What i18n Means for Your Business (and Why It Matters)

Businesses are not just competing on a local or national stage but on a global platform. As companies strive to expand their reach and cater to a diverse audience, the concept of internationalization (i18n) has become increasingly crucial.

Today, we will delve into the essence of i18n, its significance for your business, and how to leverage machine translation. It can significantly streamline i18n workflows, offering near-professional translation quality at a fraction of the cost.

What Is i18n?

Internationalization, abbreviated as i18n (where 18 stands for the number of letters between 'i' and 'n' in the word "internationalization"), refers to the process of designing products, applications, and content in a way that they can easily be adapted to various languages and regions without requiring engineering changes.

Unlike localization (l10n), which involves adapting your product to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of a specific target market, i18n lays the groundwork for such adaptations by ensuring the product can be localized with minimal effort.

i18n considerations include supporting various character sets, enabling the use of right-to-left languages, accommodating different date, time, and currency formats, and ensuring software can handle input and output in multiple languages.

For instance, an internationalized website can display dates in the DD/MM/YYYY format for European users and MM/DD/YYYY for American users without requiring separate versions of the site.

Why Is i18n Important?

This digital age has made borders becoming increasingly blurred. This is due to the application of internationalization (18n) becoming a critical component of any business strategy with the goal of having global recognition and success.

Driven by the need to connect with a broader, more diverse audience, the shift has been made to prioritize overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers. i18n opens up a world of opportunities for businesses, allowing them to explore and penetrate markets that were once considered out of reach due to language constraints.

Also, by adapting products, services, and content to suit various languages and cultural nuances, companies can significantly enhance the user experience. Allowing customers to interact with content in their native language will make them feel more valued and understood. It will result in an increase in customer satisfaction and, over time, users will have a stronger and more loyal relationship with your brand.

Additionally, i18n plays a pivotal role in multilingual search engine optimization (SEO) as it makes optimizing content for different languages and regions, businesses can dramatically improve their visibility on global search engines. This enhanced online presence leads to an uptick in organic traffic from across the globe, thereby expanding your company's global footprint and influence. 

i18n Impacts on Developers

Implementing i18n poses unique challenges and considerations for developers. It requires a proactive approach, where applications and content are designed from the ground up to support internationalization.

Developers must consider various technical aspects, such as enabling support for Unicode, ensuring software architecture supports localized content, and designing flexible user interfaces that can accommodate text expansion in languages that require more space.

Adopting best practices, such as externalizing strings and using internationalization libraries or frameworks, can mitigate some of these challenges. Additionally, leveraging tools like CAT tools and management software that support i18n can significantly reduce the workload by managing translations and facilitating easy updates to multilingual content.

Four Benefits of i18n

Since we have discussed the reason why language internationalization is essential to your business's global growth, we have also written below a couple of its benefits. Let's examine them closely one by one, as follows:

1. Broader Market Access: By internationalizing your product, you can make your business accessible to millions of non-English speaking users, opening up vast new markets for growth and expansion.

2. Competitive Advantage: In a globalized market, companies that cater to a multilingual audience stand out. i18n demonstrates your commitment to inclusivity and cultural sensitivity, setting you apart from competitors who neglect these aspects.

3. Enhanced User Experience: Tailoring your product to meet local preferences and cultural nuances improves user engagement and satisfaction. A personalized experience encourages users to spend more time with your product, increasing the likelihood of conversion and retention.

4. Improved Brand Image: Investing in i18n reflects positively on your brand, showcasing your dedication to serving a global audience. This commitment can strengthen your brand's reputation, attract positive attention, and build trust among international customers.

Leveraging Machine Translation in i18n Workflows

A significant challenge in translation, particularly across multiple languages, is maintaining a consistent brand voice and terminology. Discrepancies in these areas can dilute a brand's identity and confuse customers.

For this reason, many have looked to machine translation to make multilingual e-commerce more streamlined. Below are some tips and considerations for using machine translation in the application of internationalization. 

Cost Efficiency

One of the most compelling advantages of incorporating machine translation into i18n workflows is the substantial cost savings it offers. This cost-efficiency is especially beneficial for businesses with extensive content needing translation across multiple languages.

By leveraging machine translation, companies can allocate their resources more effectively, investing in other areas of their international expansion efforts without compromising the quality of their translated content.

Speed and Scalability

Content is still king, and the ability to quickly translate and publish material across various languages has become invaluable.

The speed in the multilingual content creation process does not only apply to textual content but extends to website localization, product descriptions, and marketing materials, ensuring that all aspects of a business's online presence can be rapidly internationalized. Also, machine translation's scalability means that as a business grows and its content volume increases, the translation process can easily keep pace, without the need for proportional increases in budget or manpower.

Consistency Across Languages

A significant challenge in translation, particularly across multiple languages, is maintaining a consistent brand voice and terminology. Discrepancies in these areas can dilute a brand's identity and confuse customers.

Machine translation and large language models are trained on specific industry terminology and brand-specific lexicons, enabling them to accurately replicate a company's unique voice in every language. This level of consistency strengthens brand recognition and trust among international customers, a crucial factor in building loyalty in new markets.

More Accessible for Startups and SMEs with Limited Resources

Perhaps the most transformative aspect of machine translation is its ability to democratize the internationalization process. Traditionally, the high costs and complexities of translation and localization have made it difficult for startups and SMEs to compete on a global scale.

With minimal investment, even the smallest business can now reach audiences around the world, opening up opportunities for growth and competition previously reserved for larger corporations with deeper pockets.

This accessibility is not just about breaking down financial barriers. It's about fostering innovation and diversity in the global marketplace by enabling companies from diverse backgrounds to share their products and ideas worldwide.


The importance of the internationalization process in today's global digital marketplace cannot be overstated. It not only opens up new avenues for business expansion but also enhances user experience, providing a competitive edge in a crowded market.

By integrating machine translation into i18n workflows, businesses can overcome traditional barriers of cost, time, and resource constraints, making internationalization a reachable goal for companies of all sizes. Our tool at MachineTranslation.com stands at the forefront of this revolution, offering businesses the opportunity to achieve near-professional translation accuracy at a fraction of the cost. As we move forward, embracing i18n and leveraging the power of machine translation will be key components of a comprehensive strategy for global expansion.