Multi-language Internationalization and Localization of Digital products
We are living in the information age. In this 21st century, people all over the world have embraced the need for information sharing and exchanges which have been greatly influenced by the internet technology. As a matter of fact, the value and price of information based materials and platforms has shot up drastically in the recent years.
That’s why you will find e-books sold on different disciplines, categories and topics. You will also websites updated with best content on various topics and subjects as well as information sold in other various modes e.g. kindle books, pdfs etc. All this is greatly successful because the information products are downloadable therefore after purchase, the user will have the information on a click of a button.
On the rise to leverage on this power of the internet and the vastness of the online market which is limitless, are software programmers, game developers, program designers and other application producers who build and distribute digital programs and products.
However, as much as the market barriers of their digital products have been removed by the internet technologies, there arises challenges where these programmers and designers will need to configure their end products to suit and cater for the linguistic differences experienced across the global market as well as the cultural and technical differences which will make their products user friendly and trigger positive interactivity among users in a specific target market.
This means that extra efforts and inputs need to be put into the end program to incorporate elements and other components inherent in target market. If done carefully and correctly, this induces great acceptability and wide use of the products hence more profit of the developers.
Understanding the Difference Between Internationalization and Localization
Essentially internationalization is a much more simple process than localization although they both work hand in hand to eventually increase the supply chain of the digital software or application by increasing the customer base to meet the demands of various linguistic groups.
The simplicity of globalization is seen in the tasks needed to incorporate into the software/application which can be successfully done once and for all in the entire software development process. Yet still, the developer has to be well versed and skilled in programming and troubleshooting of the software using multiple languages.
At times, errors messages and documentation encountered by users across various linguistic groups while using the software should be reported and used to make various improvements to encompass details not incorporated in the software for a particular language group.
On the other hand, the process of localization can be tedious and complex because the programmer or developer has to put into account the various cultures and technical aspects of the target market while creating the software/application.
This means that the developer will create various variations and specifications individually to cater for a market e.g. A software can be localized specifically for Japanese and another version of the same software will be programmed to incorporate culture and technical aspects of the Chinese. This can be tedious and overwhelming but with a clear market strategy and research, the software will eventually capture the targeted market.
Differing Factors Which Should Be Considered Include :
Differences in characters like sets of letters, logo-grams and syllabograms which arises due to differences in writing systems in difference languages across the world and geographical locations. However modern Unicode Standard system has been able to overcome these issues by representing different languages in a single character encoding.
Writing direction also differs in various languages with some writing form right to left such as Hebrews or Arabic and others from left to right such as English or German.
Differences in numerical systems in various languages and the need to support these numerical systems.
Differences in pluralization and grammatical rules e.g. genitive rules across geographical regions.
Differences in economic conventions of various geographical locations such as paper sizes, storage media, telephone number formats, postal codes & postal address format, currencies, currencies symbols and values due to inflation etc.
Differences in time zones and formats across geographical regions.
Differences in government policies and regulations such as country’s regulatory compliance laws- privacy laws, disclaimers, taxes etc.
Other local factors such as local holidays, personal names & conventions, aesthetics, cultural significance, ethnic lifestyle, local custom & conventions like taboos etc.