Localization testing is where software is tested to ensure it meets the accepted norms of local culture, language and other requirements of a specific region. With increasing demand for a global presence, products are now expected to run in multiple markets. Each region must support own the unique local culture and language, thus the primary test areas for localization testing are testing the content and the UI.

Localization Testing

As testers, we endeavour to include multilingual tests in our strategy when planning to test a product that supports multiple languages. Similarly, it is equally important in localization testing to confirm other specifically local aspects are also well tested. In this article, we provide you with information on how and where to start with localization testing, and guide you on the primary areas of focus for planning your tests. Read this article for extra information on How To Test Multilingual Websites.

Where to start with Localization Testing

Start with a detailed Test Plan – A clearly defined test plan that outlines all details of the testing required for every region can be an excellent point to start. Apart from mentioning the standard functionality of the software, it is imperative to provide specific detail for each localized testing, because all regions differ in either may or few ways. Making mention of these differences will be useful in guiding testers who are performing localization testing.

Identifying the right candidate for the testing – It is generally fairly easy to find suitable candidates for functional testing, but selecting the right people within the different locales for localization testing presents far more of a challenge. It is essential to source the right personnel to perform the testing because, for instance, the reviewer must be able to speak the local language and have an in depth understanding of the culture which they will need to refer to while testing. Depending on the testing budget available and the extent of testing required, outsourcing to crowdsource firms can be an option. Crowdsourced testing companies are well-equipped with resources across the world so can be useful under these circumstances.

Acquainting Testers – Employing testers familiar with the locale and aware of any issues related to translation can mean highly effective localization testing. Some of the standard translation issues include representation of number format. For example, some regions use a comma for decimal places and some use a point. The display of accented letters can vary widely too, such as á, é, and ö. Title conventions vary, as can the display of hard-coded strings. Before a localization testing starts, it is vital for the tester to be aware of the core functioning of the product. If the tester does not completely understand the end-to-end functionality, it is advisable to set up frequent interaction with core testers and product owners. Sharing all available artifacts with the quality assurance tester will give them an overview and help them to clarify expectations right from the beginning of the QA cycle.

What’s the main focus for Localization Testing?

Before beginning test execution, the tester must be well versed in how the application is configured to support different regions. Make yourself aware of the following parameters on how the application is configured to support for RTL (right to left or left to right reading), and how is it set up to handle different data formats such as date, currency etc. You also need to know what, and how a tester can test translations, and whether there will be any impact on the database.

Checklist for Localization Testing

GUI Testing – With translation, make sure to include checks to verify for any text or button overlap or truncation because some words, once translated, will require more space. Elements like images, buttons, forms, etc. must remain the same on both the core and localized product.

Region Specific Tests – Much vary between regions, so be sure to perform the following checks:

  1. Verify currency conversion
  2. Date and phone number display conforms to the locale format
  3. Keyboard shortcuts are updated, with no duplicate hotkeys assigned
  4. Titles used to address persons caters to the local culture
  5. Local holidays, and regional laws and regulations need to be considered

Printed Documents – Printed documents such as help, manual or order receipt need to be compatible with the local region, so do not miss to include verifying printed materials. Users who do not already understand the product’s original language will have trouble understanding if the documents are not translated correctly, so it is imperative that all print versions are error free.

Error Messages – Make sure that error messages are displayed in the local supported language. Testing must include generating and validating all error scenarios.

Emails –  Several sites are set up to trigger emails when an event is met. As part of localization testing, ensure that the emails are translated and triggered correctly. The emails must be configured for regionally compatible salutation, and any links on the email must redirect the user to the localized version of the product.

Conclusion

To summarize, we can say that the three critical objectives to be achieved from localization testing include ensuring the content is accurate, the UI looks right, and the application functionally works flawlessly irrespective of the translation. Once these parameters pass, you can consider that you have had a good round of localization checks done and the product is ready to be deployed in multiple markets.