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Definition

internationalization (I18N)

Internationalization (sometimes shortened to "I18N , meaning "I - eighteen letters -N") is the process of planning and implementing products and services so that they can easily be adapted to specific local languages and cultures, a process called localization . The internationalization process is sometimes called translation or localization enablement . Enablement can include:

  • Allowing space in user interfaces (for example, hardware labels, help pages, and online menus) for translation into languages that require more characters
  • Developing with products (such as Web editors or authoring tools) that can support international character sets ( Unicode )
  • Creating print or Web site graphic images so that their text labels can be translated inexpensively
  • Using written examples that have global meaning
  • For software, 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 (such as Japanese Kanji)
This was last updated in March 2011
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