Sandy Carson, Marketing Communications & Events Manager, Pilgrim Quality Solutions
What is I18N L10N? Secret code? Part of an algebraic equation? A chemical compound? No, it’s not that mysterious or complex. It simply refers to the key elements needed to support enterprises in today’s global marketplace.
I18N is industry talk for “Internationalization.” The acronym represents the first and last letters of the word – I and N – and the 18 letters in between.
It refers to the design and development of a product, application, or document’s content so it will operate or display in different target languages.
L10N stands for “Localization” (L + 10 letters + N = Localization), the adaptation of a product, application or document content to meet the language, cultural, and other requirements of a specific target market.
Add these two “’zations” and the sum is the prescription for operational success on the world stage: I18N + L10N = G11N or Globalization, the process of making a product or website accessible and comprehensible to people around the world.
I18N + L10N = G11N
Understanding the Language
While socially the world is culturally diverse, from a business perspective, the marketplace is tremendously integrated, thanks in large part to the Internet and the power of the intelligent network. As a result, opportunity to grow businesses –and related profits — is at an all-time high for organizations, and there is boundless opportunity to play on the world stage.
What is now top-of-mind for those organizations joining the play, is the criticality of ensuring their messages and solutions don’t get lost in translation. Enter the need for enterprise software globalization.
Integrating business strategies and technical solutions that support the international marketplace enable growth, improve customer satisfaction, provide for secure sharing of information, and even enhance employee productivity.
And while these benefits of globalization are certainly nice-to-have, for highly regulated international enterprises (including those in Life Sciences) a global quality management system is really a must-have.
Respecting the Culture
As it is, regulated organizations have an added layer of considerations when implementing enterprise quality software. Compliance requirements call for consistent operations, data capture, and reporting across processes. Enter two more “–zations”: Harmonization and Standardization.
Those actions are essential at the enterprise level, but difficult when the enterprise’s operations and data are spread around the world. When operations are audited and inspected, they can’t afford errors, much less errors that were caused because something was “lost in translation” or inconsistent across the operation.
With this in mind, there are a multitude of considerations that factor into the construction of a truly effective global quality management software solution:
The software displays in the native language of the users, depending on the location of their particular enterprise site. For example, if an application is going to be deployed in Japan, it must be able to handle double-byte characters; for the Middle East, users need to be able to toggle between English and Arabic.
Certain default elements within software, as well as drop-down options for standard fields may be unique to a particular enterprise site or location. Countries have different calendars, different work weeks, different holidays, and different time zones. Number formats also differ around the world, especially with regard to decimal separators.
Units of Measure & Currency Conversion
The fields on a standard form or record will vary from country to country. For example, not every country uses ZIP codes or postal codes. Currency is a major consideration, as are systems of weights and measure.
Europe’s data privacy laws are more stringent than those of the United States, requiring varying levels of protection, and protection of more types of data. For example the EU and U.S. laws vary regarding the use and storage of non-public data such as medical patient records.
Regulations & Compliance
Regulated industries are controlled by varying regulatory bodies with varying requirements for operations, data management, and reporting. For the Life Sciences industry, examples of these bodies include Australia TGA, Health Canada, Europe EMA, Japan PMDA, and US FDA, to name a few, while compliance with ISO standards is universally expected.
Optimizing the Experience
Organizations that are seriously contending for dominance in the global marketplace focus on deploying robust global quality management software. Leveraging a system that has built-in localization and internationalization capabilities, they can experience invaluable benefits, including:
- Enterprise harmonization allowing for operational continuity
- Worldwide regulatory compliance
- Cost control through standardized software infrastructure
- Increased productivity of employees in global locations
- Minimized business risks including regulatory warnings and privacy incursions
Mastering the Market with a Global Quality Management System
Today’s business marketplace is global and complex, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming to manage an organization on the world stage. By leveraging a global quality management system that supports the enterprise’s unique local and international characteristics, it’s possible to achieve operational optimi-zation (that’s O10N for you acronym lovers).
To learn more about the effectiveness of an enterprise-wide global quality management system, visit www.pilgrimquality.com.
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