What is Localization?

Localization is the process of creating or adapting a product to a specific locale, i. e. to the language, cultural context, conventions and market requirements of a specific target market user group or so. A user can interact with a properly localized product using his own language and cultural conventions which meets all the regulatory and other requirements of the user’s country/region.
This furthermore implies that all the user-visible text strings and all user documentation (printed and electronic) use the language and cultural conventions of the user.
In this way, software localization can be defined as the process of creating or modifying a software product so that it can be easily used in the local language, culture and environment of a particular region.

In order to enter a digital world without forfeiting its culture, a country must do it by using software in its own language. Software in a foreign language exacerbates the digital divide, makes basic computer training difficult and expensive, impoverishes local culture, and blocks computer-based government processes, as the local language script cannot be used in interfaces and databases. Localization (sometimes shortened to "l10n") is the process of adapting a software to a particular language, culture, and desired local "look-and-feel." Ideally, a software is developed so that localization is relatively easy to achieve - for example, by creating technical illustrations for manuals in which the text can easily be changed to another language and allowing some expansion room for this purpose. Proprietary software companies (such as Microsoft) are not interested in localizing and adapting their software to economies that are not considered as profitable markets (now or in the future). The only opportunity that the poor economies have access to - in order to have software in their own language - is the localization of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), something that they can do by themselves without having to ask permission from anybody, nor needing to spend astronomical amounts of money for licenses. Localization of FOSS is a phenomenon that has mostly happened inside the world of technology, pushed by technical people or organizations who were already involved in the development process for this software. Also, localization of Free and Open Source software - because of the technical needs involved up till now - has first taken place is developed countries in which basic proprietary software (such as word processing, spreadsheets, etc.) is already available in local language. Now the localization processes has become simpler, and information about how to localize grows, permitting smaller countries which do not have any software in their local language or highly trained FOSS technicians to consider FOSS localization seriously. For these countries, the social advantages of using software in local languages are very large and easy to measure: Allowing the government to do its work - using computer technology - in its own language. Permitting computerization of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Drastically reducing training time and cost for people who need to use computers. Allowing younger people to start learning how to use computers (in schools). Allowing access to computer usage or training to people who did not have the opportunity to learn English. Recovering the local language as the work language, in a modern office environment that uses computers, avoiding an excessive entrance of foreign terms from the use of computers in a foreign language.

What is PAN10n Localization Project?

PAN Localization Project is the IDRC supported multi-nation localization project currently being conducted in Afghanistan,Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Sri-Lanka where National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences(NUCES),Pakistan through it's Centre for Research in Urdu Language Processing.

This project is a regional initiative to develop local language computing capacity in Asia.

For more information on Pan Localization project, visit http://www.panl10n.net/

Through this project we will be developing the Dzongkha version of Open Office (word processor,spreadsheet and presentation) web-browser and email client application with help files. The project also aims to localize an Open Source accounting software in Dzongkha.
All these software will be integrated in Dzongkha GNU/Linux distribution with Dzongkha interface and manuals as well as help files in Dzongkha.