Software Globalization Industry Terms

The software globalization industry, stemming from the blend of technical and lingual properties, is full of abbreviations, confusing terms, combinations of two or more words (portmanteau), and software engineering-type terms. We are here to help. Below is a list of software globalization industry terms, and their definitions.

Lingoport, a full-service internationalization consulting and i18n tools provider, is committed to create aind compile one of the industry’s most complete G11n terms and definitions page. Please note that we just recently started this initiative, so this page is work-in-progress. Check back frequently as we will be updating this list weekly. Also, we’d like to invite you to submit to us any corrections and missing terms and definitions that we haven’t included yet. Please send them to our content manager Mike at  @ mblack (at)

Table of Contents



AgileA software development process allowing for development in short sprints resulting in more frequent product releases. Read about Agile challenges for localization
ASCIIThe American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A character encoding scheme based on the ordering of the English alphabet to represent text for devices that use text.


Bidirectional text (BiDi)Text involving both left-to-right and right-to-left text directions. Read about the challenges of bidirectionalization.


Character encodingA system that pairs each character with its encoded version.
Character setA grouping of numbers and letters typically associated with an alphabet.
Code branchingWith any application consisting of a large number of files, it is necessary for development teams to split up on which source files they work on
CrowdsourcingThe act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call.
CulturalizationThe process of culturally adapting a brand or product to a new market. Learn about product & brand culuralization


Embedded stringA message within software code that will be seen by the user
EncodingThe process of converting into a coded form


Globalization (g11n)Sometimes abbreviated as g11n, in this software context includes internationalization and localization.
GlobalyzerLingoport’s software for identifying internationalization issues and assisting in fixing them. It is built to scale to enterprise use as internationalization is rarely performed by any one individual within an organization. It consists of a server, used to centralize internationalization “rules and behaviors”, desktop software for analyzing and working with source code, and a command line tool for integrating with build processes and automating internationalization in ongoing development. Globalyzer is used in Lingoport’s consulting work and licensed for use by globally-focused companies such as Yahoo! and Cisco.


Hard-CodingRefers to the software development practice of embedding data directly into the source code or fixed formatting. Hard-coding requires the program’s source code to be changed any time the desired data changes, when it might be more convenient for the end user to change the detail by some means outside the program


IdeogramsA graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept. Read Keyboards and Internationalization
Input Method Editor (IME)A method used to input characters for languages with thousands of possible ideograms, notably Chinese, Japanese and Korean. It involves inputting sequences of key phrases to select a specific character or series or characters
Internationalization (i18n)Often abbreviated as i18n (i – then 18 letters – n), is the process of making a single code base locale-independent so the application can be easily localized to other locales with no source code changes.
Internationalization toolAn executable program used to help development teams find and internationalize code quickly and efficiently. See, Globalyzer


Java internationalizationSee Javascript Internationalization – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


Legacy codeData already existing within an application that needs to be reviewed and reworked for internationalization.
LocaleA geopolitical place or area, relevant in the context of configuring an operating system or application program with its character sets, date and time formats, currency formats, etc.
Localization (L10n)Often abbreviated as L10n, is the translation and application of locale specific terms and style so that a product is locale-specific – that is, it looks and reads like a product native to the market it is being sold in. Localization is typically priced based on locale requirements, word counts and other related presentation engineering and testing tasks that may be necessary after internationalization has occurred.
Localization of softwareThe process of adapting software so that it may fit requirements of a specific locale.


Machine Translation (MT)The use of computer software that utilizes terminology glossaries and advanced grammatical to translate text.


Pseudo-LocalizationA software testing method used to test internationalization aspects of software by replacing localizable text to force the application to deal with a new interface.


Quality Assurance (QA): The process of making certain of product excellence.


SimshipSimultaneous shipment of a product (typically domestic and foreign releases).
Social GamesA type of online game distributed primarily through social networks. They are characterized by community, built around the social network, and the ability to drop in and out of games.
Software internationalizationThe process of adapting a code base so that it may comply with multiple locale requirements.
Static analysisThe analysis of computer software that is performed without executing programs build from that software.
StringA message that will be seen by the user


Translation (xl8, t9n)The process of expressing a set of words from one language to another


UnicodeA computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems. For more, see Unicode on Wikipedia
UTF-16A character encoding for Unicode that uses either one or two 16-bid code units per code point
UTF-8A character encoding for Unicode that can represent every character in the Unicode character set. It is also backwards compatable with ASCII


WaterfallA software development process in which progress flows downward through phases starting with conception and finishing with testing and production


XLIFF(XML Localization Interchange File Format): An XML-based format for exchanging localization data, specifying elements and attributes.

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