What is i18n?
I18n, or internalization and localization, is the process of translating and localizing computer software to different languages. i18n, which is a shorthand name for internalization, and localization are partners in the process of translating software in to different languages, however, it’s vital that each part be understood in its own right. These processes work together to essentially allow for businesses and companies to translate software without the need of technical engineering changes. This significantly reduces the complexity and otherwise unnecessary difficulty that businesses would have to endure in order to address the needs of users and customers in various markets.
This part of the process is essentially the entire catalyst that allows for the process of localization to occur. Internationalization builds the framework that will allow for the capability of localization to transpire efficiently in the different forms needed. For businesses or companies to conceive of adapting their software or applications to be used in different markets, i18n provides an ease to create that adjustment. This process eliminates the need to re-engineer software in order to implement localization as it is a one code base that is designed to be presented in different languages.
This focuses on the specifics of what exactly needs to be adapted. For businesses and companies, the purpose is to adapt any content, application, service or product to be relevant to various audiences using different languages. To localize content is to move beyond a simple translation, but instead to understand the values and beliefs of the target audience to be able to then adapt the communicative approach to match theirs. Through the established i18n framework, localizations takes care of the internal details that need to be adapted and that will ultimately reflect the display of the adjusted software or application.
Benefits of i18n
- High Quality: With the advantage of having a specific software, or application, that has the capability to be localized and be made available for other locales, this strongly increases the quality of the product. With a higher quality, businesses can expect to see a stronger demand for an internalized software as it considers the potential adaptability for other markets.
- Single Source Code: An additional benefit for developers is the appeal of creating a single source code that can be used to produce several versions and iterations of the software in various languages. This lessens the complexity and complications that would otherwise occur if each version of a software or application needed to be individually developed.
- Time & Cost Efficient: With a single source code it’s clear to understand how the process of i18n can reduce time and money when developing multiple versions of softwares in various languages. Aside from considering the time of translation, the invested time of localization can also be efficiently maximized.
- Maintenance: With the benefit of i18n creating a single source code, the maintenance and creation of various versions are simplified. Components of the localization process are properly indicated and thus made easy to adjust or alternate as needed by developers.