Re: internationalize and localize

Subject: Re: internationalize and localize
From: Goober Writer <gooberwriter -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Jennifer Itatani <jitatani -at- esri -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 17:35:27 -0700 (PDT)

There is a major (not subtle) difference between the
two. The following are's definitions, which
are actually quite solid.

Internationalization (sometimes shortened to "I18N ,
meaning "I - eighteen letters -N") is the process of
planning and implementing products and services so
that they can easily be adapted to specific local
languages and cultures, a process called localization.
The internationalization process is sometimes called
translation or localization enablement. Enablement can

Allowing space in user interfaces (for example,
hardware labels, help pages, and online menus) for
translation into languages that require more

Developing with products (such as Web editors or
authoring tools) that can support international
character sets (Unicode)

Creating print or Web site graphic images so that
their text labels can be translated inexpensively
Using written examples that have global meaning
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)

Localization (sometimes shortened to "l10n") is the
process of adapting a product or service to a
particular language, culture, and desired local
"look-and-feel." Ideally, a product or service is
developed so that localization is relatively easy to
achieve - for example, by creating technical
illustrations for manuals in which the text can easily
be changed to another language and allowing some
expansion room for this purpose. This enabling process
is termed internationalization. An internationalized
product or service is therefore easier to localize.
The process of first enabling a product to be
localized and then localizing it for different
national audiences is sometimes known as

In localizing a product, in addition to idiomatic
language translation, such details as time zones,
money, national holidays, local color sensitivities,
product or service names, gender roles, and geographic
examples must all be considered. A successfully
localized service or product is one that appears to
have been developed within the local culture.

Language translation, which is a large part of
localization, can sometimes be facilitated with
automatic language translation. However, much
additional work is usually needed.

Goober Writer
(because life is too short to be inept)

"As soon as you hear the phrase "studies show",
immediately put a hand on your wallet and cover your groin."
-- Geoff Hart

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internationalize and localize: From: Jennifer Itatani

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