Internationalisation and localisation of computer software

Name

David Lightfoot

School/Department

School of Technology

Activity

Coursework on MSc in Software Engineering. The students work in groups of 3 or 4 to construct a piece of software that can be used in another culture. The students have to write about the issues regarding the conversions of software written for English-speaking users to another culture/country, to write a program, to internationalise the program’s user interface and implement this version of the program for the UK locale and then produce it for the locale discussed above. The group submits one document for grading, signed by each member to say that they have made a substantial contribution to the group’s work.

Group

Students on MSc in Software Engineering. Mixed background of students: United Kingdom, European and overseas

Aim

To take good advantage of students’ knowledge of their home culture to benefit all on the course and to apply this in constructing a piece of computer software that can readily be carried into another culture. This involves substantial research and knowledge of issues in internationalisation of software and cultural awareness.

Context/Background

Need for software engineers to be aware of requirements for software to be used throughout the world and cultural issues concerning this.

Example

Official languages, alphabet or other writing system, reading direction, system of measurement, date format, decimal separator

Results/Feedback

Students well motivated by this and worked hard. Produced very well engineered pieces of internationalised software.

Other comments

Perceived degree of difficulty allowed for in marking (this is known to students in advance). This is because, for example, French is less challenging than say Arabic.

Further Information

Coursework specifications available from author dlightfoot@brookes.ac.uk