Localization (l10n) is the process of adapting a software user interface to a specific culture.

The following are common factors to consider:

  • language
  • unit of measure (e.g., kilometers in Europe, miles in U.S.)
  • text direction (e.g., European languages are left-to-right, Arabic right-to-left)
  • capitalization in Latin script (e.g., English uses capitals for weekdays, Spanish uses lowercase)
  • adaptation of idioms (e.g., "raining cats and dogs" makes no sense when translated literally)
  • use of register (e.g., in Japanese respectful speech differs exceptionally from casual speech)
  • number format (e.g., 10 000,00 in Germany vs. 10,000.00 in the U.S.)
  • date format
  • currency
  • cultural references
  • paper size
  • color psychology
  • compliance with local laws
  • local holidays
  • personal names

The complementary practice, of designing a system so it is easy to localize, is called Internationalization.

See also