Just what is internationalisation and what can it do for web2print? Indeed, why is it even important if you’re only doing business in the UK?
Well, one of the great things about the UK is how culturally diverse it can be, which means that while you may only operate in the UK, and perhaps your customers too, they may well be dealing with international audiences.
For example, housing authorities have a wide range of languages they need to support, such as Urdu and Polish, as well as other departments of local authorities. The NHS also has a wide range of languages it has to support, you may well have seen multi language posters in your local surgery.
Within inner cities, the population is often diverse, and you get clusters of retail stores that cater to specific minorities, which will need point of sale items and posters for example.
How it works:
For websites it is easy enough to understand how internationalisation works, as it makes that website appear to any user in their language and currency, with reference to locations that relate to them.
It’s really no different for web2print (and at Vpress we do this all the time) – you present your system in the language of the user. In years gone by internationalisation was represented by a flag appearing in (generally) the top right of the page. The user could select that flag for the language of their choice to appear throughout that website, a manual “switch” process.
Things have moved on considerably and in this modern age, your PC/Mac/device talks to your browser to ensure that the options and content in front of you relate to either your personal choice, or a choice set for you by your system administrator.
Fundamentally there are three aspects of Internationalisation to consider. I will break down each one of these in turn to promote clarity:
Internationalisation - Fundamentally, this is the design and build of the system that supports the requirement. Ensuring that text can flow the right way (left to right or right to left) as well as ensuring that the system architecture or infrastructure is prepared for localisation of its components therein.
Localisation – Often this is thought just to mean the translation of the text within the interface but there are many elements that it includes. The formulation of date / numeric formats / currency / legal requirements / flow of text to support the requirement of the language. This part also takes into consideration the keyboard layout for that region as well as any cultural expectations. Not to forget any legal requirements when required.
Font Integrity – A true web2print system will have comprehensive handling of variable templates, populated in various ways, but critical to this is the use of the correct embedded font. By allowing the web2print system to handle the font, so as not requiring the font to be installed on the users machine, the web2print system will handle all aspects of the use of the font. This includes within the template, and including displaying it according to the character coding utilised by the template e.g. using CP1251 for Cyrillic characters. This can mean that the font can then flow from right to left or top to bottom.
Having a basic understanding of and inclusion of these three elements within your desired web2print solution allows you not only to effectively support your international clients/customer base but also meet the now modern demands of UK based organisations that support multiculturalism to the highest level.
At Vpress, our Coreprint product supports Councils/NHS/Corporate organisations and housing associations that either have a local internationalised requirement, or a need to support primary languages within their own business.
It also means that the system is more likely to be used as intended, and user adoption is faster, speeding up delivery of the benefits these systems offer.