You can develop an application for use with multiple cultures by using the classes of the
System.Globalization namespace. When you develop an application for a global audience, you must provide the means to adapt that application for various languages and cultures. There are several terms that you must understand and differentiate when you work with a multicultural application.
When you design an application that works for multiple cultures, this process is called globalization. A truly global application is available to users throughout the world. You may see the term globalization abbreviated in technical writing as “g11n”, where 11 is the number of letters between the “g” and the “n” of globalization. Globalization often encompasses the two processes of internationalization and localization. However, a globalized application does not necessarily contain localized resources.
When you design a global application, a key aim is to create software that you can easily adapt to multiple languages and cultures without changes to the code structure of the application. This process of creating an application that separates the code blocks from the user interface blocks is called internationalization (i18n).
When you adapt your application for a specific language or culture, this process is called localization (L10n). The localization process requires you to translate the resources that the application uses into localized versions of each culture that the application supports. This includes translations for the user interface elements and any other data that the application uses. The localizability of an application defines whether the application is ready for localization. When you prepare an application for localization, you ensure that the language-related and culture-related content is separate from the source code.
A culture is a combination of a language and a country code, which identifies a specific language and country combination. Cultures may have different formats for elements such as strings, calendars, date, times, and cases. Example cultures include en-GB for English–United Kingdom and en-US for English–United States. The first two lowercase characters identify the language, and the last two uppercase characters represent the country. Some cultures contain a third segment that identifies a specific script for a culture; for example, uz-UZ-Cyrl represents Uzbek-Uzbekistan-Cyrillic. The available cultures are defined in a geographic coding standard that is called ISO 3166. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) publishes this standard.