Internationalization (i18n)

Internationalization is the art of constructing software that reads, writes, stores, retrieves and understands information in many languages, including languages that do not use the latin characterset, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Russian, Hebrew, and many others.

Internationalization (i18n) and Localization (l10n) become very important as more and more non-English speaking people/companies/authorities start using the web (internet or intranet) for publishing and exchanging information in other languages than English.

Internationalization is of special importance to Regulatory departments of pharmaceutical companies, as applications used at these departments must be able to handle information in many languages.

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What does this mean ? Do you know it ?

Of all the information in the world, only a fraction is in the English language, and half of the world population doesn't even use the Latin characterset (think about Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, ...). Documents and information in these languages and other character sets now become rapidly available through the internet or on intranets. This information is often stored in databases, and is expected to be exchangable between countries, companies, authorities, etc...

For example, a pharmaceutical company willing to submit product information on a drug in Europe, has to do so in about 10-20 languages, including languages which do not use non-Latin character sets such as Greek. If the same product information has to be submitted in East-European or Asian countries, everything becomes even more complicated.
Usually, pharmaceutical companies make separate dossiers for each country and language. Doing so, the information gets scattered, and lacks reusability. Using databases however, with documents stored in XML and Unicode format, the information can be bundled and made reusable (e.g. for other applications).

The same is of course valid for all other kinds of information with an international character, for example product information for customers all over the world.

XML4Pharma has a vast amount of experience in Internationalization of software. With our experience in Java, XML, databases and Unicode, we can help you in developing International applications