Thursday, October 23, 2008

What is the difference between globalization and localization?

I am talking about their meanings in the software business.

Localization (L10n) - You customize and translate the software for a specific area or a specific market. Localization may include customized code changes for supporting specific local requirements. A software sometimes needs to be localized for entering into the local market and complying with the local legislation. Localization does not require any major software re-architecture. The result of localization is to have a local version of the software that can address the specific needs of a locale that is not the same locale which the original software was developed under. Localization increases the maintenance costs of the software. When a new feature is added or the existing functionality is modified, the localization may become broken and changes will need to be done to local version.

Globalization (G11n) - Globalization is about the process of designing and developing the software with the global market in mind and make the software can be configured to support the different country's requirements. The goal of globalization is to eliminate customization or localization if possible. Globalization may require a software re-architecture. The cost of globalization is that the software itself may become more complex and the overhead added to the software will impacts all the customers even those who do not use any global feature.
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