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This is a summary version. For the full text of the document, click here. Click on the headings of the 13 principles for more detail.


Statistical software is often developed in the national context; multi-lingual support can be an afterthought. Adding support for other languages later is often much more difficult if language is not considered as a key part of the software architecture from the start.

However, there is more to building software that will be used in many countries than just focusing on language issues alone. Adhering to best practices in internationalising software means that the possibilities for sharing data within the statistical community are increased. The implementation of these guidelines will increase the portability and reuse of software.



Principle 1:

Software should be multilingual by design

Principle 2:

Multilingual applications should support additional languages without reengineering

Principle 3:

The User Interface should always be separated from the code

Principle 4:

Identify and adapt all elements of the user interface

Principle 5:

Plan the storage and management of multilingual user interface elements

Principle 6:

Decide the best way to select the locale

Principle 7:

Presentation of data should follow the customs of the locale (e.g. numbers, dates, units of measurement, text input and layout, date/time formatting, paper size, name formats, legal requirements, address and telephone number formats, etc.)

Principle 8:

Processing and saving of data should follow the customs of the locale (e.g. rounding, support of keyboard layouts, conventions for comparison, manipulation, searching and sorting of strings including accented characters, etc.)

Principle 9:

Reuse standards such as programme libraries for localisation

Principle 10:

Include estimates for provision of multilingual support in estimates of development costs

Principle 11:

Include documentation as part of localisation efforts

Principle 12:

Understand Unicode and use it where possible

Principle 13:

Consider what fonts to use and how to use them

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