Business Perspectives on Internationalization
- By Adam Asnes of Lingoport
This article appeared in ClientSide News, June of 2003:
We get all sorts of questions regarding the technical aspects of
internationalization, but before any of those answers can become truly relevant to
a client’s efforts, the business decision questions must first be addressed. It’s
hard for some managers to understand just what is involved with
internationalization. Why is it different than translation; what is the benefit of
internationalization products and services; how do you measure the benefit; and
how do perform it better, faster, and more affordably?
Our company, LingoPort is focused exclusively on software internationalization
solutions including internationalization development services, our i18n software
products, and technical training. We partner with select localization companies to
provide complete globalization services. Given our focus on software
development, we are brought into the globalization process differently than a
I suspect that if you’re reading this article, you’re involved in some way with the
globalization industry, so I’ll keep the definitions to a minimum.
Internationalization (also referred to as i18n) is important because it lets you
efficiently adapt your products for multiple locales, while minimizing support,
maintenance and localization costs worldwide. Internationalization consists of
any and all preparatory tasks that will facilitate subsequent localization efforts. It
can be performed on source code, the controls on a fax machine, a method of
writing a document, etc. With regard to source code, internationalization is
adapting software to support worldwide character sets and cultural formats (e.g.
numerical formats, currencies, date/time formats, etc.), global interface
requirements, data access, storage and retrieval and business rules.
Sometimes companies will internationalize their software in stages, think