What are Globalization, Internationalization and Global Readiness?

These are three terms for the same basic concept: software should always be designed in a language-neutral fashion, using techniques that are becoming more and more main-stream in the software industry. Separating business logic and user-visible text is the first step; but other elements such as date format, mailing addresses, fonts, units of measure, layout of GUI’s, and sorting order need to be customizable without changing the source code (i.e. the business logic).   Globalization does not make a product multi-lingual, it makes it language-neutral; that is why it can also be referred to as global readiness.

An important aspect of globalization is that it can and should be performed by the product development team, and does not require particular language skills. It does help if developers are aware that their strings will be translated, so they make an effort to use simple declarative, unambiguous language that is less likely to cause translation problems.

What is Localization?

Once a product is language-neutral (i.e. global ready), the next step is to adapt it for one or more locales, or “localize” it.  Localization includes translating text to the language used in the target locale; but it also involves adapting the other elements mentioned above, such as date formats and sorting.

Localization takes into account local practices and culture, providing a product which is comfortable to use in the target country.

What’s the Difference Between Localization, Globalization, and Translation?

Translation is involved in most aspects of localization. Accuracy and appropriateness of translation are key to overall product quality

Globalization does not involve translation, but it prepares a product to be translated (among other things).

What is Retrofitting?

Retrofitting is an informal term for localizing a product which was not designed to be global.  It is better to design a global ready product from the start, but it is possible to modiffy the code after the fact.  We can provide consulting services to work with your team and your code to make it global ready.

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