l10n – i18n

The talk of the town is that WordPress is going the l10n-i18n way. But what exactly does that mean?

l10n stands for localization, and i18n, for internationalization. Counting the number of letters between the first and the last letters in those words explains the numbers in the names. Laziness is universal! The difference between l10n and i18n is that l10n involves the linguistic adaptation of a product to a specific language or culture, and i18n involves making the functional changes to a product to make it localizable, so to say.

The internationalization of a product would be very difficult without the help of users themselves. WordPress is no different, with people with different mother-tongues helping in the translation and adaptation of the code.

When the i18n process is complete, WordPress will be available to authors who write in different languages, besides English, including, maybe Chinese. But the Chinese alphabet consists of anything from 3,000 to 50,000 characters. How, then, can you display all, or most of these, on browsers that can only seem to deal with the English Alphabet? Sounds like another article is in the works. 😉

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