Imagine developing an application and launching it globally, but after releasing it you find out that your final product has bugs in various language versions. It is a developer’s worst nightmare, and it is the reason localization testing exists. Localization testing is not always a priority for many development companies. However, you should include this process and internationalization at all stages of software development.
So what is localization testing and how do you execute it efficiently? What factors should you check during localization testing and what are its key advantages and disadvantages? Below you will find the answers.
- What is Localization Testing
- When Do You Need Localization Testing
- Localization Testing Scope | What You Should Check During the Localization Testing Phase
- Localization Testing Lifecycle | Some Words About Automation
- What are Advantages and Disadvantages of Localization Testing
- Localization Testing Tools
- Best Practices
What is Localization Testing?
Localization testing is a software testing technique that helps adapt a product, app or content to satisfy cultural, linguistic and other nuances of specific regions or locales. Testers perform a localization test on the website or app’s local version to do this.
Experts often abbreviate localization as L10N. This technique allows for testing of some important areas that you need to customize, including user interface, language, date and time format, etc., for a particular country only.
The main features of web or app localization are:
- Localized UI. You should design the user interface in a manner that is comfortable for people from specific regions.
- Localized content. Various types of content available on the website or in the app must correspond to local culture. You should perform localization testing to check whether data localization is correct.
- Specific language. Your software must be compatible with the languages of specific regions, and your localization testers must check all languages supported by your app.
- Hardware compatibility. Localization QA testing requires both software and hardware to be compatible with specific countries or locales.
Combining localization testing and internationalization testing is called globalization. Globalization represents a broader level of testing. While localization allows apps or websites to support particular languages and locales, internationalization testing means you must design and develop a product, app or content, and provide software localization for all necessary cultures, regions and languages. Experts often call internationalization I18N.
Ultimately, globalization and localization testing are crucial if you are considering expanding to new markets and reaching new customers.
When Do You Need Localization Testing?
If you are thinking about expanding to new countries, software localization is critical. Ensuring that your products can look good and perform smoothly in a particular country or region will provide you with authority that can result in increased market share and revenues.
Consumers prefer sticking with localized products that work for them rather than dealing with linguistic or cultural issues on a different website or app. Research shows that almost 40% of internet users will not purchase on websites where they cannot choose their native language, so providing a better user experience (UX) can lead to more sales.
Localization testing services are necessary to prevent situations where the content is not native even if the text has no grammatical errors. Also, you have to remember that context is essential. If you want your website or application to look native, you need to learn more about regional specifics or various local features.
Localization testing in software testing takes time, but applying this process means that you will introduce future releases much faster. This allows you to be ready to move into emerging markets and provide better product quality.
Localization Testing Scope | What You Should Check During the Localization Testing Phase
Localization QA testing is more than just translating and spell checking. We have created a list of things to consider to help you ensure that something important is not missed during this phase. Here are the main things to check:
1. Preparatory stage
Before starting localization testing, you should take several crucial steps to make the process smoother:
- Prepare the necessary documents and data for localization testers to ensure the optimal performance of the test
- Provide background information regarding your product, app or website
- Create specific glossaries that allow testers to understand the correct context. Such glossaries and vocabularies are also helpful for checking references and consistency
- Upload documents with all previously translated versions of your app/website to use as references. Also, you can use other available tools to store these versions in one place
- Configure a bug tracker. It serves as a document or platform that allows for recording of all bugs you find during your localization testing. This helps track these bugs to fix them later, and it makes it possible to share them with other team members
2. Regional and cultural check
This stage is essential for the entire process. You need a localized app build or relevant screenshots. During a regional and cultural check, you should pay attention to the following things:
- Correct date and time formats that correspond to the regions and locales being tested
- Accurate phone number and address formats
- Appropriate color schemes because different countries can have various meanings for the same colors
- Correct product names that follow regional legal requirements
- Correct currency formats
- Proper units of measurement.
3. Linguistic check
During this stage you examine language peculiarities. You must verify the following points:
- All website pages or app screenshots provide the same terminology
- No grammar or spelling errors
- Correct punctuation
- Appropriate text direction
- Proper use of names, places and titles
4. User interface (UI)
This stage is critical to make your website or app look great in all languages. Here, you must ensure that:
- You have localized all the images that contain text
- The layout of different versions matches the original one
- You have placed hyphenation and line breaks on web pages or screenshots properly
- The appearance of dialogs, pop-ups and notifications is correct
- Your text fits into all the necessary fields without overflowing
It is one of the last stages, but one of the most important. During this stage, you must check whether your localized website or app works properly. Here, we recommend you check:
- The core functionality of your localized website or app
- That hyperlinks are legal and that they perform in all language versions and all regions
- That the input features work properly
- You have provided support for special characters for different locales and languages
- That hotkeys work properly
- Appropriate sorting of lists
- Correct font support
- Format separators
Localization Testing Lifecycle | Some Words About Automation
If your project is big and you need to test it often, automation testing comes in handy. Automating a localization test consists of the following steps:
- Select the automation tool for writing scripts
- Take the scenario and provide further testing for localization strategy
- Write scripts depending on that
- Collect the results and then mark the scenario as pass or fail
Internationalization testing in software testing is usually a challenge for a company. Each language supported by the app can increase the number of test cases necessary for multiple tests. If you use automation extensively, you can build and maintain automation scripts for products considering it’s such a large scope.
To address this problem efficiently, you need to build test scripts that can extend easily to support different languages.
If you build the app using the I18N and L10N practices for creating a non-language-sensitive core version, you can use the properties file to satisfy language requirements. The app reads from a relevant properties file during run-time for rendering it in the chosen language. That way there is only one app’s fundamental version that allows for changing the languages of the user interface when necessary.
This provides an opportunity to automate the internationalized app because you have test scripts written for the basic version and can execute them for all languages smoothly.
But before starting the automation process, you need to ensure that the names or IDs that you have assigned to relevant elements in the windows stay the same in the case of changing languages. Also, you must provide the web page’s objects, including text fields, checkboxes, hyperlinks, etc., with unique IDs that will not depend on language.
If you are sure that these web objects are not language-specific, then you can build an effective automation script for your internationalized app.
What are Advantages and Disadvantages of Localization Testing?
The key pros of localization testing are the following:
- Helps reduce the entire testing cost
- Cuts down support costs
- Reduces the time necessary for testing
- Provides better flexibility and scalability
The key cons of localization testing are the following:
- Needs a local localization tester to perform it
- Requires high costs to hire a local translator
- Storing DBCS characters vary in different countries
- Localization QA tester can face schedule challenges
Localization Testing Tools
You may find it difficult to conduct localization testing by only applying relevant automation tools. Below we provide a list of localization testing tools that can help you with automating several tasks properly.
- IBM Rational Functional Tester (for automating UI localization)
- Redpin (for .NET application localization)
Localization testing in software testing can bring multiple challenges such as slower time to market, difficulties measuring ROI and using too many internal resources. Below we provide a list of several best practices to help you deal with these challenges and promote the growth of your business thanks to localization:
1. Do not rush things
You need some time to collect the required resources and gather a team that can perform efficient testing. Also, you must spend time on research to understand your target audience and the existing local market conditions. This research is essential for tailoring the local experience for potential users, and it is an area where you cannot use the help of automation. Human localization testers must walk through a relevant customer journey and conduct extensive research for creating specific test cases for their products.
Finally, you need to take time to check the accuracy of the translation on your website. A good practice is to hire an expert who can deal with language nuances.
2. Perform early and frequent testing
“Test early, test often” serves as a popular mantra in software development and testing, so you need to apply this approach to localization as well. Apart from conducting localization testing at the early stages, you should consider regular testing and retesting as techniques to detect bugs or other issues during the development process.
Automation can provide you with enough time so you can use specificlocalization testing tools. But the most effective approach is to integrate automated technologies with human input. That’s when Agile methodology comes in handy due to its principles regarding adaptability and continuous feedback.
3. Analyze data
Analyzing information and customer feedback is crucial for evaluating your website or app’s performance and defining the areas to improve. But you need to have a sense of the metrics you are assessing. Thus, the way you measure your success and analyze data can be different in various countries.
To track ROI, you must provide appropriate metrics for each specific region or locale that you are targeting. You can measure your success by determining the relevant number of downloads, purchases or new subscriptions to concentrate on achieving these goals. Also, you can examine the percentage of market share, web traffic in each country or language and the increase in revenue.
4. Be aware of cultural aspects
You should not consider website localization a straightforward localization process because it can be hard to translate various cultural nuances. By applying globalization and localization testing, you can forget about offensive mistakes that can appear from cultural differences.
You need to accommodate multiple alphabets and characters. Pay attention to spelling, numerical systems, symbols of specific currencies, hotkeys and even hyperlinks. Different countries may have their own date, time and phone number formats. Also, there can be significant differences in licensing laws for each region or locale.
Thus, culture is the area where you need to deploy human localization testing across various scenarios.
5. Choose the right partner
Performing localization testing is often a big challenge. But there are numerous experts and companies with the necessary infrastructure and experience in testing and deploying products in global markets to help you. These companies can save time and valuable internal resources by implementing an effective localization testing process.
Thanks to a partnership with professionals, you can expand to new markets and reach new customers without hiring separate teams in different parts of the world. That ensures that all translations on your website or app are correct, the functionality is the highest and you understand all cultural nuances appropriately.
Localization and internationalization testing are necessary if you want to expand your business globally. The appropriate website localization will open the door to thousands of new clients in different parts of the world and improve your revenue potential.
Translating accurately and being culturally sensitive serve as the fundamentals of localization testing, along with making your software and content suitable for various devices, operating systems or browsers. If you pay attention to specific details, your customers will know and appreciate that you satisfy their requirements.
Ultimately, researching a target market is an important task, and you should hire a linguistics expert or pay for localization testing services offered by companies with proven expertise. That will help you avoid costly mistakes.