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Re: Defining i18n, l10n...

From: Felix Sasaki <fsasaki@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 15:08:00 +0900
To: "Richard Ishida" <ishida@w3.org>, public-i18n-its@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.suggnmmxx1753t@ibm-60d333fc0ec.w3.mag.keio.ac.jp>

Hi Richard,

I like these definitions very much. Just one point might need a  

> Internationalization (often written as "I18N", where 18 is the number of  
> letters between 'I' and 'N') is the design and development of a product  
> that is enabled for multinational, and possibly multilingual, deployment.

I think this is too much centered on "products". If you think of the work  
in the i18n core wg, it is centered on technologies (e.g. for IRIs,  
language and locale identification, web services), and not on products  
which deploy the technologies (e.g. IE or Firefox). So I would replace  
"product" with "technologies" and give then examples, e.g.

Internationalization (often written as "I18N", where 18 is the number of  
letters between 'I' and 'N') is the design and development of a  
technologies and its application in products to enable the products for  
multinational, and possibly multilingual, deployment. An example  
technology would be internationalized resource identifiers (IRI, link to  
RFC 3987[1]), an example product would be a web browser which can handle  

-- Felix

[1] http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3987.txt

On Wed, 20 Jul 2005 23:34:28 +0900, Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org> wrote:

> This is the text of the faq GEO put together a while back defining these  
> terms.  It needs to be discussed by all WGs in the i18n Activity:
> Defining Localization, Internationalization & Globalization
> on this page:  question - answer - further reading
> Question
> How do you define localization, internationalization and globalization?  
> How are these concepts related?
> Answer
> People define these concepts in slightly different ways. Here are some  
> working definitions for Web internationalization that you might find  
> useful.
> Localization
> Localization (often written as "L10N", where 10 is the number of letters  
> between 'L' and 'N') is the adaptation of a product, application or  
> document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements  
> of a specific target market (a "locale").
> Often simplistically thought of as a synonym for translation of the user  
> interface and documentation, localization is often a substantially more  
> complex issue. It can entail customization of:
>     * Keyboard usage
>     * Numeric, date and time formats
>     * Symbols, icons and colors
>     * Text and graphics containing references to objects, actions or  
> ideas which, in a given culture, may be subject to misinterpretation or  
> viewed as insensitive.
> Localization may even necessitate a comprehensive rethinking of logic,  
> visual design, or presentation if the way of doing business (eg.,  
> accounting) or the accepted paradigm for learning (eg., focus on  
> individual vs. group) in a given locale differs substantially from the  
> originating culture.
> Internationalization
> Internationalization (often written as "I18N", where 18 is the number of  
> letters between 'I' and 'N') is the design and development of a product  
> that is enabled for multinational, and possibly multilingual,  
> deployment. This process usually entails:
>     * Excluding localizable elements from source code. This  
> 'externalization' removes these items to separate files ("resources")  
> that can be loaded or selected based on the user's international  
> preferences as needed.
>     * Providing support for features that may not be used until  
> localization occurs (eg., bidi markup in DTDs).
>     * Providing support for the incorporation of predefined localization  
> data and features pulled from existing libraries (eg., date and time  
> formats; keyboard usage).
> The success of the i18n process will significantly affect the ease of  
> the product's localization. Retrofitting a linguistically- and  
> culturally-centered product for a global market is obviously much more  
> difficult and time-consuming than designing a product with the intent of  
> presenting it globally (think back to the Y2K effort and trying to  
> "undo" two-character year fields that were built on the assumption of  
> "19xx"). So ideally, internationalization occurs as a fundamental step  
> in the design and development process, rather than as a possibly awkward  
> and expensive afterthought.
> Globalization
> Globalization describes the constantly expanding connectivity and  
> interdependence of the world's markets and businesses.
> With regard to the Web, globalization refers to the process of  
> developing locale-specific Web sites and applications so that they are  
> linguistically and functionally usable in one or more countries outside  
> the nation of origin. Globalization, therefore, requires some degree of  
> organizational integration of internationalization and localization  
> strategies.
> Putting the concepts together
> The success of any globalization effort depends on having a Web site  
> and/or application that is usable in the target market, i.e.,  
> effectively localized. Cost- and time-efficient localization, in turn,  
> depends on timely and well-conceived internationalization.
> As globalization of the marketplace continues at a rapid pace, the  
> boundary separating localization and internationalization efforts may  
> become increasingly blurred as designers become accustomed to enabling  
> products for various locales and incorporate localized customizations  
> into the initial product design and development.
> ============
> Richard Ishida
> W3C
> contact info:
> http://www.w3.org/People/Ishida/
> W3C Internationalization:
> http://www.w3.org/International/
> Publication blog:
> http://people.w3.org/rishida/blog/
Received on Monday, 25 July 2005 06:08:10 UTC

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