A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced an initiative targeting the Hispanic community, with special offers for Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007 Language Pack in Spanish.

It may be worth pointing out that the Spanish proofing tools in Office 2007 include a brand-new context-sensitive speller in addition to the regular spell-checker, thesaurus, hyphenator and grammar checker. We have discussed the English context-sensitive speller on multiple occasions on this blog and regular readers know that blue squiggly lines now appear under contextual mistakes (real-word errors which traditional spellers cannot flag) such as:

Nobody knows weather he is innocent or guilty. (à whether)

President Bush addresses Untied Nations General Assembly. (à United)

People say your hole life flashes before your eyes before you die. (à whole)

Life insurance plays a very essential part in our every day life. (à everyday)

 

If you teach Spanish, if you are a translator, or if you write documents in Spanish regularly, you will most certainly understand how difficult it can be to spot the erroneous use of the word echo in a context where hecho should in fact be used. The blue squiggles under contextual mistakes testify to the progress made in this area in Office 2007 (if you right-click on the word echo in the sentence “Lo ha echo muy bien", you will see that the speller correctly suggests hecho, as is shown in the examples below).

 

 

Missing accents (as in medico, which should be médico in the sentence “Fuimos al medico ayer”) are very frequent mistakes as well and this new tool should prove useful to identify these blatant errors before you publish your document or send your email.

 -- Thierry Fontenelle (Program Manager)