Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Globalization Terms

The most commonly used buzz-words in the Globalization market are Globalization, Translation and Localization and Internationalization. This article demystifies these terms.

Globalization [G11n]

Globalization addresses the business issues associated with making a product global. In the globalization of high-tech products, this involves integrating localization throughout a company, after proper internationalization and product design. This also involves marketing, sales, and support in the world market.

Globalization is mainly realized at the architecture level. There are two ways of achieving globalization - Internationalization and Localization.

Translation [T9n]

Translation is the process of converting text in one language to text in another language.

Localization [L10n]

Localization involves taking a product and making it linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target locale (country, region and language) where it will be used and sold.

Localization involves two operations - Translation and Engineering. This process primarily focuses on translating the various locale-specific data, like pictures, colors, text, etc. and then making required changes in the application code to meet the requirements of the locale.

Internationalization [I18n]

Internationalization, on the other hand, is the process of generalizing a product so that it can handle multiple language and cultural conventions without the need for re-design. It guides the developers to write program code with anticipation of locale change.

Internationalization takes place at the level of program design and document development. This is achieved by the concept of resource bundles. This approach is primarily driven by MVC architectures. The focus is on separating the GUI so that the multi-language support is easily implemented while keeping the Business Logic and Persistence as standard for a variety of users. Today Internationalization capability for any solution that is being developed is a mandated requirement.

Acronym Rules

Following the standard rules for abbreviating these words, the following acronyms will be used for the above terms in the rest of the series.

Globalization - G11n
Translation - T9n
Localization - L10n
Internationalization - I18n

These acronyms are built using a simple philosophy. The acronym consists of the first letter and the last letter with the number of characters between them as a numeral.

E.g. Consider Internationalization. It starts with I, ends with n and has 18 characters between I and n. So it is abbreviated as I18n.