Localization QA: “L10n” versus “i18n”

Translation: Simple Science? Or Complex Art?

  • PROBLEM:You need to publish a technical specification or advertisement
    1. from 2000 characters in German
    2. to 1200 characters in English then
    3. to 500 characters in Japanese, Chinese or Korean
  • Then copy or “re-use” this information
    1. in Powerpoint presentation to a large audience,
    2. Web Page for many browsers and languages
    3. and in Software Error messages that give context sensitive help.
  • These are solved by the Art *and* Science of “Localization””L10n” and “Internationalization” “i18n”

TranslateInterpret i18nInternationlization

  • Localization QA and Services verify that text fits in dialog boxes, flows properly around images and tables, and sound and read naturally to the native speaker. All of this is usually between two (2) languages, often with fixed text, pages and dialogs for each language.
  • Internationalization does the same for more languages: It is the development and QA of software that is easily “scalable” – to make is more efficient for the Project Manager to schedule added new language features, hopefully in a :
    • A “write once” yet “use for many languages” approach, for example:
      • English in Release 1,0
      • Spanish and Euro languages by Version 2 or 3, and
      • Double Byte languages like Chinese, Thai, Arabic or Hebrew
    • … each with special attention to culturally sensitive colors, formal conventions, and respect
  • This makes a mature, literate native professional team, indispensable. Anything less can cause near-fatal embarrassment to a technical, sales or public relations campaign
Some suspect that the abbreviations “L10n” and “I8N”, used to denote the evisceration of their parent words, came from a Jargon / Status-Envy war for status alongside the gold medal Obfuscators of C and and Perl