What is i18n and what is its purpose (2022) | locize

What is i18n

Today you're going to be introduced to a topic every growing business should be aware of.

In fact, this is the same topic that has helped many of our clients in growing even faster.


It stands for internationalization because the number 18 represents the number of letters between the first and last character of internationalization.

So, what exactly is i18n? Essentially, the meaning of it is a shortcut to internationalization, to make better use of it while write short instead of longer word.

i18n term

There is an easy way to master all your needs for i18n in relation to software.

The best part?

You don't need to make a huge investment in a technology stack.

Let's get started.

Table of contents

What is internationalization

In general, it refers to the process of bringing businesses into international markets. Typically, this type of company is led by an entrepreneur who thinks globally and has a good understanding of global cultures. As stated in the introduction, i18n is a shorthand for internationalization and is commonly used in the software industry. As a result of going global, companies' product design and development suffer.

You plan to enter foreign markets with your company, there is a huge demand for localizing an application, website content, or any document related. During this business transformation, the managers of those businesses must consider the new culture, region, and language.

We live in an undeniably digital world, and things are only going to get faster. As a result, the software industry has developed it's own business model, with providers assisting with various digital services while entering new markets. These services are also known as localization-service. Finally, the terms internationalization and internationalizing-software are frequently used interchangeably, so we can answer "what is i18n" with an industry-term for businesses going international.

international business

It is not always given the attention it deserves

In our opinion, the process of managing software to support local circumstances is in growing companies still a manual procedure. In this stage the company is in, a professional way is appreciated for the clients. Here are some interesting facts about internet surfers in Europe that showing how important localization is:

  • Only a fraction of enterprises uses advanced digital technologies
  • 56% of individuals in the EU have at least basic digital skills

This demonstrates that only a few businesses are utilizing technology as they should today. According to the article, many more people will develop digital skills over the next decade.

If you are a growing international business, i18n can assist you in meeting the needs of internet users. In the same vein, you will be able to improve the quality of your products or services by utilizing advanced digital technologies.

Finally, according to data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, US businesses are increasingly providing services to foreigners. For the past few years, there has been a more than 15% increase.

These figures show that every company must be aware of the internationalization of its operations, particularly its software. The software can be viewed as the primary means of achieving digital transformation. This leads us to the next subject on which you should brush up on your internationalization knowledge:

The different steps during internationalization

This can be used as step-by-step procedure:

  • Build your team
  • Evaluate the right translation management software
  • Preparing your software (date, time, strings, languages, etc.)
  • Take care of compliance
  • Optimize marketing in app store and search engines
  • Test your localization
  • Learn and amend your solution

An i18n-framework can be used for the preparation of your software during the process. In our ecosystem we have the i18next-framework which is more than just a collection of basic i18n functionalities (plurals, context, interpolation, format). It offers a comprehensive solution for localizing your product from the web to mobile and desktop.

Bonus Tip

Who knows a culture better than the people who live there? Make use of local specialists in each of your target markets. As a result, your team will be able to provide users with the most accurate, user-experience possible.

This is, without a doubt, a very important aspect of i18n-approach. A translation-marketplace can help you find a translator very quickly, and your i18n will be far more effective.

The benefits of i18n-localization

There are numerous advantages to deploying your digital infrastructure with the appropriate technologies. If you choose the right partner, you can deliver comprehensive localization automation solutions that enable you to integrate localization into your continuous delivery workflow.

  • Increase your consumer base
  • Increase internet users' contentment (user-experience)
  • Enter new markets quickly and strategically
  • Reduce your time, money, and effort
  • All languages' source code is centralized, making future modifications simple
  • The internet market's reach is rapidly expanding
  • Use global marketing to your advantage

Grow global with locize

We at locize are specialists to make your internationalization a success story.
➡️ Check out the features of our localization management platform

How are developers affected from it

This is where l10n enters the picture. L10n, or localization, is the software component or service of internationalization. As a result, the developers who are involved are a critical component of your internationalization's success. i18n is the process by which developers prepare a software product for use in markets other than the one in which their company operates.

Developers are indirectly responsible for the results that appear in search engine results such as Google. You can optimize Google Search results for your site if it provides different content to users in different languages, countries, or regions. This guide will help you on that.

What is software-localization

When adapting a web product to a new customer base in a different region, a developer must take care of software localization. Typically, the process necessitates the complete modification of text and multimedia for a software product.

As JavaScript and its frameworks are the most famous programming-languages today, there needs to be discussed how JavaScript applications can be adjusted for global audience.

Following three main points with JavaScript are very well for localizing any application or website:

  • JavaScript can detect the user’s preferred locale before giving them the option to manually select their own. This increases the user-experience and will result in more trust for your brand.
  • There are functions help to handle right to left languages like Arabic or Persian. This ensures to expand also to countries with right-to-left language.
  • If you don't want to reinvent the wheel, you can select a library that includes plugins for almost every situation. For example, i18next is an excellent choice for medium and large applications that require a significant amount of internationalization.

Find your way of i18n

This guide of JavaScript localization helps you find the right solution for your software-localization need with JavaScript. In this guide you will find also more information about how to manage locale at React-, Vue- or Angular application or more supported frameworks e.g. Flutter, Rails and more.

How to measure the success

You may ask yourself how you can track the progress of your project regarding internationalization. How many translations are left to be done? Is the localized-content also be used from website-visitors? Is your code on good quality or not?


The integration of locize brings you the extra level of tracking and support. By accessing very important data of the project through the locize dashboard, this saves you endless time spent on localization.

locize help to measure the progress:

  • Allows for continuous localization
  • Reporting on progress
  • Reporting on usage
  • Keep track of new translations
  • Find out translated, fuzzy, warnings or untranslated keys
  • Obtains your missing keys and sends them directly to the project
  • Track user metrics on individual level (e.g. words)
  • Review workflow when user changes language data as well as history of it
  • Detect issues in the translation-keys

Find out more at the locize documentation for issue detection.


How do you manage the internationalization of your application? Either way, let us know by write us an email to [email protected] or leave us a comment on twitter or facebook right now.

The term "i18n" is mostly associated with the software business. It defines the development operations required when a corporation expands into new countries or markets. i18n refers to a complete business that was created to meet the needs of clients who needed to convert their programs, websites, or video-games.

If you're just starting out and want to learn more about "what is i18n," the following links can be helpful.

➡️ Create a free new user account for advanced i18n-experience with locize

➡️ Find out more about react-i18n

➡️ Check out real examples at website-localization