Today, I recognized the connection between literacy and computer literacy when I reset the default language on a MacBook Pro to 简体中文. Within the Language & Text settings under System Preferences, a user can select a language for the computer. I had thought that selecting a language other than English would only alter the language of the drop-down menu items. However, that was not the case.
Instead, changing the default language also alters the names of certain Apple applications. I discovered this when I struggled with the new Chinese menu. I know where all the menu items roughly are located on Safari, but switching from English to Chinese slowed me down enough that I wanted to switch right back. But, when I searched Spotlight for Preferences, Spotlight did not return the System Preferences application. That’s when I knew something was wrong. Instead, I had to find the System Preferences by browsing the Applications window and finding the right icon. If I only had file names and no icons, I would have been in a really bad situation.
While using Chinese as the default language, I also discovered the Chinese-version of Google Maps. Americans all know the English name of 北京 is Beijing. But, if someone from China asked about the Chinese name for American streets or cities (outside of the obvious 旧金山 for San Francisco), I’m usually stumped. Instead of making up a name phonetically, I can now point them to Chinese maps of America.