Around one year ago I got the shock of my life as a tester when my Lead asked me to test our product for the localized versions. I was supposed to test our product on French and German platforms and one can imagine my condition as I didn’t have a faintest idea about either French or German. That was my first encounter with Localization Testing. It was not as bad as it sounds and in fact after a few days I found it quite interesting as I got a chance to learn a little about new languages and operating systems. All said and done let’s now delve a bit deeper into Localization Testing.
What is Localization?
Before going on to Localization Testing first let’s know what Localization is. Localization is the process of adapting software for a new region. This involves change of language and some changes that will help the product adapt to the new culture. Localization of a product is carried out only when the product is stable in the original version.
What is Localization Testing?
Localization Testing is the testing that is carried out to check the quality of a product’s localization for a particular target culture/locale. Localization testing can be executed only on the localized version of a product. The testing efforts should be focused towards the following areas to see if the product conforms to the required locale or market segment:
One of the major areas affected by localization is the User Interface (UI) of the product. The localized version must have the same look and feel of the original version. One important thing that needs to be looked at is the text appearing in the UI because “translated text always expands”.
- Culture/locale-specific and language/region-specific areas
A localization tester should consider the target region’s ‘Character Sets’ and ‘Keyboard Layouts’ as there is bound to be a major difference between original version’s and the localized version’s character sets and keyboard layouts. So consideration should be given towards small things such as hotkeys, uppercase and lowercase conversion, garbled translation etc.
Another important area is to check that all symbols and images must be appropriate for the target culture and market.
The localized version should have the same functionality as the original version. To ensure this, the basic functionality tests should be carried out. Setup and upgrade tests should be run in the localized environment. Application and Hardware compatibility tests also need to be planned according to the products target region.
- Technical Consistency
Consistency between the written documentation and the software product must be guaranteed. When shipping a localized product it should be ensured that localized documentation (manuals, online help, context help, etc.) is included.
Items that need to be checked are:
1. The quality of the translation.
2. The completeness of the translation.
3. Terminology is used consistently in all documents and application UI.
As the world is shrinking more and more with each passing day, every software firm wants to venture into newer markets and this can be achieved only by catering to the people’s needs by giving them products in their own languages.