Localizing with XLIFF & ICU
Steven Loomis - IBM Corporation

Intended Audience: Software Engineers, Managers, Systems Analysts

Session Level: Intermediate

This talk discusses the file formats and processes that are involved in software localization. Platform-specific formats are contrasted with an emerging industry standard (XLIFF) that is designed for efficient translation processing.

A globalized application does not have any user interface elements that differ by language or culture (text, icons, etc) in the source code. Instead, these elements are stored as separate elements, called resources. The process of translating these resources is called localization. Many source formats exist for representing and interchanging resources, according to different platforms and technologies: VC++ RC files, Java ResourceBundles, POSIX message catalogs, ICU resource bundles, etc. Translators, who are usually non-programmers, have to deal with this large variety of formats for translating the content of these resources. Tools are available for assisting translators in dealing with these formats, but in many cases the formats don't permit tools to support the most efficient process.

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. After discussing the general issues, this talk will present an overview of how ICU facilites the localization of a product using XLIFF, describe a process for managing the localization, and then walk through a case study of product localization.