© Copyright IBM Corp. 2002. All rights reserved. 13
Chapter 3. How to implement globalization
Generally speaking, globalization belongs in the category of ease-of-use technologies.
Offering ease-of-use solutions to your customers is critical to business success. Various
globalization elements are available for ease-of-use solutions, ranging from the explicit to the
subtle. This chapter gives a brief introduction to implementing globalization, and the
remainder of the book adds many detailed explanations and examples.
Globalization functions can be enabled by the operating system, software product, or
business application. The operating system usually provides basic support, being the
minimum set of baseline requirements that a globalization solution needs, but all three work
together in the following ways in order to provide an integrated and seamless globalized
1. The end user can input, view, and print characters from diverse languages, and a system
should be able to accept data, process it, and output results correctly.
Some languages such as English, French, German, and Spanish are easy to handle,
while others are complicated in terms of the programming required for computer
processing. Scripts such as Thai, Hebrew, and Arabic are called complex display
languages. Hebrew and Arabic have letters that are displayed from right to left. Since they
also mix in other languages and numbers that display from left to right, they require what
is called bi-directional support. Thai and again Arabic have characters that change vertical
position or shape depending on the characters around them, and require contextual
Special devices are being visualized and then designed by globalization professionals as
new script requirements emerge. The standard keyboard is the most common input
medium, while desktop or notebook displays and printers are the most prevalent output
devices. Software assistants such as Input Method Editors (IMEs) are employed to
support data entry of composed characters or large character sets. Now that pervasive
computing devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and pagers
have increasingly important roles, they are constantly being equipped with new
input/output mechanisms as research labs continue turning out their pioneering
technologies. On-screen keyboards not only beautify the appearance of computers to an
unprecedented extent, but also bring improved functionality to the end user. Speech
The four categories here follow IBM G11N organization's opinions, which can be found in
http://eou2.austin.ibm.com/global/global_int.nsf/Publish/982. However, the details are written by GCL.
14 e-Business Globalization Solution Design Guide
recognition introduces a brand-new input method with unprecedented globalization
challenges in that computers now must recognize numerous spoken languages and
dialects. Handwriting recognition similarly helps people get closer to the computer and
more easily, while challenging it to detect various written scripts and personal-chore
Figure 3-1 Voice technology architecture
So that physical devices can support the full character set of diversified languages, the
operating system must at the very least provide corresponding support for IMEs, fonts,
and layout software.
2. Correct cultural support of data. For example, date/time/number/currency must be
displayed/processed appropriately in formats that users prefer. (See Chapter 6, “Locale
model” on page 23.) Cultural support can be accomplished through the use of locales and
locale-sensitive functions. IBM's recommended cultural support solution is International
Components for Unicode (ICU), an open source project that it sponsors. ICU can be
provided to operating systems, software products, and business applications to meet their
Advanced cultural support might involve business logic. For example, income tax
calculators must reflect tax amounts based on nation-specific income policies and the
individual's reported income.
3. Multilingual support through Unicode technology. Unicode is the universal
character-encoding scheme for written characters and text, including character sets used
by many of the world's written scripts. By providing a consistent way for handling
multilingual text interchange internationally, Unicode is in widespread use today. It has
been widely accepted as the default encoding for many industry standards such as HTML
and XML that enable Java's capabilities for multilingual support, thus providing one of the
principal foundations of e-business.
4. Users can choose language and cultural preferences. The working example introduced in
Part 3, “Our Global Travel Shanghai Demo: A working example” on page 61 clearly
explains how to make this happen.
Dialogic Hardware and Software
Language Support Component
Telephony and Media Component
System Management Component
Voice Technology Architecture