Internationalization and localization
Internationalization, or i18N, evolved out of translation and localization. The goal is for original content to be international ready. Deployment of i18N is considered strategically at the beginning of content development, not after original content is already developed. While it has primarily been used in the writing of software code to ensure that versions beyond the original language version can be created with greater ease, it should be considered by all developers of global content.
There are many benefits to i18N, including:
Quick use of software application (or other content) in multiple locales
Reduced time and cost for localization because content is already ready to be localized
Higher revenues and profits from other markets
Single source code for all applications
Improved quality and code architecture
Adherence to important standards
i18N can be deployed at different degrees depending on the goals for international distribution:
Level 1: Minimum level
Application independent from any language/character set encoding
Application independent from any cultural conventions
Level 2: User-visible text strings
Use of Tools
Level 3: Support for non-western languages
Essential to penetrate Asian market
Level 4: Highest level
Support for processing and storing data originating from different locales.
Today the computers are constructed thinking for an international use due to the increasing number of computers in the world. So the user interface should be constructed thinking for globally use.
Localization is the modification of a software product to meet the requirements of a specific market, or locale. This adaptation does not include only translation of the user interface and integration of the appropriate keyboard driver and input methods.
It must also take care of local conventions, like date, time, currency and number representation formats, collating sequence, perhaps spelling, hyphenation, grammar and syntax rules, ordering, sorting, searching and matching rules, as well as local peculiarities about the use of color, sound and symbols.
In other hand the internationalization refers to the process of conception or modification of a product for a determine countries or region with different cultures and conventions.
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2012 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.