Successful website globalization is all about asking questions.
A key point I stress in Think Outside the Country is that nobody knows everything. Nobody can know everything. And you should not trust anyone who says or implies they do. And, honestly, that’s part of the fun of this field — from language to culture to country to technology, you will never stop learning something new.
So where do I go when I have questions?
Well, if the questions are technical and specific to the Internet, I often begin by visiting the World Wide Web (W3C) Consortium, specifically the Internationalization Working Group. Richard Ishida, who leads this group, has done an impressive job over the years of curating and publishing tutorials, best practices and standards.
So where do you begin if you want to learn more?
Here are a few resources that I recommend checking out…
Working with Languages in HTML
A nice overview of language tags and why they matter.
Personal Names Around the World
An excellent explanation for why “first name” and “last name” in an input form is bound to fail when taken global.
Introduction to Multilingual Web Addresses
A nice intro to internationalized domain names (IDNs), punycode, and other challenging aspects of getting non-Latin domains to work on the Internet.
Unicode Bidirectional Algorithm Basics
A dense read but important if you want to understand how web browsers handle bidi scripts such as Hebrew and Arabic.
A look at the cool new multilingual features of CSS.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg.