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About Internationalization

Internationalization (also known as I18N) is the process of planning and implementing products and services so that they can easily be localized for specific languages and cultures. This process requires a combination of both international and technical expertise, and generally involves both deploying new systems and reengineering existing ones. Once the internationalized platform is in place, localizing product content in new languages, countries, or cultures should be significantly more cost efficient, timely and market effective.

Internationalization may include:

  • Creating illustrations for documents in which the text can easily be changed to another language and allowing expansion room for this purpose. (See an example an example of internationalization and localization in Italian language at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Italian_localisation.png.)
  • Allowing space in user interfaces (for example, hardware labels, help pages, and online menus) for translation into languages that require more space.
  • Creating print or website graphic images so that their text labels can be translated inexpensively.
  • Leaving enough space in a brochure to drop in different length languages.
  • Separating the language elements from the graphic elements, or abstracting content from markup in a web application and software. Using written examples that have global meaning.
  • Insuring that the tools and product can support international character sets.
  • For software, ensuring data space so that messages can be translated from languages with single-byte character codes (such as English) into languages requiring multiple-byte character codes (such as Japanese Kanji).

Other Related Keywords

Internationalization, localization, translation, translation costs, information architecture, China, cultural differences, cultural influences, cultural values, culture and learning, e-learning, graphics, human factors, interculture, intercultural human factors

Other Resources

Bibliographies

Internationalization and localization from Wikipedia

Credit

Jeff Huset created this page.