Internationalization vs. localization (i18n vs l10n): What’s the difference?

Internationalization vs. localization (i18n vs l10n): What’s the difference?

The critical challenge of experts in specific spheres is to draw the attention of a potential client to the particular products or services, thus they resort to developing the website of their brand. In such a way, the developer's task lies in creating the visual shape of the site and expanding its functionality every time. Due to the high-quality web development, the brand's social media page will be regularly updated with a variety of needed and curious data about the product and service and offers for customers taking interactive features such as polls, reactions, chatbots, voting, relatable videos, forums and etc. In such a way, specialists will be able to start the development process of their own brand or continue it.  In the meantime, they will maintain the most trusting relationships with their consumers.

Web development isn’t possible to be totally high-quality without the involvement of localization and internationalization technologies, therefore in this guide, we will discuss the following in detail:

  • What do such concepts mean;
  • What is the difference between internationalization and localization;
  • Why these functions are so vital and needed;
  • How do these functions work;
  • We will provide samples of localization and internationalization, etc.

Meaning of the i18n localization and internationalization options

Such options work in a so-called coordinated manner. They are responsible for maximizing the promotion of the brand to new markets or already existing local markets, as well as to a global audience. Due to these functions, even various languages will not get in the way of the development of web applications, as the service can be adapted to different cultures, which will facilitate applying of the site by users from multiple locales.

There are some key aspects of applying this technology:

  • User interface (UI): If your software or website is to be translated into different languages with enough space in the UI account for the text translation without any additional steps with the resource files, new languages, etc. to do else;
  • Time and date formats: As the date and time formats vary in different locales (countries), in such a case the formats need to be adopted for each specific locale;
  • Hardware support process: In some countries, the software can’t be accessible for various mobile devices in some territories, so it is needed to update the software application for the specific devices of international audiences;
  • Customer service: When you begin selling the product (offered in your app), just provide your service for the customers in multiple languages, that contribute to the native language of each culture, as well as according to the country's time zone;
  • Data encoding: The so-called ASCII encoding, as a rule, works for most European languages, In the situation with a group of Asian languages also Ukrainian and Russian demand the source code named Unicode.

What is internationalization?                    

The internationalization concept also has the abbreviation named “i18n” and implies the number of characters in this word amid letters “i” and “n”. 

This term is provided for the design, analysis, and adoption of your software with the support of multiple languages on the local market or even the global market.

What is localization?

This statement has the abbreviation “L10n”, which means that between the “L” and “N” letters stand 10 characters. And as you have already logically figured out from the previous paragraph, the localization process is the method to spread the needed product on the platforms, in our case, for instance, on the international markets.

Internationalization and localization process. What is the difference?

This paragraph is about summing up all data from the previous one. Therefore, if briefly, internationalization vs localization differs only in such a way:


Internationalization involves the set of designing unique apps with provided products, that are to be adapted to various languages and cultures and also spread to a target market and more. This option is to be done before localization. Localization strategy involves adapting, translating, and customizing the provided product of your brand with adding other locale-specific components.

Top 3 Models (the strategy range) and Examples of Localization and Internationalization

In this block, we are to speak about 3 variants of such options, due to them you are to make a success in your business and get amazing outcomes.

3 models of Internationalization with the sample

  1. Content localization on the web service:
  2. Localization of UI elements;
  3. Encoding localization on the service.

The instance of the internationalization process:


Speaking about the Hebrew language, as an example, we are to admit the fact of people of this country read and write the text right-to-left. From this, it is possible to consider changing the writing direction with the aim of keeping the specific language and cultural traditions of this nation. Therefore, the Hebrews will be able to comprehend the sense you want to carry.


3 models of Localization with an example

  1. Translation and localization of the needed content;
  2. Creation of the possible local process definitions;
  3. Adapting the already created marketing data.

An example of a localization process:


Let's take the Hebrew language as a sample of the localization process again. The successful localization of products in the Hebrew market needs not only text translation in the product description but, as well, changing the interfaces. In addition, due to frequent code failures, displaying text in the correct format needs a little additional time and resources.

The sample of both localization and internationalization

As the sample will be the world-popular McDonald's chain of drinks and food. This company is considered a bestseller in the catering market. The administration has progressed the key assortment of the menu taking into account the preferences and tastes of individuals of different cultures and nations around the world. In addition, McDonald's has localized the menu assortment for target audiences.

By the way, apart from the McDonald’s Corporation, almost every other company, such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Aliexpress, and so on, uses internationalization and localization technologies to promote its content and services and attract more and more users. And it becomes clear that these functions are really 100 percent powerful.

The importance of multiple languages

In that case, if designed by the developers' application of your brand support multiple languages in the operating systems of some specific devices is also a good way to make your product internationalized, as well as to fully bring your business to the global market and spread information data about the services you provide to a target audience, thereby getting a global brand identity. 

FAQ

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