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Old 06-04-2009, 08:29 AM   #1
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Registered: Jun 2009
Location: Japan, Hayama
Distribution: Mint 17, Cinnamon / Lubuntu 14.04
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Unhappy Use/switch between English/German/Japanese

Good evening laydies and gentlemen
I am trying now for over a year (on and off) to "get friendly" with Linux, hoping that it would enable me to get away from Microsoft.
During that time I have tried to install maybe 10 different brands(?) of linux on 3 different computers (2 of them rather old), but I still cannot find "my way around" or figure out, how rather basic things are done.
ALL I want to do, is basically use word processors and dictionaries to do my work (translation) and I did manage to find my way around over the last 25 years using a number of MS-DOS, later Windows and Mac machines. The time I spend during the last year in trying to figure out how to use Linux has already significantly exceeded all the time I spend on installations, re-installations, tweaking etc. over the said past 20 years using said Windows, Mac machines (so much for user friendliness)

Yet, I do not want to start a holy war here.
Question: I need to be able to use 3 languages: English, German, Japanese.
I would like to be able to switch between languages, keyboard layouts with one simple hot key combination.
I do have a large number of (specialized) dictionaries for Windows. Is there a way I can use those under Linux?
And - 99.8% of the files translation agencies send me are Windows files. What elegant ways are there (if any) to use, edit, translate etc. those files in Linux and still send those companies at the end Windows (compatible) files.

All the rest of what can/could be done using Linux (or Windows for that matter) is unimportant for me.

Currently, I have installed on three different hard disks Ubuntu 9.04 (Japanese version), OpenSUSE 10.3 and lately Xandros (trial version). I had a glimpse at Saboyan 3.4 which made a good impression on me. So did Mandriva.

I want to work with languages given above. Everything else should be as simple and light-weight as possible.
(Among some answers I got on a forum or mailing list were instructions about how to enter a zillion character long "commands" into some configuration file, just in order to be able to read a floppy. That is not, what I would call simple.)

I know, my question itself is stupid - so am I, because it has already taken me over a year - but I would appreciate pointers into a direction, where even a computer illierate like myself could learn to manage linux.

Thank you in advance.

Last edited by nyuwa43; 06-04-2009 at 09:17 PM. Reason: inappropriate title
Old 06-04-2009, 09:15 AM   #2
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Is there a SIMPLE way of using Linux
My first reaction is: "Ask simple questions." In your post, it's hard to sort out what are the most important issues....

It appears there are three main issues:
  1. Working with MSOffice files
  2. Dictionaries
  3. Locale (language) is the most popular program for Linux word processing and will read and write MSOffice format, although not always perfectly. You might also want to look at actually running MSOffice using WINE or CrossOver. This might also be the answer to the dictionary question.

Have you--for example--tried using one of your existing dictionaries with OpenOffice?

Google produced a lot of hits on changing the locale, but I'm not sure it will be possible using a shortcut key:
Old 06-04-2009, 09:27 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Distribution: Xubuntu, Ubuntu
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To switch languages: let's take this from that Japanese Ubuntu version which, I suppose, is set up to handle Japanese already. It's desktop environment is gnome, probably. There's a panel across the top and one across the botom. Right-click one of them, choose whatever the menu which pops up says that means 'add to panel'.

A window opens which contains icons for various applets, one of the is called something like 'keyboard indicator'. Choose that one, click the 'add' button. In the panel there appears a new item, probably with a three letter code for your current language setting. Right-click that one, from its context menu select 'keyboard settings'.

In the next dialogue there is the option of adding new keyboard layouts. Broswe them to select the ones which fit your requirements for English and German. You set them up in this dialogue.

Afterwards you can toggle the settings by clicking the three-letter combination (it could be a flag as well, if you set it up to display flags instead of codes). I choose that to switch between German and Russian keyboard layouts and it works like a charm. It doesn't change the setting for the whole system, just for the current application.



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