Localizing with XLIFF and ICU

Ram Viswanadha & Markus Scherer - IBM Corporation

Intended Audience: Managers, Software Engineers, Systems Analysts
Session Level: Intermediate

This talk discusses software localization and some of the file formats and processes that are involved. Platform-specific formats are contrasted with an emerging industry standard that is designed for efficient localization.

Localizing applications involves separating user interface elements from the source code and translating these elements. These user interface elements are called resources. Many formats exist for representing resources. Different platforms and technologies provide different formats, e.g.: VC++ RC files, Java ResourceBundles, POSIX message catalogs, ICU resource bundles etc. Every format is designed for a specific purpose and a platform. The translators, who usually are non-programmers, have to deal with these formats for translating the content. Tools available for assisting translators support some of the formats.

XLIFF, a format designed by localization industry experts for solving problems faced by translators, is an emerging industry standard for authoring and exchanging content for localization. This talk presents an overview of how ICU facilites the localization of a product using XLIFF. A process for managing the localization is defined proposed. Finally, a case study of a localizing a product adhering to the process is presented.

Knowledge of globalization enablement of products is assumed.