Looking into localization for the first time can be terrifying, if only due to all of the abbreviations. But the meaning of i18n, L10n, G11N, and T9N, are all very easy to understand.
Here is what they all stand for!
i18n stands for “internationalization”. Why? Because there are 18 characters between the first “i” and “n” in “internationalization”. Look at it as a sort of shortcut.
Software internationalization is all about preparing your software for localization, mostly in terms of code. This is necessary not only for localizing your software in the first place but also because bad internationalization is going to result in a broken website or app.
To be more specific, a broken user interface after localization is one of the most common localization issues due to bad internationalization.
L10n refers to “localization”. Similarly to the meaning of i18n, L10n stands for the letters between the “L” and “n” in “localization”.
Localizing your product and/or content is all about making it more appealing to a specific locale. Hence the name, local-ization.
Localization typically includes adapting:
- Date/time formats
And other types of content, depending on exactly what you want to localize.
T9N stands for “Translation”. 9 is about the number of characters between the “T and “n” in “Translation”.
Translation is a part of localization. As you probably already know, translation is all about taking a word or sentence and making it understandable in another language. Ideally, you want to retain as much of the original meaning as possible.
However, do keep in mind that there are also times where no translation, can actually be the best translation. For example, the Japanese use honorifics after addressing someone to show respect, adoration, or the lack of those.
Thus, if you are translating something from Japanese to another language, it sometimes makes sense to keep the honorifics for the viewer to get a better understanding of what’s going on.
And so it is that while translation seems like an easy concept, the execution has its own set of challenges, depending on the language.
G11N is an abbreviation for “Globalization”. As the name suggests, G11N stands for the 11 characters between the “G” and “n” in “globalization”.
Globalization is the process of preparing a product or service for global expansion. And in it, you’ll also find internationalization, localization, as well as translation, which is a part of localization.
Thus, globalization involves pretty much every step that you are required to follow in internationalization and localization, with everything that proper business practices involve. We are referring to:
- Legal matters (Taxation, local laws, etc)
- Culture aspects
Etc. So, localization, and, in turn, globalization, are definitely far from easy to implement. But the numbers show that the effort is going to be worth it, to say the least!
To wrap this up, pretty much all of the abbreviations refer to the number of letters that each word contains, be it localization (L10n), internationalization (i18n), globalization (G11N), or translation (T9N).
As for the processes:
- Globalization (G11N): Encapsulates all of the processes of going global, meaning internationalization, localization, and translation. Furthermore, don’t forget legal and company-related preparations.
- Internationalization (i18n): In terms of software, it’s all about preparing your app and/or website for localization. At the end of the day, you have to make sure that you can localize without breaking anything.
- Localization (L10n): After internationalization is completed, you are ready to start localizing your content, meaning that you’ll have to make it more appealing for a locale.
- Translation (T9N): Translation is one of the most essential steps of localization. It’s all about expressing a word or sentence from one language to another, preferably while maintaining as much of the original meaning as possible.