Chapter 9. Localizing and Globalizing Applications

Let me tell you an embarrassing story . . .

When the publisher sends me complimentary copies of one of my books, I usually give them to friends, or raffle them away in my blog, or just put them in the basement archives. To be clear, I do not have a fetish for collecting my own books. However, there is one notable exception: I am extremely fond of acquiring foreign language editions of my books. But publishers don’t always get copies of translated books. Needless to say, if they’re not available to the publisher, I’m not going to get a complimentary copy. And even if they do have some to give out, it seems to take an eternity to get one. So, whenever I hear that one of my books has been translated, I fire up my web browser and go hunting.

Usually, I surf to some online bookstore in a language I do not understand and try my best to provide my address and credit card information to the appropriate fields. I consider myself lucky, as my personal data has not yet been stolen (I have a special card just for “obscure orders,” as I call them), and from time to time I get a shipment that went through quite a trek to get to me.

But why do I have to struggle anyway? In a globalized world, web site owners will most certainly get visitors that do not share their language, or that of the web site itself. In my opinion, there are two reasons why most web sites are monolingual. First, translating a site is quite expensive and—depending on the target ...

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