Internationalization and localization

Ætoms - Translation.svg
In computing, internationalization and localization are means of adapting computer software to different languages, regional differences and technical requirements of a target locale. Internationalization is the process of designing a software application so that it can be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes. Localization is the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components and translating text. Localization (which is potentially performed multiple times, for different locales) uses the infrastructure or flexibility provided by internationalization (which is ideally performed only once, or as an integral part of ongoing development).

The terms are frequently abbreviated to the numeronyms i18n (where 18 stands for the number of letters between the first i and the last n in the word internationalization, a usage coined at Digital Equipment Corporation in the 1970s or 1980s) and L10n for localization, due to the length of the words.

Some companies, like IBM and Sun Microsystems, use the term "globalization", g11n, for the combination of internationalization and localization. Also known as "glocalization" (a portmanteau of globalization and localization).

Microsoft defines internationalization as a combination of world-readiness and localization. World-readiness is a developer task, which enables a product to be used with multiple scripts and cultures (globalization) and separating user interface resources in a localizable format (localizability, abbreviated to L12y).

Hewlett-Packard and HP-UX created a system called "National Language Support" or "Native Language Support" (NLS) to produce localizable software.

According to Software without frontiers, the design aspects to consider when internationalizing a product are "data encoding, data and documentation, software construction, hardware device support, user interaction"; while the key design areas to consider when making a fully internationalized product from scratch are "user interaction, algorithm design and data formats, software services, documentation".

This page was last edited on 25 May 2018, at 12:23.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

Related Topics

Recently Viewed