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“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

— Kofi Annan

The Language of... series is the brainchild of Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie, beginning with The Language of Content Strategy. This book, The Language of Localization, is the 3rd book in the series and gathers experts from around the world to discuss core concepts in localization.

Over the next year, we will highlight a term each week on our website: This book is meant to open the conversation around the terminology we use and help clients and new professionals develop a better understanding of our industry.

As someone once said, localization is the biggest industry that no one has ever heard of. Perhaps, that is because localization is part of the infrastructure that keeps the global economy ticking along. We touch every product, process, and service on this planet and off of it, and our work often goes unnoticed until something goes wrong.

Because this industry is both broad and deep, it was challenging to pare the terminology in this book down to 52 terms, and we made adjustments along the way as our expert contributors weighed in. Those of you who have read the other books in the series will notice that some of the terms are familiar. Where possible, we practiced what we preach and reused the topics from the other books in the series, making changes where needed to appeal to this audience.

We also added three appendices of tangentially related terms that are important to localization. And, you might notice that the numbered references are not in numerical order in the text. This is because, in some cases, references are used by multiple authors, and so are listed under the topic in which they first appear.

The best part of this project was working with colleagues from all over the world who generously shared their knowledge. Their expertise and willingness to add to the body of knowledge are the heart of this book.

It is my hope that this book, and others like it, will raise the profile of our profession and help make the black box of localization a bit more transparent to our clients and to those who are just starting in the profession.


It is such a privilege to work with talented people from all over the globe. This project would not have been possible without the work and care of many experts in the localization industry. To my friends and colleagues who contributed their knowledge to this project, I thank you. You have advanced our profession with your work.

The Language of... series is the brainchild of Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie, and published by XML Press. Richard Hamilton, Don Day, Scott Abel, and Trey DeGrassi were instrumental in keeping the project on track and providing encouragement and advice.

I would also like to thank Donna Parrish, Ulrich Henes, Arle Lommel, David Filip, Dave Ruane, Rick McGowan, and others who generously shared their networks to help me find contributors.

Richard Sikes and Arle Lommel magnanimously shared their expertise and suggestions on a couple of the more challenging topics. Arle Lommel and Madison Van Doren went the extra mile, both writing topics for the main text and using their specialized knowledge to create the standards and linguistics appendices, respectively.