Internationalization, Localization, Globalization and ABBA

Hot off the digital press - a new manual has been added to the Access Manager 7.1 set of documentation:

Sun Java System Access Manager Localization Guide

The Localization Guide (published as a Technical Note although the notes I usually read don't run to 26 paginas) describes the organization of localized Access Manager software resource files. It also explains how to add a new language to the list of supported languages and how to customize an existing language's resource files.

In other words, name that language!

FYI:
  • Internationalization (numeronym: I18N) refers to the planning and implementation of a software framework for multiple language support. This framework can then be easily adapted for region-specific languages and cultures. You can refer to a product as being internationalized if it has been developed to meet most of the needs of an international community, but not yet customized (see localization) to a specific region. This might include:
    • Allowing space in user interfaces for translation
    • Developing with products that support international character sets
    • Creating graphics and images with text labels that can be translated inexpensively
    • Using written examples with global meaning
    • Ensuring data space so that messages can be translated from languages with single-byte character codes (such as English) into languages requiring multiple-byte character codes
  • Localization (numeronym: L10N) is the process of creating content (input and output data) for a region-specific culture and language.
  • Globalization (numeronym: G11N) refers to a program or application that is usable across multiple cultures and regions, irrespective of the language and regional differences. Sounds like I18N to me.
  • Glocalization (oh, brother) is a term that was invented to emphasize that the globalization of a product is more likely to succeed when the product or service is adapted specifically to each locality or culture in which it is marketed. The term combines the words globalization and localization.
For example, this German language video by super-singing sensation ABBA was internationalized when the original English lyrics were written simply for easy translation. It was localized when the lyrics were translated into German, Spanish, French, and Swedish. It was globalized when all versions were released worldwide, simultaneously, and it became a shining example of glocalization (oh, brother) when the song became a HUUGGGEEE hit.

(UPDATE: See Nico's comments for more precise (and certainly less facetious) information on the differences between the -izations.)
Comments:

Kewl Information:)

Posted by R Rajesh on June 27, 2007 at 12:57 AM PDT #

G11N = I18N + L10N.

I18N generally refers to codeset independence AND/OR support for Unicode and, particularly, UTF-8. This applies to displays (+ fonts), interfaces, documents, protocols and so on. In the context of Internet protocols I18N refers to the ability to use Unicode (preferably using UTF-8), rather than codeset independence. In the context of Solaris it means both.

L10N refers to localization of messages, GUI labels, answers to prompts (it's "oui" in French, not "yes"), date and timestamp styles, decimal radix character, etc...).

So, you can see that G11N does not sound like I18N -- it's more than I18N.

Posted by Nico on June 27, 2007 at 07:24 AM PDT #

I18N also encompasses support for bi-directional scripts in displays, in case that wasn't clear. BTW, I'd never heard of "glocalization," but it seems to me to be redundant, or the result of a misunderstanding of what G11N means. Unless "glocalization" refers to G11N + localization beyond the scope of what we normally mean by L10N (e.g., localization of marketing, as in ads that respect local culture, for example).

Posted by Nico on June 27, 2007 at 07:28 AM PDT #

Thanks, Nico, for the additional information. Sounds like your an insider looking out where as I am just an outsider looking in. I've updated the blog to point to your comments for more information.

Posted by Doc on June 27, 2007 at 11:21 PM PDT #

'your' should be 'you're' in the previous blog. I'm a writer - I must correct.

Posted by Doc on June 27, 2007 at 11:27 PM PDT #

I hope you read the entry as well as the comments. After all, if you write a blog entry and no one reads it, is it really there?

Posted by DocTeger on November 11, 2007 at 10:45 PM PST #

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