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In
computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and software. It has sci ...

computing
, internationalization and localization (
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...
) or internationalisation and localisation (
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage and is employed by a populatio ...
), often abbreviated i18n and L10n, are means of adapting
computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * I ...

computer software
to different languages, regional peculiarities 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 translating text and adding locale-specific components. Localization (which is potentially performed multiple times, for different locales) uses the infrastructure or flexibility provided by internationalization (which is ideally performed only once before localization, or as an integral part of ongoing development).


Naming

The terms are frequently abbreviated to the
numeronym A numeronym is a number-based word. Most commonly, a numeronym is a word where a number is used to form an abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-Eur ...
s ''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 Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC ), using the trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights ...
in the 1970s or 1980s) and L10n for ''localization'', due to the length of the words. Some writers have the latter acronym capitalized to help distinguish the two. Some companies, like
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
and
Oracle An oracle is a person or agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mechanisms which go ...
, use the term ''
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

globalization
'', ''g11n'', for the combination of internationalization and localization.
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

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 The Hewlett-Packard Company, commonly shortened to Hewlett-Packard ( ) or HP, was an American multinational information technology company headquartered in Palo Alto, California Palo Alto (; Spanish language, Spanish for "tall stick" ...

Hewlett-Packard
and
HP-UX HP-UX (from "Hewlett Packard Unix") is Hewlett Packard Enterprise's proprietary software, proprietary implementation of the Unix operating system, based on Unix System V (initially Unix System III, System III) and first released in 1984. Rec ...
created a system called "National Language Support" or "Native Language Support" (NLS) to produce localizable software.


Scope

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". Translation is typically the most time-consuming component of
language localization A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language A spoken language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), g ...
. This may involve: * For film, video, and audio, translation of spoken words or music lyrics, often using either
dubbing Dub, Dubs, or dubbing may refer to: Places * Dub (Hadžići), a village in Bosnia and Herzegovina * Dub (Rogatica), a village in Bosnia and Herzegovina * Dub (Prachatice District), a town in the Czech Republic * Dub, Kotor, Dub, a village in Mon ...
or
subtitles Subtitles are text Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory) Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory), any object that can be read, including: **Religious text, a writing that a religious tradition considers ...
* Text translation for printed materials, digital media (possibly including error messages and documentation) * Potentially altering images and logos containing text to contain translations or generic icons * Different translation length and differences in character sizes (e.g. between
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived ...

Latin alphabet
letters and
Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, ...
) can cause layouts that work well in one language to work poorly in others * Consideration of differences in
dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety (linguis ...
,
register A register is an authoritative list of one kind of information. Register or registration may refer to: Arts entertainment, and media Music * Register (music), the relative "height" or range of a note, melody, part, instrument, etc. * ''Regis ...
or
variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
* Writing conventions like: ** Formatting of numbers (especially
decimal separator A decimal separator is a symbol used to separate the integer An integer (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spok ...

decimal separator
and
digit grouping A decimal separator is a symbol used to separate the integer An integer (from the Latin wikt:integer#Latin, ''integer'' meaning "whole") is colloquially defined as a number that can be written without a Fraction (mathematics), fractional ...
) ** Date and time format, possibly including use of different calendars


Standard locale data

Computer software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * I ...

Computer software
can encounter differences above and beyond straightforward translation of words and phrases, because computer programs can generate content dynamically. These differences may need to be taken into account by the internationalization process in preparation for translation. Many of these differences are so regular that a conversion between languages can be easily automated. The
Common Locale Data Repository The Common Locale Data Repository Project, often abbreviated as CLDR, is a project of the Unicode Consortium The Unicode Consortium (legally Unicode, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated associatio ...
by
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
provides a collection of such differences. Its data is used by major
operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software include operating systems (OS) like macOS, Linux, Android (operating system), Android and Mi ...

operating system
s, including
Microsoft Windows Microsoft Windows, commonly referred to as Windows, is a group of several proprietary {{Short pages monitor Each module can then either rely on a standard library/dependency or be independently replaced as needed for each locale. The current prevailing practice is for applications to place text in resource strings which are loaded during program execution as needed. These strings, stored in resource files, are relatively easy to translate. Programs are often built to reference resource libraries depending on the selected locale data. The storage for translatable and translated strings is sometimes called a message catalog as the strings are called messages. The catalog generally comprises a set of files in a specific localization format and a standard library to handle said format. One
software library Image:Ogg vorbis libs and application dia.svg, 277px, Illustration of an application which uses libvorbisfile to play an Ogg Vorbis file In computer science, a library is a collection of non-volatile memory, non-volatile resources used by compu ...
and format that aids this is
gettext In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and soft ...

gettext
. Thus to get an application to support multiple languages one would design the application to select the relevant language resource file at runtime. The code required to manage data entry verification and many other locale-sensitive data types also must support differing locale requirements. Modern development systems and operating systems include sophisticated libraries for international support of these types, see also Standard locale data above. Many localization issues (e.g. writing direction, text sorting) require more profound changes in the software than text translation. For example, achieves this with compilation switches.


Process

A globalization method includes, after planning, three implementation steps: internationalization, localization and quality assurance. To some degree (e.g. for
quality assurance Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes and defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering products or services to customers; which ISO 9000 The ISO 9000 family of quality management systems A quality man ...

quality assurance
), development teams include someone who handles the basic/central stages of the process which then enable all the others. Such persons typically understand foreign languages and cultures and have some technical background. Specialized technical writers are required to construct a culturally appropriate syntax for potentially complicated concepts, coupled with engineering resources to deploy and test the localization elements. Once properly internationalized, software can rely on more decentralized models for localization:
free and open source software Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built ...
usually rely on self-localization by end-users and volunteers, sometimes organized in teams. The KDE3 project, for example, has been translated into over 100 languages;
MediaWiki MediaWiki is a free and open-source Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both free software and open-source software where anyone is free software license, freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the softwa ...

MediaWiki
in 270 languages, of which 100 mostly complete . When translating existing text to other languages, it is difficult to maintain the parallel versions of texts throughout the life of the product. For instance, if a message displayed to the user is modified, all of the translated versions must be changed.


Commercial considerations

In a commercial setting, the benefit from localization is access to more markets. In the early 1980s,
Lotus 1-2-3 Lotus 1-2-3 is a discontinued spreadsheet A spreadsheet is a computer application for organization, analysis, and storage of data in table (information), tabular form. Spreadsheets were developed as computerized analogs of paper accounting Wo ...
took two years to separate program code and text and lost the market lead in Europe over Microsoft Multiplan. MicroPro found that using an Austrian translator for the West German market caused its
WordStar WordStar is a word processor A word processor (WP) is a device or computer program that provides for input, editing, formatting, and output of text, often with some additional features. were stand-alone devices dedicated to the function, ...

WordStar
documentation to, an executive said, not "have the tone it should have had". However, there are considerable costs involved, which go far beyond engineering. Further, business operations must adapt to manage the production, storage and distribution of multiple discrete localized products, which are often being sold in completely different currencies, regulatory environments and tax regimes. Finally, sales, marketing and technical support must also facilitate their own operations in the new languages, in order to support customers for the localized products. Particularly for relatively small language populations, it may never be economically viable to offer a localized product. Even where large language populations could justify localization for a given product, and a product's internal structure already permits localization, a given software developer or publisher may lack the size and sophistication to manage the ancillary functions associated with operating in multiple locales.


See also

* Subcomponents and standards ** Bidirectional script support **
International Components for Unicode International Components for Unicode (ICU) is an open-source software, open-source project of mature C (programming language), C/C++ and Java (programming language), Java libraries for Unicode support, software Internationalization and localizati ...
**
Language code A language code is a code In communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from ...
**
Language localization A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language A spoken language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), g ...
** Website localization * Related concepts **
Computer accessibility Computer accessibility (also known as accessible computing) refers to the accessibility of a computer system A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out Sequence, sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. M ...
** Computer Russification, localization into Russian language **
Separation of concerns In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of compu ...
* Methods and examples **
Game localization Video game localization is the preparation of video game software and hardware for sale in a new region or country. Although translating the text is a large part of Internationalization and localization, localization, the process includes any chan ...
** Globalization Management System ** Pseudolocalization, a
software testing #REDIRECT Software testing#REDIRECT Software testing Software testing is an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the software product or service under test. Software testing can also provide an ob ...
method for testing a software product's readiness for localization. * Other **
Input method editor An input method (or input method editor, commonly abbreviated IME) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system softw ...
**
Language industry The language industry is the industry (economics), sector of activity dedicated to facilitating multilingual communication, both oral and written. According to the European Commission's Directorate-General of Translation, the language industry com ...


References


Further reading

* ''.NET Internationalization: The Developer's Guide to Building Global Windows and Web Applications'', Guy Smith-Ferrier, Addison-Wesley Professional, 7 August 2006. * ''A Practical Guide to Localization'', Bert Esselink, John Benjamins Publishing,
000 Triple zero, Triple Zero, Zero Zero Zero, Triple 0, Triple-0, 000, or 0-0-0 may refer to: * 000 (emergency telephone number), the Australian emergency telephone number * "Triple Zero", a song by AFI from ''Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes ' ...

000
*
Lydia Ash Lydia (Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominant scale or acou ...
: ''The Web Testing Companion: The Insider's Guide to Efficient and Effective Tests'', Wiley, May 2, 2003. * ''Business Without Borders: A Strategic Guide to Global Marketing'', Donald A. DePalma, Globa Vista Press
004 004, 0O4, O04, OO4 may refer to: * 004, fictional British 00 Agent * 0O4, Corning Municipal Airport (California) * O04, the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation * Abdul Haq Wasiq, Guantanamo detainee 004 * Junkers Jumo 004 turbojet engine * Lauda Ai ...


External links

*
Instantly Learn Localization TestingLocalization vs. Internationalization by The World Wide Web Consortium
* {{Translation navbox Business terms Globalization Information and communication technologies for development International trade Natural language and computing Technical communication Translation Transliteration Word coinage