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Exchange Server 2010 : International Considerations of Unified Messaging

12/8/2010 8:52:22 AM
In an international environment it is especially important to consider the foreign language aspect of UM. In governmental agencies in particular it is common to speak and work not in a common language, but in the local language, such as German.

If you add the UM server role, only one default language is added—English. Thus, you need to define the additional languages required for your users.

Inside Track: Languages for Voicemail Preview

Ankur Kothari

Senior Technical Product Manager, Exchange Server, Microsoft Corporation

A question I often receive is, "Why did you decide to ship X language and not Y for Voicemail Preview?"

Our speech model for voice mail is highly tuned to each culture and language. Dialects, vocal tones, grammar, background noise, and mumbling all challenge any voice recognition technology. A language model can even have subtle challenges, such as the method in which a phone number is recited in England is very different than in the United States.

To address these challenges, we created a unique language model for each potential language that we planned to ship. After getting each language model to an acceptable level, we ran the results through a user panel to determine whether users found the results usable or not. Different cultures, as you know, may interpret results uniquely, and we wanted to determine whether our model met the bar. In the end, we decided to ship seven languages/cultures for Voicemail Preview that exceeds both our testing and the user experience. The four new languages in Exchange 2010 SP1 are Canadian English, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), and Spanish (Spain).


1. Foreign Language Support

Unified Messaging provides language packs to satisfy international UM requirements. In multiple-language environments, you should install the applicable UM language packs because some UM users prefer their voice prompts in a different language or because they receive e-mail messages in multiple languages that they need to access using OVA. If you do not install the UM language pack for a particular language, e-mail messages in that language will be illogical and incoherent when relayed to the user. OVA uses the following language selection behavior in the release version of Exchange 2010:

  1. Try to find an exact match from the OWA language setting.

  2. If no match is found, look for a language with the same parent language name. If multiple languages with the same parent language name are installed, the language that is last installed on the UM server wins.

  3. If still no match, pick the latest language installed on the UM server.

Exchange 2010 SP1 changes the language selection behavior as follows:

  1. Try to find an exact match from the OWA language setting.

  2. If no exact match is found, fall back to a matching fallback language (en = en-US, fr = fr-FR, es = es-ES, pt = pt-BR, and so on).

  3. If no fallback language is installed, use the default language of the UM dial plan.

Several key components rely on UM language packs to enable users and callers to interact effectively with Exchange Server 2010 UM in multiple languages. Each language pack includes:

  • A Text-to-Speech (TTS) engine to read and convert messages when OVA users access their inboxes.

  • The prerecorded prompts used to configure UM dial plans and auto attendants.

  • ASR support for speech-enabled UM dial plans and auto attendants.

To install a language pack, use Setup.com /AddUMLanguagePack found in the Exchsrvr\Bin directory of the Exchange Server installation. Once you install your language packs, you can change the default language configured for each dial plan.


Note:

Users automatically use the default language if their configured language setting in Outlook Web App is not available as a language pack. For example, if you install only the English and German language packs, and the English language pack is the default on the dial plan, a user with the French language configuration in Outlook Web App will hear English prompts.


In Exchange Server 2007, each language pack included the TTS engine but only supported ASR for U.S. English. In Exchange Server 2010, all available language packs contain ASR support. However, not all language packs support Voicemail Preview.


Note:

You can access and download all available UM language packs at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd638119.aspx.


2. Operating UM in a Multi-language Environment

Providing UM to your users in a multi-language environment requires additional considerations so that your users receive voice prompts for their local language. Consider the following when planning a multi-language implementation:

  • Create one UM dial plan for every language you support. For example, if you set up a UM server for Germany, you should configure a UM dial plan with its own subscriber number that has German configured as default language in Language Settings.

  • You can only define a single text message in a UM mailbox policy. If you are in a multi-language environment, you should consider either adding a text message for all languages or using a common language only.

  • Minimize the number of languages to only the needed ones. Every language installed requires time for grammar generation and language specific work. If you do install all 26 languages, this might never be finished.


Note:

You should consider a Subscriber Access number for every primary language that you want to support so that your local users can access their mailboxes in their local language.


Notes From The Field: Changing Language for Voice Mail

Korneel Bullens

Team Coordinator Unified Communications, Wortell, Netherlands

One of the questions I hear from my customers is "Why do I get my OVA greeting in English while my colleague has a Dutch or English intro?" This is a simple challenge. When your mailbox is created and you log on to Outlook or OWA, you encounter a language selection process. The language you pick is the language used on your voice mail. You can change this by opening Outlook Web App and changing your regional settings back to your desired language.



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