In my last post, I wrote about ensuring that your data model properly handles global information : numbers, currencies, phone numbers, addresses, dates, and time zones, among other things. However, I’ve realized that many example data models have exactly the “self-centric” or “Amero-centric” approach that I cautioned against.As an American living abroad (for almost 30 years now), I often find that people make too many assumptions about the universality of what they know. For example, some Americans assume that others automatically understand their country’s ZIP code system, and its supplementary ZIP+4 version. In my experience, most of the world has no idea what a ZIP+4 is.
In this era of globalization, companies – including software developers – are always interested in expanding to new markets. This often means localizing their products for different areas. In this article, we’ll explain a few approaches to designing your data model for localization – specifically, for managing content in multiple languages.What Is Localization?Localization is the process of adapting a product to various markets. It is a prominent factor in achieving maximum market share in terms of product sales. When localization is done correctly, users will feel that the product was produced for their language, culture, and needs.
Different languages have different alphabets and different ways to order letters within those alphabets. For example, a Polish character Ł comes right after L and before M. In Swedish, a letter Å comes almost at the end, right after Z. In French diacritics marks have no impact on the alphabetical order, so the letters À, Á and Â are treated as the letter A when sorting strings.Acollationis a set of rules that defines how to compare and sort character strings. A collation tells you what the order of characters is and which characters should be treated as the same.
The ScenarioYou are the owner of an online store, located in Poland. The majority of your customers are from Poland and they speak Polish. But you want to sell your products abroad too and your international customers mainly speak English. So you want your online store to be available in bothPolishandEnglish. You also expect that your products will sell well in France, so you anticipate that you’ll have to prepare a