Internationalization strategies

Subject: Internationalization strategies
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2001 13:17:22 -0500

We are beginning to look at what it will take to internationalize our
software application, and I have a couple of questions I hope someone out
there in Techwhirler land can help me with.

I am heading the task force within the development group to identify the
issues we'll have to face. It's more the big picture items I'm grappling
with, not the details at this point. I am not so much worried about the
translation part as much as I am about the changes that will be required in
the code. We need to make a recommendation to our "board" in a few weeks,
and I want to ensure that the strategies we're considering are the best

What is the best order in which to approach things? What are the best
techniques for extracting text strings from the program logic? What is
reasonable to assume for the time it will take? Are there guidelines for
translation costs - per word, I assume. Are they different for documentation
than for code? What techniques can we adapt to test the results? What's the
best time to bring in a consultant - or should we just work with whoever we
pick as a translation vendor? When's the best time to think about a vendor?

We are aware of a lot of the issues - date and time formats, currency
issues, etc - and we have a basis for making those decisions, but it's the
whole idea of internationalization that I'm concerned about.

If any of you have been involved in this sort of effort, I'd appreciate
hearing from you.


John Garison
Documentation Manager
150 Baker Avenue Extension
Concord, MA 01742

Voice: 978-402-2907
Fax: 978-318-9376


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