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Localization refers to the adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural and other requirements of a specific target market; a "locale".

Although often used in terms other than document translation, localization is what Language Fusion does when we 'translate' a document. Depending upon the degree of localization the customer desires, these services may range from simple text translation to complete localization of a document or product. Complete localization is often a substantially more complex issue than simple translation and can entail customization related to:
  • Numeric, date and time formats
  • Use of currency
  • Keyboard usage
  • Collation and sorting
  • Symbols, icons and colors
  • Text and graphics containing references to objects, actions or ideas which, in a given culture, may be subject to misinterpretation or viewed as insensitive.
  • Varying legal requirements
With the proliferation of the Internet, localization is often used to refer to translating a company's web site. Unlike any other form of advertisement, a web site is unique in that it is available to everyone, everywhere. Because of this, localization often entails finding a balance between the level of localization vs. the costs and expected returns. In traditional advertisement complete localization is usually the goal. Would a company put up a billboard in Germany that included captions or referred to prices in dollars instead of euros? Of course not. But these are the decisions companies are faced with when localizing web sites. It's a matter of asking 'why' are you localizing your web site and for 'whom'. Answering these simple questions can help you determine the level of localization you require.

Language Fusion is dedicated to working with its clients to not only identify the answers to these questions, but execute all phases of the localization project.

Internationalization is the design and development of a product, application or document content that enables easy localization for target audiences that vary in culture, region, or language. Internationalization typically entails:
  • Designing and developing in a way that removes barriers to localization or international deployment. This includes such things as enabling the use of Unicode, or ensuring the proper handling of legacy character encodings where appropriate, taking care over the concatenation of strings, avoiding dependence in code of user-interface string values, etc.
  • Providing support for features that may not be used until localization occurs. For example, support for bidirectional or vertical text as well as other non-Latin typographic features.
  • Enabling code to support local, regional, language, or culturally related preferences. Examples include date and time formats, local calendars, number formats and numeral systems, sorting and presentation of lists, handling of personal names and forms of address, etc.
  • Separating localizable elements from source code or content, such that localized alternatives can be loaded or selected based on the user's international preferences as needed.
Internationalization does not necessarily include the localization of the content, application, or product into another language; it is the design and development practices which allow such a migration to take place easily in the future but which may have significant utility even if no localization ever takes place.

Internationalization significantly affects the ease of the product's localization. Retrofitting a linguistically and culturally-centered deliverable for a global market is obviously much more difficult and time-consuming than designing a deliverable with the intent of presenting it globally. Ideally, internationalization occurs as a fundamental step in the design and development process.

Language Fusion can assist you at the design phase to ensure that your website or product can easily be localized.

Language Fusion is an absolute joy to work with, and I plan on a long-term partnership engagement between our companies.
- Jason Zeiber
  Zeiber Design
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