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Explain about Internationalization and Localization

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  • Last Updated : 23 Aug, 2022
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In this article, we will learn about internationalization and localization, and understand the difference between the two terms in detail.

Internationalization (i18n):

Internationalization, as a concept, refers to the design and development of a service or a product (of any kind), such that it can be localized to any region, culture, or target audience. It is written as “i18n”, where “i” and “n” are the first and last letters of the word “internationalization”, and 18 stands for the 18 characters present between the word “i” and “n”.

Internationalization is a way to allow software or service to be localized easily to a target audience. They entail the best practices and design patterns that one should follow in order to allow better localization and stand-alone utility. 

Internationalization includes:

  • Make your software or service modular or locale-specific, so that there would be minimal to no change when the localization changes, or basically, the target audience changes. This may include the language or timezone changes
  • Removing static code from your software, so that you do not have to update the code, again and again, depending on the target audience
  • Using Unicord standard in your code will ensure that the encoding of text and characters remain consistent throughout your source code

Scope of testing in Internationalization:

  • Multi-language support
  • Multi-regional support, i.e. support for multiple locations and regions
  • Support for multiple timezones and date-time formats
  • Support for multiple number formats

Advantages of Internationalization testing:

  • Increased market space for the product
  • Higher level compatibility with almost any location or region
  • Generation of higher revenues due to increased audience worldwide

Disadvantages of Internationalization testing:

  • Increased product expenditure for broadening out to different markets
  • Higher risk of running into non-legislative tax compliance in different regions
  • Increase in the rate of product changes because of fluctuations in regional trends and demands

Example of Internationalization testing: Suppose a product needs to be developed and designed for a global audience, then the product should support multiple languages, timezones, currencies, number formats, etc to accommodate the wide variety of audiences.

Localization (l10n):

Localization refers to making a product or a service more specialized and appealing in a particular locale, region, or marketplace. It is written as “l10n”, where “l” and “n” are the first and last letters of the word “localization”, and 10 stands for the 10 characters present between the word “l” and “n”.

Localization ensures that the product or service is made especially for a target audience, and is not intended for the market in general. 

Localization includes:

  • Tailoring the source code of the software to a target marketplace
  • Changing currencies, timezone, and language to the particular region
  • Researching the target marketplace and making changes to the source code as per the needs and requirements

Scope of Testing in Localization:

  • Specific language translation
  • Specific timezone and date-time format compatible
  • Specific location and regional support
  • Specific number format support

Advantages of Localization testing:

  • Improved customer support and experience for the intended market
  • Improved regional growth of the product
  • Improved product growth and brand development 

Disadvantages of Localization testing:

  • Single-sided product development
  • Heavy labor is required to expand to other regions

Example of Localization testing: Suppose a product needs to be developed for a European country, then the product should support that European country’s timezone, an English UK keyboard, country’s currency standards, and everything related to that particular country.

Difference between Internationalization and Localization:

Internationalization (i18n)

Localization (l10n)

It is a way of designing a product or a service that can be localized to any region or marketplace with minimal changes in content or the source code It is a way of designing a product or a service that is especially localized to only a particular kind of target audience or marketplace
With internationalization, a product or a service can easily be localized to any marketplace internationalization With localization, you cannot easily localize a product or a service to another marketplace
It results in a generic and adaptable product It results in a highly specific and regionally localized product
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