The Differences between Internationalization, Localization and Globalization

In the language service industry, you may often encounter terms such as internationalization, localization and globalization. This article will discuss the differences between the three terms.

LISA (Localization Industry Standards Association) gives the following definitions for the three terms:

Internationalization is the process of generalizing a product so that it can handle multiple languages and cultural conventions without the need for re-design. Internationalization takes place at the level of program design and document development.

Localization involves taking a product and making it linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target locale (country/region and language) where it will be used and sold.

Globalization addresses the business issues associated with taking a product global. In the globalization of high-tech products, this involves integrating localization throughout a company, after proper internationalization and product design, as well as marketing, sales and support in the world market.

Let us take an example to better understand the differences between the three terms. If you want to globalize a website, the first step you need to do is to enable the website to deal with both English-speaking and Non-English-speaking visitors, that is, internationalizing this website background software with a multi-language architecture. The second thing to do is, localizing this website’s static or dynamic contents. So, in this regard, Globalization = Internationalization + Localization.


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