What is the difference between internationalization and localization? Key Differences

  • Categories: Localization
  • Written By: Torjoman
  • Date: July 28, 2019

While at first glance both words seem interchangeable, they are not actually identical. Now. companies are looking to expand their business beyond their borders, and want to increase their market shares. They found that one of the most successful ways to do so is to talk with the mother tongue of the country they are trying to reach. So translating your website, products or services into a different language considering the colors, images and the cultural habits of a certain country, this is what’s called Localization. While Internationalization is considered an important stage in the localization process and it can’t be started at the end of the product development or before the launch. In order to internationalize a product or a service, you have to localize it to fit a  new culture or market without changing its design or shape. You have to consider the below:

  • Characters in non-western letters.
  • Display Unicode characters 
  • Space for the translated text that can be longer in other languages.
  • Supportive interface for RTL or LTR



Internationalization entails the use of best practices and methodologies to be used to allow for better localization. Internationalization should be treated as the first critical step in to take your brand global. The process of internationalization typically calls for these four primary steps:

Designing and Developing 

The process should be in place to remove any future obstacles while attempting to localize your product. This entails having a general enough product to be later customized for a suitable audience.

Supporting Features

The product may include features that will come in use only after the product is localized, i.e. leaving enough text space for captioning and subtitling in regards to foreign languages.

Support data

Internationalization entails that the code is enabled to provide support to preferences as per region, culture and language. For example, website generalized enough so it can later be formatted for an appropriate date, time and currency formats.

Segregation of  localization element

Another important feature of internationalization is to separate the localization elements. This will enable the user to select a localized option when needed and as per their requirements and preferences.


Localization is often considered to be the next step of internationalization. When localizing a product such as a website or a manufactured good and making it more suitable to the local culture; this may include taking into consideration:

  • The proper translation of the text
  • Colors Preference, i.e. studies show that in Argentina the locals are more prone to respond to an advertisement that uses blue tones.
  • Images and Symbols
  • Regulations of Laws
  • Political Views of the Nation
  • Using a region-specific voice over talent for eLearning material

Why Are These Methods Valuable?

When talking about internationalization and localization, the ultimate goal is the same, the globalization of your product. Internationalization is the necessary primary for making your product ready for localization. If the process is done correctly during the design and development phase, the next process of localization becomes much easier and efficient. And while internationalization gives your product a general audience, it is the localization of it that will truly help you achieve the necessary global audience from a local level up.


Why Choosing Torjoman? 

For over two and a half decades, the team at Torjoman has continuously set new standards across the UAE for translation companies. We offer expertise in over nine content specific industries such as legal, medical, financial, marketing, education to name a few. At Torjoman, we take pride in hiring native language translators who not only have the required understanding of the language but can truly help you carve a local niche with the local audience. We cater to over 120 languages and have proudly helped over 4000 clients. 

What sets us apart at Torjoman is our belief in putting our clients first. We take time in addressing all the tiniest of details so you don’t have to fear to have reputational risk later. To know how our team can assist you, contact our sales team today.

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