Arabic internationalization (I18n) can be defined as the process of enabling back-end technologies to function or support the Arabic language and the locales in which it is used. Localization, on the other hand, deals primarily with the front-end or linguistic and cosmetic aspects of an Arabic-language software application or website, including locale-specific content, cultural correctness, translations and design.
Some of the reasons for internationalizing are to ensure your Arabic-language application or website:
- Supports non-English characters and the bidirectional (right-to-left) writing system used in Arabic.
- Sorts based on Arabic language rules.
- Allows the externalization of all translatable text strings (i.e., separating text from code).
- Handles the different address, time, date, and numerical formats used in Arabic.
The process of Arabic internationalization may include the following four steps:
1) Discovery: Includes the preparation of an Arabic internationalization kit and an analysis of the current internationalization readiness of the source website or software application.
2) Assessment: Includes review and analysis of the following:
- Source architecture and source code of a website or software application.
- Global marketing plans and requirements.
- Design, development and build processes.
- Current I18N and localization strategies.
3) Implementation: Includes the following:
- Externalizing text strings for ease of localization.
- Resolving any currency, time, date, or numbers issues.
- Enabling double-byte characters or bidirectional writing.
- Creating an I18n-friendly build methodology.
- Preparing an I18n test plan.
- Preparing a localization kit.
- Carrying out training on I18n.
- Introduction of I18n tools and any required tool training.
4) Testing: Includes client-driven I18n and DBCS-enablement testing, bug reporting/fixing and regression testing.
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