Access to a Web for All has been a fundamental concern and goal of the World Wide Web Consortium since the beginning, and is a natural requirement for Web-based applications, given that they can be accessed by people around the world.
Unfortunately, it is easy to overlook the needs of people in cultures different to your own, or who use different languages or writing systems. If you do, you will build applications and content that, in fact, present barriers for the use of your technology or content by many people around the world.
What is Internationalization?
Internationalization is designing and developing in a way that can be adapted for users from any culture, region, or language.
It's essentially a Quality approach: one that sees you taking action early in the development cycle so that you avoid costly and sometimes prohibitive obstacles when it comes to rolling out your product to new marketplaces.
The word 'Internationalization' is often abbreviated to 'i18n', a widely used abbreviation derived from the fact that there are 18 letters between the 'i' and the 'n'.
What does W3C do for Internationalization?
The W3C Internationalization (I18n) Activity works with W3C working groups and liaises with other organizations to make it possible to use Web technologies around the world, regardless of language, writing system, or culture.