Wednesday Jun 27, 2007

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.)
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