Glossary of Web Site Localization Terminology

See also our glossaries on Globalization , Machine Translation , Translation , and Translation Memory .

Byte . An 8-bit computer word. Known as an "octet" in many European languages and especially in the context of characters being sent over a communications channel.

Character Set . The characters (and their byte codes) available in an application program. The most common is the ASCII (or ANSI) set of 128 characters, in which CAPITAL LETTER A has the code 41 in hexadecimal, 065 decimal, and 01000001 binary. Various localized character sets are ISO 8859-1 or Latin-1, the most common encoding of characters for Western European languages. ISO 8859-1 through 8859-15 are 256 character sets. The first 128 characters are the same as ASCII, and the upper 128 encode Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, etc. characters.

Code pages . A term used by operating systems to describe the character set encoding. For example, the most common code page is Windows CP1252, which is the same as ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1) plus a few characters.

Encoding. Another term for a character set, which is a character encoding, or mapping between the abstract concept of the character (CAPITAL LETTER A) and a computer code of bits or bytes.

Font . The glyphs or shapes that render a character on the computer screen or on a printer. The mapping between character codes and glyphs may be different on different operating systems.

Input Method Editor . An IME may be as simple as a localized keyboard, which emits the appropriate character codes for the local language when the keys are struck. It may be a software program that works with a standard keyboard and mouse to select character codes from an onscreen display. It may generate a character code only after a sequence of keys has been struck. More sophisticated input methods include graphic pads that recognize a character drawn with a stylus, and speech recognition systems.

Language Kit . An optional addition to an operating system that enables its keyboard and application programs to work in the character sets appropriate to the language, and to render its fonts. Note that text files produced with a Greek language kit will generally produce nonsense if read on a machine with a Russian or Hebrew language kit. Unicode promises to solve this problem.

Locale . A combination of a language and a particular geographic region (usually a country) where the culture is distinctive enough to merit the use of different terminogy and web page design practices. Locales usually have character sets suited to representing their scripts, and custom fonts for their character set.

Localization L10N Beyond simple translation, localization means that the web page has been adapted to the culture and practices of a specific locale.

MLV . Multi-Language Vendor. A localization vendor who specializes in multiple languages and locales.

Simship . Simultaneous release of different localized versions. In the past, the English-language product was usually finished before localization began. In the days of the web, pages on web sites need to be appear at the same time in all languages supported.

SLV . Single-Language Vendor A localization vendor who specializes in one language and usually one locale.

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