Introduction to Software Globalization and Localization

More and more the world is proving to be a smaller place. When you publish your Internet site, you are likely to have visitors from all over the world and not only your country. The same goes with your client applications, users might be spread from testers in Holland, developers in India, support center in Egypt and audience in China. You have to be sensitive to the different needs and requirements for each culture.

For example

  • Decimal Separator: In Germany the decimal separator is “,” and the thousand separator is a “.”. So this is 12.890, twelve thousand, eight hundred and ninety and not twelve point eight nine.
  • Calendar: Not all the world use Gregorian months. The Hijri Calendar is the official calendar in Saudi Arabia and they use the UmAlQura variation.
  • Even the digits are not the same in all cultures and languages, 1, 2, 3 .. is not the only way to count.

In the coming posts we will concentrate on different aspects of software globalization, localization and localizability, across a number of different technologies, like .NET Framework, Silverlight, TFS, Windows mobile development … etc.

So what is Software Globalization?

Do you really need to read a definition? There are so many references.. but I’ll say it in simple form. Globalization doesn’t have to do with the language of your application, but rather users from different locales can use your application smoothly. For example, display the date as they prefer, format the numbers as they see proper.. etc

… What is Software Localization?

Is it translation or more than simply changing the words into other language? Some people argue it more than translation and I won’t argue with them… it’s easier that way ;)

… What is Software Localizability?

This is interesting, this means making sure your application can be localized, some people preferred to put it under globalization, but again, I won’t argue for or against it ;)

Enough talking and definitions, we promise some more code and real life examples, or simply something interesting to share.

Finally, in addition to this blog our team also started with some Channel 9 videos about Globalization topics, WR Series: Introduction to developing World Ready ApplicationsWR Series: Data Presentation and recently WR Series: Language Enablement We are recording more session, so please check back later and we will keep you updated.