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
Simpler maintenance
Improved quality and code architecture
Reduced cost
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

Hard-coded text
Use of Tools

Level 3: Support for non-western languages

Essential to penetrate Asian market

Level 4: Highest level

Multi-national products
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.