Many clients new to translation are confused by the terms “translation”, “localization” and “internationalization”. Although each term describes a different process for multilingual software projects, translation and localization are often used almost interchangeably. This blog clears up the mystery around these basics, which are closely related to each other.
Software translation is also known as “software globalization”. To “translate” software into other languages, you will probably need both internationalization (I18N) and localization (L10N) services. Most translation companies or language service providers (LSP) use the term globalization for the combination of internationalization and localization.
The terms globalization, localization, and internationalization are often abbreviated in numeronyms: for example, I18n (where 18 represents the number of letters between the first i and the last n in internationalization.) The capital L in L10n helps distinguish it from the “I” in I18n. You will see these abbreviations in parentheses in the table below.
What is software globalization?
Internationalization (I18n) is defined as the process of developing a program core whose code and feature design makes no assumptions based on a single language or locale and whose source base simplifies the creation of different language editions of a program. This involves enabling the back-end of your software to handle different languages, character sets, currencies, submitting form data, site search capabilities, etc. Internationalization can be very complicated, depending on the complexity of the software to be internationalized. In short, it refers to the automatic rendering of an application in the language chosen by the user. Internationalization relates not only to text displayed in a software application, but also to numbers, date format, and currency values. Special symbols and alphabetical sorting in different languages bring interesting challenges.
Location (L10N) is defined as the process of adapting a software application for a specific international market, including translating the user interface, resizing dialog boxes, customizing functions, and testing the results to ensure that the program still works. in the target language, just as you did in the source language. Localization also involves the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific language or region by translating text and adding locale-specific components. For example, the localization may include Brazilian Portuguese as the target language in contrast to the mainland Portuguese language.
Key steps in the internationalization of software
Each translation agency or language service provider will have its own methods and best practices for the internationalization of software. The methodology that usually includes the following 4 steps: