In order to understand internationalization more completely, it’s essential to understand the concept of localization (or l10n). Internationalization refers to the overarching ideology and mother-lode of technical features that enable us to make sites ready for a wide variety of audiences.
Localization, on the other hand, is the actual adaptation of those sites to meet the language, cultural, and other requirements of a specific target market. Internationalization, which is often written shorthand as i18n (first letter, 18 letters, last letter), refers to the practice of designing and developing a product, application, or document in a way that makes it easily localized for target audiences that vary in culture, region, or language.
While internationalization gives us the technology and tools to target a given audience, it’s the act of localization that makes the site accessible to that audience.
This is the tricky part, because while some aspects of localization—such as producing a site in languages other than English—involve an understanding of proper markup, the real challenge of localization is understanding the cultural needs of the audience you’re attempting to reach. Here in Tucson, Arizona, there are a large number of Mexican-Americans.
This community is unique in its language, cultural references, and values as expressed in art, music, religion, and ritual. Subgroups within the main demographic reflect even more specific and complex influences based on the economic status, education, and access to resources of the individuals that make up these subgroups.
The world of this demographic is very different than my own—despite our proximity geographically. There are concerns of language—and I don’t mean just translating copy into Spanish! It will be critical that I use the regionalisms, terms, and cultural references specific to the Tucson area, which are going to be different than those of other U.S. cities close to the Mexican border, such as El Paso, which has its own regional and economic influences.
Article directories host a number of varied articles, though some directories narrow their niche by only hosting content that is of a specific topic, limiting ezine article submissions. Other directories are more general, and behave more like a database system in which publishers and writers participate—typically at a monthly or yearly premium. Yet other directories conjure up the feeling of a market, like eBay, and update users in real time (on article statistics, link statistics, usage and download statistics, keyword statistics, etc.).