Internationalization and Canada

This is a summary of an article written by Adam Asnes of Lingoport for the September 2010 issue of Multilingual Computing Magazine.

Canada can serve as a valuable stepping stone for companies looking to take the first step towards global development. With minimal barriers for American companies to doing business in Canada and the strength of the Canadian dollar (allowing American exports to be cheaper), partnership opportunities are springing up everywhere.  Companies looking to sell in Canada can do so without overhauling their product, but they do need to consider a few differences. In terms of translation, there are a few words that need to be looked at since Canada is a new locale (language+location) such as “center” vs. “centre” and “color” vs. “colour.” While English translations are easy to identify, remember that Canada has two official languages: English and French. While my Canadian language law knowledge is no broader than this scene from Canadian Bacon, I do know that companies looking to do business with the whole of Canada or the Canadian government need to adapt their software to support French as well.

There are a few more internationalization issues to consider when adapting a product to a Canadian market. Most stem from entry of data: postal codes, shipping addresses and business logic. While internationalization is never easy, Canada does present a great opportunity to test i18n efforts. The proximity to the US, sharing of time zones and general lack of language barrier allow for easy communication allow for clients to simply pick up the phone and say, “Hey, is it working?” and get an immediate response. In this way, companies can springboard their internationalization efforts having the reassurance that their development strategy works.

For the full article, please visit http://www.lingoport.com/internationalization-and-canada

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