March 14, 2006

Internationalization and Localization

There are certainly a lot of issues when preparing to test the Internationalization (i18n) and/or Localization (l10n) of a system.

First, get familiar with how you plan to Internationalize and Localize your application.
  • Same Application or Different Versions?
  • Text in Resource Files? copyrightjoestrazzere
  • Using Unicode?
  • Localized In-house or by a Separate Organization? 
  • etc, etc.
Second, take a look at some of the following sites:
Then, sit down and consider your application.
Consider how it will deal with different datatypes and their localized entry/display formats:
  • Numbers
  • Dates
  • Times
  • Time Zones, and any effects of Daylight Saving Time 
  • Currencies
  • Phone Numbers
  • Addresses
  • Zip Codes / Postal Codes 
  • String Fields' Character Set
  • National Characters and Accent Marks 
  • Special Characters
  • Internet Domain Names
  • Encoding for Web Pages
Also consider such issues as:
  • Use of Abbreviations
  • Use of Color
  • Use of Icons and other Images
  • Paper Sizes (8.5 x 11 vs A4)
  • Envelope Sizes 
  • Localized Sort Order
  • Order of Given and Family Names 
  • Keyboard Types to be Used
  • International Laws and Regulations
  • Encryption Rules and Regulations
  • Copyright Laws
  • Security Expectations and Regulations 
  • Import/Export Limitations
  • Tax Issues
  • Currency Exchange/Conversion Rules
  • Holidays
And consider how you will roll out the Localized versions of your application
  • Simultaneous with the Original Version?
  • Phased Releases?
These are just a few of the many issues to think about. Depending on the type of application, you may have other concerns.