I’m currently involved in creating and delivering training courses to some of the Sales Reps where I work. The purpose of these courses is to show them how to use OneDrive and the Office apps on their iPads. Many of the Reps have handed back their work laptop and only use an iPad for their work.

I work for a multinational organisation and these Sales Reps come from many different countries.

During my research, I found out that Office for iPad supports 27 languages:

English, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian.

However, there are a number of languages that aren’t currently supported – Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, and Vietnamese, which means that there’s quite a few countries where Office for iPad is not available:

UPDATE: Check this Microsoft website for latest information.

The reason that those languages aren’t supported is to do with the way that characters in those languages are written – some of the languages contains complex characters and some of them, such as Hebrew, are "right-to-left".

Each Office for iPad app contains the code that allows it to switch languages based upon the Regional Setting in iOS so there aren’t 27 different versions of the app – it’s the same app., It is iOS that determines which language is displayed rather than the app itself.

Microsoft haven’t tested Office for iPad documents written in the unsupported languages to make sure that no corruption occurs, therefore the apps are not available from the App Store in those countries. There are no plans to change this position at the present time.

Back to my training courses…

The organiser of the training asked me if some Japanese Reps could attend the courses as it suited their time zone. I said no problem but thought I’d better check if the Japanese language is supported – well it is – but there’s another problem…

To be able to use Office for iPad apps, you need an Office 365 subscription – well that’s not a problem – we have a global corporate subscription.

However, because the Japanese market doesn’t have a consumer subscription, the apps aren’t available in the Japanese app store. Even though in theory the employees are covered by a business subscription, they won’t be able to get their hands on the apps.