Article by Yulia Akhulkova.
Four years since our original article on internationalization was published, questions about what internationalization is (and isn’t) and why it matters in modern software development still arise quite often.
Internationalization (abbreviated as i18n) is the process of preparing localizable source products in a way that enables them to function globally. The task of internationalization is to ensure that the product design will meet the needs of users in different countries/regions and adapt easily to localization. So, before any software product (an app, game, or any other type of software) can be localized, it has to be internationalized, or “made able to dynamically support multiple local cultural formats and languages,” as Lingoport puts it.
The reason for talking about this process is that, according to multiple sources, over 50 percent of localization errors can be actually traced back to insufficiently internationalized sources. Internationalization helps such “weak points” to be identified beforehand and, therefore, prevents the actual issues from happening later on in the content globalization cycle.
As defined in a recent publication by Phrase, “internationalization can be thought of as building the structure of a piece of software so that it can be adjusted for different target markets, and localization is the process of actually doing so for a specific market. Both are integral parts of a localization strategy.”
As the recent Nimdzi panel on internationalization challenges in 2023 revealed, many software engineers as well as localization teams do not know what it takes to create, start, and/or sustain a meaningful and successful internationalization campaign in enterprise organizations. In most cases, they have to learn on the job.
There is a reported lack of comprehensive teaching materials that show clearly how to identify internationalization gaps and find effective solutions for them. Indeed, a typical article on the matter would include a barebones sketch of various things to look out for, from enabling the use of Unicode or adding support for vertical text and other non-Latin typographic features to separating localizable elements from source content.
In reality though, there are dozens of internationalization issues to uncover and keep in mind, not easily covered within one article, especially because most internationalization projects are unique. To start with, here are the top-20 most common steps to consider (updated based on our previous top-17 list).
The concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion — or DEI, as it’s often referred to — has been gaining traction with employers in recent years. It is increasingly recognized as an essential building block for successful organizations, but it can be hard to know where to start on your DEI journey.
You slept very badly last night and, as a consequence, your attention span (or patience) will be shorter today. It can help if the content you’re reading is structured in a simple layout, using plain language. Or, say, you’re suffering from an ear infection and you aren’t hearing quite as well as you usually do. Subtitles for video conferencing could make your work easier. These are just a few examples of how all of us change over time — sometimes subtly and sometimes in more significant ways — and our needs are never the same.
Introduction On May 30th, Nimdzi Insights hosted a panel discussion with i18n experts on current and future internationalization best practices. The discussionwas a valuable event held to shed light on the evolving landscape of i18n and provide insights into its importance, challenges, and best practices. The event featured prominent panelists with extensive experience in i18n, […]
As the localization industry continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial for leaders in the field to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations. To gain insight into where these leaders are investing their time in 2023, Nimdzi conducted a survey and has compiled the results. In our survey, Nimdzi asked localization professionals to list the focus areas and challenges they anticipate for 2023.