Internationalization (i18n) is the design and development of a product, application or document content that enables easy localization for target audiences that vary in culture, region, or language.
Each language has different names for the days of the week and the months of the year, they also have different expectations for the structure of dates, such as what order the day, month and year are in.
In number formatting, not only does the character used to delineate number groupings and the decimal portion differ, but the placement of those characters differ as well.
A user using an application should be able to read and write dates and numbers in the format they are accustomed to, following libraries makes this possible.
Pluralization and grammatical rules: Internationalization involves more than just translating words; it also requires handling plural forms and grammatical variations based on different languages. Many i18n libraries offer support for pluralization rules, allowing developers to define different translations based on count or other criteria.
Date and time formatting: Localization frequently involves formatting dates, times, and other temporal information according to different language conventions. i18n libraries often include functions or utilities for formatting and parsing dates and times based on the user’s locale.
Text direction and layout support: Certain languages, such as Arabic or Hebrew, are written right-to-left (RTL), requiring special handling for text direction and layout. Some i18n libraries offer support for RTL languages, including features for automatic text direction detection and layout adjustments.
Message extraction and management: Some i18n libraries provide tools or utilities to extract translatable messages from the source code and manage translation files. These tools may help streamline the translation process by identifying new or updated messages and providing a workflow for translators.