Internationalization for Engineers
Despite internationalization being a critical step in development of a global product, software engineers are seldom familiar with this topic. Your engineers need to learn how to code for translation, how to use i18n libraries to format date, time or pluralized strings in the UI, how to deal with text expansion (German words are often longer than English ones), why UI strings require a bit of context, e.g. to disambiguate whether “review” is a noun or a verb in the UI, etc. Following a number of internationalization best practices will ensure your international releases are smooth and bug-free.
Internationalization for Designers
If you have designed a perfect UI for your English-only product, you can be sure it’s going to break after you’ve translated it into other languages. Your designers and front-end developers need to learn how to design UIs that look great regardless of the language they are translated into – be it a Latin-based German with relatively long words or Chinese with much more compact characters that require larger font size. Words expand in translation, text may overflow too narrow UI buttons, perfect grids get distorted or the font type may display garbled characters. There are many pitfalls in UI design when internationalizing your product. The more you are aware of them, the fewer errors and iterations from your Design Team.
Internationalization for Product Managers
Building a product for English-speaking users can be complex, but what if you have to build a product for 10 more languages and markets? Don’t assume your international users use the same units of measure, date format, address format, payment types, first + last name convention, color connotations, level of formality in writing, not to mention the alphabet, input methods or currency. What might seem like a simple PM task to create a search functionality in an app, could become a nightmare if not internationalized properly.