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Internationalization used in a marketing context refers to expanding your business to engage the online global market, which involves designing and developing computer software that has an international reach. In order for your business to address itself to global markets, regional boundaries on your online presentation must be removed.
Internationalization is often referred to as “i18n” – 18 being the number of letters between I and n. It requires adapting software to an infrastructure of internationalization through coding. It is essential to separate regional differentiations from code, so that customer input and audience targeting is possible. Internationalization software allows for regional differences without engineering changes.
Globalization is a term used for the implementation of internationalization and localization. Internationalization of software provides the opportunity for dynamic content by supporting separate features that then can be implemented by localization. Localization is a second, different step in this process.
Localization software allows for geographical segmentation by incorporating regionally targeted elements. Variable components according to geographical regions are many; NLS or native language support, paper sizes, phone number formats, technical requirements, address format differences, currency, voltage, measuring systems, ethnicity, holidays, regulations, taxes, date, time, calendar, and non-English characters. In this way websites, applications, software, and shopping sites are globally accessible.
Translation is the most prominent feature in internationalization, and it is not simple. It is more complicated than finding the appropriate words to convert a statement from one language to another. There are aspects of the translation process that often require a native speaker to convey. These include the use of formal vs. informal language, colloquialisms, and slang. The subtleties of the local linguistic culture matter. One real world example of this is the occasional use of American swear words, which do not hold the same power, in Danish advertising. While this may appeal to younger audiences in Denmark, it would be inappropriate for an American audience (it is also rather shocking to American tourists).
By adapting Internationalization in your business, you enable it to become a global entity, which, depending upon your product or service, can be highly desirable in today’s online, increasingly global market.
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