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Understanding Globalization, Localization, and Internationalization Events

Scott Abel
The Content Wrangler

All this talk about localization, globalization, and internationalization can make your head spin. So many "-ization" words and no clear way to know what each means, exactly. That is, until now.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) hopes their recent publication, Localization vs. Internationalization ( will help demystify these oft confused, misused, and abused terms.

Other useful W3C resources include:

  • Internationalizing HTML (

To better understand globalization, take a look at wikipedia. (

Standards: Internationalization Tag Set Draft Announced by W3C

The first public working draft of the W3C's Internationalization Tag Set (ITS - was announced November 22, 2005. ITS is a set of elements and attributes that supports the internationalization and localization of schemas and XML documents, an important development for content management projects that require content to be translated and localized for global audience groups.

ITS provides a clear mechanism for indicating which pieces of content are to be translated and which are not. Attributes are used by ITS to identify XML content that should or should not be translated, as well as words and phrases that should be treated as "terms" that should be used as is or defined elsewhere within the document.

ITS is designed to complement some existing content standards (e.g. XHTML, DocBook, Open Document). The ITS working group ( addressing the need for the tag set to support the increasingly popular Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). One challenge: determining how ITS data categories should be related to those in existing standards like DITA, which fulfill identical or overlapping purposes. DITA, for instance, contains an attribute to indicate translatability of text (as does ITS), but fails to provide a mechanism for indicating scope.

The ITS draft, while still in the early stages of development, addresses the following data categories:

  • translatability
  • localization information
  • terminology
  • directionality
  • and Ruby text (used typically in Asian documents)

Standards: Unicode Consortium Announces 5.0.0 beta

The Unicode Standard is a character coding system designed to support the worldwide interchange, processing, and display of the written texts of the diverse languages and technical disciplines of the modern world. In addition, it supports classical and historical texts of many written languages. (source:

The current version of the Unicode standard is 4.1.0 (, but the Unicode Consortium is currently seeking comments on the beta release of Unicode 5.0.0 ( Comments are due by January 30, 2006.

Learn more about Unicode here:

2006 Globalization, Localization, and Internationalization Events

Internationalization and Unicode Conference
March 6-9, 2006
San Francisco, CA

The three-day conference will feature a full day of tutorials followed by two days of presentations, panels and discussions. There will also be technology exhibits and demonstrations. Sessions will cover a range of topics including internationalization, globalization, the Web, security, and localization to name a few. There will be a mix of case studies, panel discussions and technical discussions geared towards beginner, intermediate and advanced practitioners.

LISA Asia Forum 2006
April 18-21, 2006
Shanghai, China

Meet and discuss how to develop the business knowledge and technical skills necessary to succeed in China's globalization, internationalization, localization and translation marketplace. Through case studies, tutorials and best practice advisory sessions, participants will learn how China can be successful in importing and exporting products, services and technologies from the West; review the tools needed to educate Chinese companies about the migration strategy from a low-cost labor and manufacturing market to one of service, expertise and quality; and what China must do to prepare itself for the inevitable price-gap change.

Localization World
May 30 - June 1, 2006
Barcelona, Spain

Localization World Barcelona 2006 will focus on the old new trend of "industry collaboration." We welcome perspectives from the past and the present - the visionaries with the bright ideas. We welcome the practitioners who implement the ideas and work on the nitty-gritty. And we seek the dialogue, or rather the debates between the "uniforms" and the "uniques," on questions whether size really matters, if company borders no longer exist, and how to go forward.

Book Review: Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies

The World Wide Web allows us to reach beyond geographic borders in an attempt to access untapped global markets. But reaching for an audience, and actually communicating with them in meaningful ways, involves much more than translating content into different languages.

In Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies (, John Yunker explores the globalization landscape and the role Web-based content plays when we attempt to reach beyond our native marketplaces. He also touches on the strategies involved in preparing for a globalization project, strategizing ways to effectively design, develop and manage global content for the web and beyond. Issues beyond the web include: telephone support, email support, payment services, marketing, customer relationship management, and training, with real world examples provided, where appropriate.

Blogs: Internationalization, Globalization, Localization, and Translation

  • Common Sense Advisory: Global WatchTower Blog - - news, commentary and event information
  • ByteLevel Research - - the official blog of web globalization guru John Yunker
  • Found in Translation - - Toronto's Ryan Coleman on Translation
  • MultiLingual Communication Blog - - news and views on language and technology
  • Translation Geek Daily News - - the name says it all

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