Once you are finished with this piece of content, you will have a better understanding of how this discipline can help you achieve better results with your app.

Common terms 🔗


The GILT acronym means globalization, internationalization, localization and translation. All of those activities help app owners engage in when they expand beyond borders. But what are the differences between those four activities? Let’s find out.

Globalization – g11n 🔗

The term globalization is rather business-oriented and refers to making a closer connection with the global community of customers.

How to understand globalization from the perspective of a developer:

Productivity app developers want to increase the number of users. He may want to customize his app to meet local preferences – from language to culture. Globalization is made by internationalization and localization.

Mobile App Translation

Internationalization – i18n 🔗

Internationalization is a sort of strategy to prepare your app for expansion into other countries. Of course, there are apps where i18n does not make sense. For example, an app which works only for a particular geographically targeted audience. A clear sample could be an app to check out the results of national sports competitions. Internationalization makes sense when you build an app with a potential of growth in other countries, i.e. productivity app, music app, and so on.

How to understand internationalization from the perspective of a developer:

  • User interface should provide space for different lengths of characters or text orientation (right-to-left, left-to-right)
  • Data encoding (ASCII or UNICODE?)
  • Integration with local services
  • Hardware & SW requirements – compatibility issues, hardware availability…

Localization – l10n 🔗

Localization helps to align your app with the local culture. The most known localization sample is when you set up your new phone, for example. You set up timezone, currency, language, the start of the workweek and many other things. Of course, smart UX is when you do not have to do so, and localization is made for you automatically.

How to understand localization from the perspective of a developer:

  • Make your app useful for people from different cultures. Of course, you need to translate the app, but you also need to keep in mind other culture-related settings to make the app a viable option for your users.
  • For example, if they can not set up proper workweek settings, your calendar app will not be useful at all in many countries. In some cultures, white colour represents innocence while in other culture, it represents death. For that reason, localization experts are here to help you find out all bits and bobs of every culture.
  • Some legal requirements may apply in particular countries, i.e. GDPR requires a developer actually to think about data protection requirements.

Translation – t9n 🔗

The translation is a part of localization. It is a process when you convert a phrase in one language into a phrase of the same meaning in the other language. It is that simple as far as you start to realize the differences in languages.

How to understand translation from the perspective of a developer:

  • You need to think about language differences or hire a linguist (i.e. how Localazy can solve your headaches with plurals)
  • Don’t solve deprecated locales by yourself

Computer-aided Translation (CAT) 🔗

Computer-aided Translation is a productivity tool for translations and enables you to increase both the quality and speed of translations.

Machine Translation (MT) 🔗

Machine Translation (MT) is a feature of many computer-aided translation tools. Mainly you can utilize MT, for example, in Google Translator and many other online translation tools. Machine translation can be both private or shared. You can decide if you will send back your translations to improve MT intelligence or if you would like to keep them only for yourself.

Translation Memory (TM) 🔗

Translation Memory (TM) is also a feature of many computer-aided translation tools. As described by its name, translation memory helps you to prevent translation duplicities and can save resources because you do not translate already translated phrases. Translation memory can be both private or shared. You can decide if you will send back your translations or if you would like to keep them only for yourself. At Localazy, we give a special meaning to the shared translation memory.

Glossary 🔗

Glossary is a dataset of hardwired translations phrase to phrase. Nothing is worse in translation than an inconsistent translation. A glossary makes you sure that even huge translation projects across many contributors keep the vocabulary consistent, which improves overall quality but also will decrease learning curve difficulty for new contributors, saving your money at the end of the day. Glossary is essential when technical terms and more complicated language concepts occur.

For example, in the Czech language, there are two words of the same meaning for a standard – one is “standard” and second is “norma”. They are the same, and “norma” is widely used because of historical reasons. Nowadays, some companies require translators to use “standard” instead, because “norma” does have negative connotations related to communism.

For that reason, you might want to use Glossary and let your contributors know they want to use specific phrases. I would bet that you can think about similar issues in your language too 😉.