What does internationalisation involve?

What does internationalisation involve?

The terms localisation, globalisation and internationalisation are often used within language services. Let’s start by describing internationalisation, a term used within many different fields and that can have many different meanings depending on the context.

Published 4/27/2015


In brief, internationalisation is usually described as the preparations that make it possible to adapt a product for different markets by ensuring the right conditions are in place for products and processes in specific markets.


Within the language industry, internationalisation is sometimes referred to as I18N (the word “internationalisation” is made up of the letters I and N with 18 letters in between). The term world-readiness is also used.

Examples of internationalisation

Internationalisation involves preparing materials in all the ways needed in order to make it possible to translate and adapt the product for all the specific local markets and target groups identified.

Here are a few concrete examples of internationalisation:

  • Ensure that software can communicate with operating systems in different languages and can work with different character sets and writing directions.
  • Write the software so that it can use local date and week formats, currencies, time formats and sorting orders.
  • Check that the layout, colours and choice of illustrations are universally appropriate and do not require localisation.
  • Prepare for dealing with different character sets and languages.

Although internationalisation may be more common when talking about software, these are still relevant questions as soon as a product or text is developed for more than one market.

Further reading

Look out for our forthcoming posts on localisation and globalisation.

Not sure where to start? Semantix has extensive experience of adaptation for international markets – we can help you to identify what needs to be done.

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