What is the difference between website internalization and localization?

Internalization is a set of best practices. In other words, it is a process that makes localization possible or easier, depending on your content and software. On the other end, localization is a step further from typical translation because it relates to the audience in a more genuine, insightful way than machine translation.

What is an example of website internalization? A basic illustration is adding a multilingual plugin. In brief, you may need to hire developers who will write code to change the website appearance for the users. Of course, the goal is to display different versions of your websites in several languages, depending on a visitor’s location. and for this purpose. To make sure that the content  is clear for clients, you will need to deal with website localization services. They will not only translate the materials but also make sure that the ideas you want to convey mean exactly the same in another culture. In the article we will speak about both internalization and localization and they are used in business growth.

No Code Will Be Harmed During The Transition

A common misconception is that the website code is at risk of being deleted or changed. But in reality, the inner workings of the original website remain the same. The developers only add files that make displaying your website in a different language possible with no functionality loss or harm.

The code is a machine language. So, it does not change even when you translate the user interface (UI).

You can think of localization as extra files that contain all the text different users see on their PCs and devices. Sometimes, this is what happens. But some website localization services also include:

  • in-game text proofreading
  • localized tutorials and courses
  • multilingual promotional videos
  • translations of guides and support materials

All the above services do not alter how your website and media content work. At the same time, the professionals do not just translate the text either. They make sure everything runs smoothly for a satisfying user experience (UE).

Website Internalization Saves Money

One could translate every single page by hand. It is possible. Yet pricey and time-consuming.

The internalization process cuts expenses because it takes the hard-coded strings and only changes the text they display on the UI.

With this in mind, adding more languages is always an option. Online businesses can request more localization activities as their earnings increase. Or as soon as they target a new market after striking great logistics deals.

Shortening the amount of time reduces downtime, which impacts sales and maintenance. And as an investment, the localization effort is lower or minimal. Instead of getting only one or two languages by spending time and energy, one can quickly turn the website into dozens or hundreds of languages.

Adapting Is More Than Products And Services

Introducing internalization in websites and applications requires the installation of libraries, dependencies, and packages. In simple terms, this means setting your platform so that the developers can:

  • enhance component functionality by using specific functions and call-backs
  • ensure functionality when short translations are not available
  • make language selection easy
  • optimize how the product or page looks (For example, think of languages that display text with a different orientation, format, or characters)
  • provide extra pages and redirection for content that has not yet been localized
  • run tests

Localization focuses on getting the linguistic nuances right. Of course, merely translating your content is not enough. Why? Because the brand may look not professional or might not  convey the original message. In other words, localizing is about communication and clarity.

Both processes are essential for the best results. But while you can have each of them without the other, only when the localization follows internalization do we have a gratifying UI and UE. As a result, the visitors are happier, and the sales increase.

The Limits Of Localization

Some business owners only hire localization experts to save their budget. But they also give up some internalization benefits like:

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  • Better customer analysis. By creating more versions of your websites, you can learn more about your customer base and receive high-quality feedback.
  • Customer service automation. When dealing with a plethora of customers from all over the world, prompt customer care is vital. For example, if you only localize the Contact Us page, you might miss sales you would otherwise get because of a simple customer support widget.
  • Facilitating production and marketing efforts. The internalization process lets you use your previous multimedia content, creating value for international customers.
  • Fewer misunderstandings. Sometimes, automating some tasks prevents costly mistakes. Especially when it comes down to the local date and time formats.

Supporting many languages and writing conventions means designing how the website or app looks. In brief, the developer team writes software code that helps you connect more to international customers.

Internalization is not only about content adaptation and aesthetics. In some instances, this process is necessary to comply with foreign trade laws and regulations.

I18N VS L10N

The acronyms I18N and L10N are often used to describe professional services. In detail, L10N refers to localization. Instead, I18N includes software internationalization.

When going globally, choosing the correct service makes the difference in terms of results. Designing and developing your website to support local preferences show greater attention to international customers.

Localization services usually explore local motives and triggers. One can benefit from different localization services to enhance or refine your marketing strategies.

Usually, I18N services include L10N. And website maintenance and optimization do not need to redo the overall structure. Depending on the new features, only minor changes may be necessary.

Getting a transparent, detailed quote is thus imperative. It will ensure more profit and sales growth while saving the budget and implementing only the necessary steps.

The Bottom Line

The difference between website internalization and localization relies on the overall approach. If the business owners want to offer their unique products and services to a larger audience, internalization is the way to go. On the other hand, if the goal is also to focus on the foreign market opportunity, they will need to hire localization experts.

Both services aim to provide you with tools and designs specifically created to meet your goal. But deciding on either one will have a different impact on your budget and audience. 

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