Language localisation

Language localisation [The spelling "localisation", a variant of "localization", is the preferred spelling in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.] is the process of translating a product into different languages (see language translation) or adapting a language for a specific country or region. This article focuses on the latter.Many languages, especially world languages with a large number of native speakers, have spread geographically and are nowadays used in many countries and regions. Thus, different national varieties of these languages have evolved. Linguistic differences include pronunciation, spelling conventions and grammatical patterns. It is important for companies to take such differences into account, for example, when creating websites for specific regional markets.


English language localisation

The two largest countries (in population) where English is spoken natively are the United States and the United Kingdom. There are numerous differences between American English and British English—spelling conventions ("color", "center", "program", "localization" vs "colour", "centre", "programme", "localisation"), pronunciation, words with different meanings, vocabulary and slightly different grammar patterns particularly in the use of tenses. Localisation in this context usually refers to creating country-specific websites or publishing different editions of a book. For example, it is very common for books by British authors to be edited for the U.S. market. U.S. editions are often co-published in Canada, while UK editions are often co-published in Australia. English language localisation has become very common for open source software, where users can choose between different locales.

Spanish language localisation

There are significant differences between the varieties of Spanish spoken in Spain and Latin America. In general, different varieties are mutually intelligible, and the spelling has been standardised by the Real Academia Española. However, there are variations in pronunciation and word usage. Argentinian Spanish (es-AR) and Mexican Spanish (es-MX) are typical representatives of Latin American varieties of Spanish among neighbor countries.

Portuguese language localisation

The differences between Portuguese from Portugal (called European Portuguese) and Brazilian Portuguese include pronunciation, spelling conventions, grammar and usage. Compared with Spanish and English varieties, the differences are much larger. Books from Brazilian authors like Paulo Coelho are heavily edited for the Portuguese market.Fact|date=February 2007

Chinese language localisation

Chinese encompasses a large number of dialects. The standard dialect (Mandarin), which is promoted by the Chinese government and the government of Taiwan, is now universally used in publications and on websites. However, there are two different character systems: simplified and traditional Chinese. Simplified characters are primarily used in Mainland China, traditional characters are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

Language tags and codes

Language tags can be used to indicate different national varieties of a language. There is one primary subtag that identifies the language (e.g. "en") and an optional subtag in capital letters that specifies the national variety (e.g. "GB"). The subtags are linked with a hyphen (although in some contexts it's necessary to substitute this with an underscore [ [ List of currently supported locales by the gnu libc library.] ] ).

Language Tag and Code Examples
* English: "en-GB" (British English), "en-US" (American English), "en-CA" (Canadian English)
* Spanish: "es-ES" (Castilian Spanish, Spanish as written and spoken in Spain), "es-MX" (Mexican Spanish), "es-AR" (Argentine Spanish), "es-CO" (Colombian Spanish)
* Portuguese: "pt-PT" (European Portuguese, Portuguese as written and spoken in Portugal), "pt-BR" (Brazilian Portuguese)
* Chinese: "zh-CN" (Mainland China, simplified characters), "zh-TW" (Taiwan, traditional characters), "zh-HK" (Hong Kong, traditional characters)

Language codes specified in ISO 639-2 use a three-letter nomenclature to identify each language, such as eng for English, or tvl for Tuvalu. However, these are not valid as language tags if the language also has two-letter code in ISO 639-1.

Notes and references

See also

* Variety (linguistics)
* Internationalisation and localization
* American and British English differences
* Spanish dialects and varieties
* Portuguese orthography

External links

* [ Library of Congress List of ISO 639-2 (alpha 3) Language Codes]
* [ Globalization and Localization Association (GALA)]
* [ Developing Tips: Language tags]
* [ W3C: Internationalization - Language tags in HTML and XML]
* [ Localization World Conference]
* [ Localisation Research Centre]
* [ Mozilla Localization Project]
* [ Ranking of Top 20 Language Service Providers]
* [ 14 Ideas for Better Game Localization] - tips and ideas on how to improve the localization process for video games
* [ Localization definition]

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