What Is Localization Testing?

9 mins read

Localization is all about adapting to the local needs of our customer base. Be it the language, cultural information, or preferred color. We need localization to make sure we serve our customers the product they deserve. Although, it is a huge topic, today we’ll be focusing on localization testing.

What Is Localization Testing?

Localization testing helps to ensure that software, products, or services work correctly and effectively when translated and adapted for different cultures, regions, and languages. These tests verify that localized content is translated accurately and error-free, ensuring a smooth user experience for customers in different regions. It also helps identify any issues that may arise from differences in date/time formats, currencies, and other regional characteristics, thereby avoiding potential user confusion and frustration.

Why Is the Quality of Localized Content Important?

Localization testing is an important aspect of product development. Here are a few reasons why you should test and ensure the quality of your localized content:

  1. According to a report by the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA), poor localization can lead to significant revenue losses, estimating that in some markets localization can account for 50 percent of potential revenue.

  2. Another report by the same organization found that 40% of software users would not use a product that does not support their language, while 75% of users are more likely to buy a product that provides information in their own language.

  3. A study by Common Sense Advisory found that consumers are 75% more likely to purchase products with information in their native language.

Main Types of Localization Testing

Localization testing can be performed at various stages and check different things. Still, the ultimate goal remains to ensure that the localized product works as well as the original version. The following are the main types of localization testing:

Functional Localization Testing

This type of testing focuses on verifying the functionality of localized software, including the display of text, images, and graphics. It also verifies that user interface elements are properly translated and culturally appropriate.

Language Localization Tests

These tests focus on checking the accuracy of language translations, including grammar, spelling, and syntax. It’s the most common one and is typically automated by using localization quality assurance tools.

Usability Localization Testing

This type of testing focuses on verifying that the user interface is easy to use and understand for users in different regions and that the localized content is presented in a way that meets the expectations of the target audience.

Compatibility Localization Testing

This type of testing focuses on verifying that localized software works correctly on different hardware, operating systems, and software configurations and that it works correctly with other localized products.

Cultural Localization Testing

This type of testing focuses on verifying that the software, product, or service is culturally appropriate, including date/time formats, currency, and other regional details.

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Localization Testing Best Practices and Requirements

Localization of products from media-side, server-side, and e-learning side has a few key points to have a good hold of localization testing. And those are as follows:

Command over Your Language

We can put this on top of the list because each language has its flavor and feel to offer. Language is the most tightened connection with the customer, which will last longer than any other. Hence, no matter what language one is an expert in, one must have a tight grasp of the language. This includes local slang, jargon, area-specific terms, etc. This is required to provide the most suited content to the customer. For certain products like e-learning videos, this could make a significant impact as the content is consumed at a faster rate.

Knowledge of the Subject

If the tester is not aware of the subject they are dealing with, it can hugely impact the quality of the delivered product. We must understand the impact that our product is making in the market. The value that our product creates and the consequences of bad delivery. It should be all well sent in our standard of testing.

Knowledge of Types of Testing

Black box testing, regression testing, and beta testing are just a few kinds of testing. However, with localization, we need to know these standards, as the expectations from different teams could be different. We need to connect with our Engineering and QA teams, with their lingua as well to benefit from their stories or epics to do localization testing. Any localization tester is an equal team member, not a service provider.

Raising and Triaging Defects

Various teams use various tools or methodologies to manage their defects. Localization testers need to have at least the basic understanding of these tools to make sure our defects are in the right stage, assigned to the right team, and are with the right priority. This also includes delegating the issue to the right team. Delegating a technical issue to the translators or vice versa would online increase the shelf life of the defect and create confusion and frustration across the teams. This could also lead to a loosening of trust in localization capabilities.

When to Perform Localization Testing

Since localization is often a continuous process that never ends due to content updates and new releases, localization testing is also a continuous process that can be a part of your workflow at different stages. It’s always a good idea to keep localization testers in the loop at all times, so they know all the ins and outs of your product and can easily do their job without any additional help. Let’s see at what stages you can work with a localization tester.

Inclusion of Localization Tester in the Regulars Calls & Meetings

This is one of the crucial points to include localization testers from the inception of the product. As a lot of teams consider the l10n team as a service provider, the final product is exposed to the l10n team only towards the release. This does not only put pressure on the translation aspect but also delays localized product availability for testing. Hence, leading to last-minute testing, not fixing all issues, and breakage of all the code. To avoid this, it is best to involve localization from the beginning and acknowledge their views. The responsibility to include localization in a timely fashion is owned by both the Engineering team and the Localization team.

Technical Training of Localization Testers

With the world moving faster and faster every day and technology upgrading itself every minute. It is in the best interest of the testers to keep up with new technology, methodology or style of working. This will give them leverage to not be lost and deliver the expected quality. Also, this will help them to improve their own processes and delivery quality.

Accessibility or Inclusion of l10n Tester with the Automation

Automation being part of the development team makes their life much easier. It would be a waste to not include the same testing strategies for localization testing. Of course, the automation tests need to be tweaked a bit as there are many languages on the spectrum of localization. Yet this is a doable process and should be worked with L10n and Engineering collaboration. Also, it would be a good idea to utilize the translation management tools to leverage the automation if possible.

These are a few of the pointers that can help any localization tester to keep in mind while working in the industry.

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Akanksha Babbar

Localization Engineer at Yara International (ex. Localization Senior Analyst at Dell International.)

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