Localization of products and services provides a huge amount of success for a business as it makes the product or service usable for any locale. However, the product or service will not be able to survive the international markets, or even localization for that matter, if it is not internationalized first. Otherwise, the core application would have to be modified by a translation agency to create provisions for local languages or user interface settings. Internationalization of your product or service will ensure that you can launch your software easily, and modify the user interface according to the needs of the local cultures
Internationalization basically means making the product or service ready for future localization. Internationalization is sometimes abbreviated as i18n. This is because of the reason that there are 18 letters between the first ‘I’ and the last ‘N’ of the word. During this process, the product or service is redesigned or re-engineered for the future localization, so that it will be easier for the product to be used easily by users with different backgrounds, languages, and cultures.
Internationalization needs some serious thought, because it means that your product will be all over the world. Improper internationalization could mean that your application needs to undergo changes in the code before it can be localized. This can be a very tedious job, and can also be very counterproductive. This is why, for the benefit of your business, it is required that you internationalize your product through a translation agency at the very beginning. Make sure that you check the internationalization with your language service provider, etc.
Internationalization is a part of the bigger globalization of a product or a service. To internationalize your product, first determine what kind of global features your product needs to support. For instance, your application would need to support all the Unicode characters. This will enable you to launch the product in the Asian markets like Japan and China. After this is done, you need to externalize all the localizable data. Then you need to design specific user interfaces and search and sort functionalities.
You must also remember to include support for the currency, date and time formats, and addresses for different geographical areas. You can also add extra functionalities like bi-directional support for right to left scripts like Hebrew or Arabic. This can be done through a translation agency. And don’t forget to add the multi-byte support for characters in the different languages. You can also follow certain coding practices to make the whole process easier.
The concept of internationalization, though very useful, does not apply to every situation. Generally, internationalization is done on certain software, the web, and user interfaces. However, if you are indecisive about whether you need to internationalize or not, then you must know that there are some situations where internationalization is inevitable.
If you are launching your product globally for the first ever time, you need to internationalize it before doing that. If you are launching a product or service which you need to function worldwide, internationalization is needed for such a product or service. If you want to expand the market of your software internationally or if you want to avoid the tedious and costly processes that can take place during a localization process, you should do internationalization. If your software is to be sold with language specific functionalities, targeted at new markets, you can use a translation agency to do the internationalization for you.
Remember to complete your internationalization process before starting localization of your products. This will ensure that you do not have to reengineer your products to suit the needs of international markets. It will also ensure the quicker delivery of your products and will not raise the costs of the project.