Software makers like Microsoft and Oracle, which are building applications and software development tools for an increasingly diverse pool of worldwide developers, gathered in San Jose recently to discuss the latest advances surrounding a technology called Unicode.
The technology allows developers to make "culturally sensitive" products.
Creating user interfaces for software and Web applications that are familiar to computer users in different countries and cultures was the basis for the 19th International Unicode Conference.
Unicode is a standard encoding format used to make text in Web and software applications readable internationally.
The need for multilingual software has spawned an entire market of developer tools and consulting services. The worldwide market for localising software in different languages and cultures has reached about $US10 billion annually, said Ricardo Erb, president of the newly formed Professional Association of Localisation.