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What is Localization?

Localization is the process of fully adapting a product for use in a different language. This process comprises much more than simply a translation of the text from one language to another; it also includes adjusting the appearance, behavior and content of the product to the cultural context and functional needs of the target audience. This must be done, of course, while maintaining the product's unique character, code integrity and the message it conveys.

For different languages, there may be specific extra challenges in localization into that language, for example: For bi-directional (BIDI) languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic, the challenge of localization also encompasses the need to enable input and output written from right to left, left to right and any language combination involving both directions; For Japanese, one must note that the language has no spaces between words and therefore things like searching within text and breaking sentences on several lines becomes problematic; For other languages one must make sure that all the different accents, tildes and umlauts are displayed properly with the correct code pages and so forth.

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