

Languages supported in OS X and Pages:

Here is the list of languages supported by OS X / Pages for spell checking.

- Danish
- Dutch
- English (AUS, UK, US)
- French
- German
- Italian
- Portuguese (and Brazil)
- Russian
- Spanish
- Swedish

IMPORTANT – Spellcheck Accuracy in Pages or OS X:

As you may notice in my images, OS X’s Spanish spellcheck is correctly flagging my “senor” as wrong. However, it does not have the correct spelling – “señor” in it’s dictionary. Therefore, there’s no guarantee that the spellcheck is accurate in Pages and OS X. However, Microsoft Word 2008 properly corrected my spelling mistake. This is a pretty big oversight in my opinion as the Spanish word for “Mister” isn’t exactly a rare one.

I recommend you manually read your document before sending it to avoid any other simple spelling or grammar mistakes.

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3 Comments

  1. Ken says:

    Hi,

    the spellcheck is great but does grammar check work also? Haven’t found a way of grammar checking in Russian

    Thanks,
    Ken

  2. David Balogh says:

    @Ken: Word 2008 / OS X / Pages will spell check Russian but if the grammar checking doesn’t work you may have better luck with Word 2007 (Windows Only).

  3. Pat says:

    Thanx, I was looking every where to do that on pages.

    Thank you very much.