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7. Internationalization and Localization

Internationalization refers to the process of enabling support for many human languages, and localization to adapting to a specific country and language.

Historically R worked in the ISO Latin-1 8-bit character set and so covered English and most Western European languages (if not necessarily their currency symbols). Since R 2.1.0 it has supported multi-byte character sets such as UTF-8 and others used for Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Current builds of R support all the character sets that the underlying OS can handle. These are interpreted according to the current locale, a sufficiently complicated topic to merit a separate section. Note though that R has no built-in support for right-to-left languages and bidirectional output, relying on the OS services. For example, how character vectors in UTF-8 containing both English digits and Hebrew characters are printed is OS-dependent (and perhaps locale-dependent).

The other aspect of the internationalization is support for the translation of messages. This is enabled in almost all builds of R.

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