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Support for languages only available in Unicode systems

You are running a Unicode SAP system and want to configure languages. One or more of the languages you want to add have been not supported on non-Unicode systems. The Unicode standard covers all characters and languages that have been standardized for processing with computers. In Unicode SAP systems all languages which have an ISO 639-2 language key can be processed. However, not all cultural specific aspects of all languages are covered. Also there are some areas in display and printing where character support is limited.

Activating a new language key

To configure a language use transaction I18N -> 'I18N Customizing' -> 'I18N System Configuration' and follow the online documentation.

To add a language key which has not been supported on non-Unicode systems press button "Extend Language List" (the input help gives you the list of available languages). Execute and go back to the main screen. Your selected language is now available in the F4 Help of the key field.

Afterwards you have to manually update the DEFAULT profile parameter
zcsa/installed_languages to include all of the active languages
(use the internal 1-letter language keys, such as "E" for English, "D" for German, or "1" for Chinese.  Case sensitive!).

You can copy the new value from the Simulation/Activation results screen and paste it into the field in transaction RZ10, for example. You need to restart the system after the profile parameter modification.

Background information:  1-letter vs. 2-letter language keys

Please note that the internal representations of some languages are Korean characters; you will see such values e.g. in table T002. These characters are used internally only, the user interface shows 2-letter language keys (upper case). They correspond in most cases to the ISO 639-2 alpha-2 language code (lower case). Example: The ISO639-2 alpha-2 code for Vietnamese is "vi", SAP's corresponding two letter language key is "VI".

The mapping between the internal 1-letter language keys and the external 2-letter representation is defined in the table T002. If you see a (Korean) 1-letter language key, for example in a trace file, you can look up the 2-letter representation and the name of the language from table T002. Use transaction SE16 and paste the 1-letter key into the input field for 'SPRAS'. The input field has space for two characters, but accepts also the 1-letter key. When you press 'Return', the 2-letter representation occurs in the input field. When you press 'Execute (F8)', the corresponding line of table T002 is displayed, including the name of the language in field 'SPTXT'.

Precondition for the support of a new language

For complex script handling in display, input, and printing the SAP system typically relies on APIs from Microsoft. Therefore, a new language can in general only be correctly supported in an SAP system if it is supported in Microsoft products (Regional options in the Windows operating system, input methods, fonts, use in office products like MS Word).


The following limitations apply to the languages which are supported only in Unicode systems.

    1. Document Technologies

        a) Smartforms

                       Smartforms are supported. Support packages or corrections listed in notes 812821, 844760, 873239 are required.

                       The graphical PC-Editor for Smartforms is not supported. Activate MS-Word as editor instead according to note 742662.

                       For printing Smartforms, see section 'Device types' below.

                       The print preview for Smartforms may be incorrect if complex rendering is required.

        b) SAPscript

                       SAPscript is not supported. Use Smartforms instead.

        c) ABAP Lists

                       For printing ABAP lists, see section 'Device types' below.

        d) Device types

                       Supported device types for printing are:

        SWINCF (Cascading fonts Windows printing via SAPSprint, note 812821, 844760, 873239). This is the recommended device type for new languages.

        LEXUTF8 (note 215015) and HPUTF8 (note 750219) are able to display most Unicode characters, but have no complex rendering capabilities.

        For PDF conversion, you can us the device type PDFUC (note 999712).

        e) Adobe Interactive Forms (PDF-based forms)

                       Texts which require complex rendering may not be correctly displayed or printed when using Adobe Interactive Forms. Refer to the documentation by Adobe or try it out.

    2. Graphical User Interfaces

        a) SAPGUI

        The Graphical Screen Painter does not support Unicode. Please choose the Dynpro version instead.

        Network and chart graphics can display the texts only if they are covered by the current font character set of the SAPGUI.

        The length of text that can be displayed in certain controls is limited (Toolbar).

                       For details see note 508854.

        b) Web based frontends (browser)

                       All characters that are supported by the browser can be displayed.

        c) BW frontend

                       The BEx BW frontend up to version 3.5 is not supported. Later versions are supported. Teh BW Web Frontend is supported since version 3.1.


    3. Other Limitations

        a) Language configuration getting lost during upgrade

                       During an upgrade the configuration of Unicode-only languages can get lost, because the modified table T002 is replaced during the upgrade phase. After the upgrade the language configuration as described above (section "Activating a new lnguage key") needs to be reapplied. See also note 1416449.

        b) External interfaces

                       During conversion into non-Unicode code pages and in communication with non-Unicode RFC partners characters from scripts that are supported only in Unicode systems are replaced by a replacement character (#).

        c) Lexical sorting (collation)

                       The sorting may be not identical to the sort order that is typically used for this language. In most cases the Unicode standard sort algorithm is used. For details, see note 952625.

        d) Date, time, and number formatting in Java applications

                       Language specific date, time, and number formatting in Java applications is not supported.

        e) LIKE search on database

                       The '_' placeholder in a LIKE pattern in database search matches one code unit. In some cases (supplementary character, combining character) this is not identical to what the user refers as one character (especially in Thai, Vietnamese, Indic languages, Hong Kong Chinese). Prefer to use '%' placeholder in language dependent data.

        f) Transliteration into Latin alphabet

                       Transliteration into Latin alphabet for bank forms (Function module SCP_REPLACE_STRANGE_CHARS) is not supported. For a detailed list of supported characters in SCP_REPLACE_STRANGE_CHARS please review note 1062237.