I bet you have encountered the acronyms L10N, T9N or I18N and you’re wondering what they mean. The answer is simple: in our industry, we all look for ways to be more productive. We realized that we kept writing long words such as Localization, Translation or Internationalization and we decided to shorten them by replacing the inner letters by their number. Localization becomes L10N, Translation T9N and Internationalization I18N. V8N for Validation and G11N for globalization can also be found.

If you put yourself in the shoes of a consultant in the field of language services writing those words ten times an hour, typing the condensed form might save you 5”…which means that during your entire working life you would have saved more than 50 working days. Then it is a wise decision, don’t you think? Furthermore, it works the same for US English, UK English and some other languages like French.

The three words have distinct meanings:

  • Translation (T9N) consists in converting text into another language.
  • Localization (L10N) means adapting a product for a specific market. It not only involves consistent translation of several contents but also adapting this content to the specific target, and a full validation of the localized product.
  • Internationalization (I18N) consists in adapting the product and its design so that it is easy to localize

The line between these three abbreviations is thin. Localization agencies are keen on using the term localization because of the added value of the service, but our customers prefer “translation”. Internationalization is often partly given away for free with the localization services as pre-contract advice.