Definition of l10n

Here is a proposed definition of localization.  Since we seem to have agreement on this definition from people who have seen it before, I would ask you to hopeful just endorse it and only comment if there is a serious problem. 


Localization (often written as "l10n", where 10 is the number of letters between 'l' and 'n') refers to 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 thought of only as a synonym for translation of the user interface and documentation, localization is often a substantially more complex issue. It can entail customization related to:

   * Numeric, date and time formats 

   * Use of currency 

   * Keyboard usage 

   * Collation and sorting

   * 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.

   * Varying legal requirements

   * and many more things.

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.


Richard Ishida

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Received on Monday, 19 September 2005 08:05:21 UTC