Internationalisation (internationalization)

Internationalisation (abbreviated i18n) is basically something done to a product to make localisation of that product or using that product possible.

Various sources describe it as

  • "the process of designing a product (i.e., a good or a service) so that it can be localized without major engineering changes." (LINFO)
  • "the process of developing software products which core design allows them to be deployed in various locales. Internationalization provides for the cultural and linguistic variations of the targeted locale. Locales may vary in currency; accents, character byte format, character sets, punctuation, and spelling; datetime format; sorting order; textural orientation; etc." (
  • "The support for monetary values, time and date for countries around the world. It also embraces the use of native characters and symbols in the different alphabets."
  • "...the process of planning and implementing products and services so that they can easily be adapted to specific local languages and cultures, a process called localization. The internationalization process is sometimes called translation or localization enablement. Enablement can include:
    • Allowing space in user interfaces (for example, hardware labels, help pages, and online menus) for translation into languages that require more characters
    • Developing with products (such as Web editors or authoring tools) that can support international character sets (Unicode)
    • Creating print or Web site graphic images so that their text labels can be translated inexpensively
    • Using written examples that have global meaning
    • For software, ensuring data space so that messages can be translated from languages with single-byte character codes (such as English) into languages requiring multiple-byte character? codes (such as Japanese Kanji)" (


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