Language issues affect every system and every business process involved in delivering your product to the world (including documents, help files, and even code). Internationalization is the means of getting the job done faster and cheaper; it makes translation and localization easier while helping to increase quality by catching errors early in a project's development. Internationalizing your product reduces your costs significantly AND increases the speed of the localization process.
Proper planning ensures that things are done once instead of multiple times. If you are going to build your product in a number of languages, you must first determine which operations need be performed only once. This will simplify the stages that follow. Consider that dates, idioms, icons, numbers and symbols are culture-specific. Internationalization helps identify issues like these and accommodates the differences to save you money during the localization process.
Even though internationalization is a sensible approach to content development, it remains a relatively unknown process. Many organizations still mistakenly believe that reducing the per-word cost of translation is the proper budgetary approach. However, streamlining processes through proper internationalization reduces costs AND maintains quality.
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