The Slovenia Times

Slovenian menus soon mandatory on consumer devices

Apple Iphones. Photo: Xinhua/STA

The Slovenian parliament unanimously passed on 2 April a law that will make operating systems in the Slovenian language mandatory for manufacturers selling their electronic consumer devices in the country.

The changes to the 20-year-old law governing the use of Slovenian come in response to the reluctance by some tech giants, most notably Apple, to include Slovenian among the languages available on their devices.

The same applies to several major auto manufacturers that do not offer entertainment system menus in Slovenian.

Culture Minister Asta Vrečko has said that protection of Slovenian was being expanded to include computer operating systems, smartphones and cars, as well as other devices that communicate with users via text and speech interfaces.

The existing law, passed in 2004 and only slightly changed in 2010, has not made such protection possible, having been adopted when many of these services and devices were not available yet.

The provisions of the existing law apply only to "public use", which is why car and phone makers have been using this as justification for failing to provide Slovenian language support.

Now the wording has been expanded to include "any written, spoken or other visual, auditory or tactile use of Slovenian in any medium, physical or digital, which is not intended exclusively for private use".

The bill also targets Slovenian-based providers of online content, requiring that they provide their services in the Slovenian language.

But companies based outside of Slovenia, notably streaming giants such as Netflix and Disney, will not be affected since their European operations are governed in the country where they are incorporated and not all countries have strict language policies.

The changes affecting operating systems will take effect 18 months after the law enters into force. For speech-based interfaces, the transitional period is 30 months.

During this transitional period, implementing regulations will be adopted specifying in greater detail what manufacturers must to do secure compliance.


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