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Localization is making programs work in a specific language — the menus and instructions will display in that language, and the program will be able to handle input of that language.[1]

In tech-speak: "Localization is the process of adapting internationalized software for a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components and translating text."

internationalized software: Software that is coded in a way that makes it easier to provide different language versions.
"specific region or language": Localization includes place names, date and time formats, number formats, and more, as well as language.
"locale-specific components": Pieces of the software that are specific to a place.

(British spelling is "localisation".)

Why it is important to provide software in Tibetan

One of the main parts of culture is its language. When the language dies, the real culture dies; it lives on only in museums. Computers are a big part of the world culture today, enabling all people to talk to each other.

If Tibetan is not used in the world of computers, then Tibetan culture cannot be part of that world. [2]

How to help

A techie person can find out the format for translation for a particular software, help get translations into that format, and get them into the process for that software. They don't necessarily have to know Tibetan, but it helps! At least, knowing something about the structure of the language, and any issues about displaying it, will be helpful.

Any non-techie who knows Tibetan, can do a big part: translations. The techie person will know how to get the translations into the correct form for the software.

Tibetan localization codes

There are codes in a standard format to use for languages. The first part is the language, and the second (in CAPS) is the current politically-recognised country it is spoken in:

bo_BO - Tibetan in Tibet (in past)
bo_IN - Tibetan in India
bo_US - Tibetan in United States
bo_ZH - Tibetan inside China

  • Some references for codes:
About the Language code, at Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_code
The language codes, at Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.orgwiki/ISO_639-1_language_matrix
The country codes, at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1
  • Very technical - The standards for these codes:
Tags for Identifying Languages [September 2009] - RFC 5646
Best Practices for language tags [September 2006] - RFC 4647

Tibetan localization projects

These are some projects that are wished for, that are under way, or that have been done. Most of them use the standard gettext .po file, and some use their own format.

See the Tibetan localization projects page for details, and more projects.

Websites in Tibetan

By no means all of them! This is just a list of some representative sites using Unicode Tibetan and good web practices.

Internal Links

External Links

What is localization; the difference between internationalization and localization; the localization process.


  1. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Internationalization_and_localization
  2. http://bodyig.tibetangeeks.com