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Your Quick Guide to Localization Testing: Smart Tactics for Professionals

Your Quick Guide to Localization Testing: Smart Tactics for Professionals

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For every dollar you invest in localization, you gain $25… in ROI

Want to impress users across borders with a brand-new and localized website? Then this blog is for you. We share a few tried and tested localization testing tactics for professionals. So, grab a coffee and make yourself comfortable because we have a lot to unravel.

Testing plays a central role in any development process. Localization is not too far from development either. If you think of it, localization is just the other side of the development coin. And testing plays a huge part in ensuring your brand’s success through localization.
If you’re still in doubt about why localization testing is not important but vital to your brand, we’ve put down four reasons for you:.
Localizing your content to another market and language is not error-free. Testing helps eliminate all sorts of bugs and mislocalizations.
Elements like number format, dates, currencies, script alignment, special characters – all must be replaced with those used in the target language.
Colours and symbols should also be adapted to meet the local audience’s cultural expectations.
The localized version of your product, app, mobile game or website must offer your local users a meaningful experience and preserve the look and feel and functionality of the original.
Ready for a deep dive into the nitty-gritty of localization testing?
First things first…

What is localization testing, exactly?

Judging by the presence of the word “testing”, you are safe to assume that localization testing is the final stage of the whole localization process whereby localization engineers, testers, programmers, and translators ensure that your product or UI/UX meets the cultural, linguistic, and usability expectations of a specific country or region.

At this stage, you need to ask your team these questions:

1. Does the UI/UX resemble the original product?

2. Are all UI elements correctly translated?

3. Does your product design fit any screen size and device?

4. Are the font family and sizes consistent across all language versions?

5. Are the dates, numbers, measurement units, etc., adapted to the new locale(s)?

6. Is your mobile app or website compatible with the software and hardware used in the target region?

7. Have user guides, instructions, tutorials, placeholders and internal links been translated into the target language?

8. Is the content error-free?

9. Does your product meet the local compliance norms?

If you’ve reached this far in the article, you must have realised that localization testing goes far beyond translation and proofreading. It requires the talent and expertise of an entire team of professionals with a solid technical and linguistic background, and also, lest we forget – project managers. We need to have some busy bees around us to ensure everything goes by the book and is on schedule, don’t we? Those are the PMs right there.
In addition, automation also has a part in this mix, especially on the admin side of things, relieving part of the pressure your project management team is under. Task management tools like JIRA, ASANA, or can serve as a single source of truth for all stakeholders if used correctly.

Localization testing workflow

Ever heard of the three Ds? That’s Design – Development – Delivery for you. Unlike creating a new product from scratch, you work with translated content and adapted functionality and features when localizing.

To ensure everything is pitch-perfect, localizers need to create test cases, report issues, fix bugs, and retest the product several times along the way. Let’s see what’s involved.

Design testing

Languages like Arabic and Hebrew, for example, read from right to left. When localizing your UI to these languages, you must first ensure that you have accommodated all the language elements without any issues.

Typically, this is done at the front end, involving mainly visual elements, dialogue boxes, toolbar, menus, and dynamic content (pop-ups).

Now that you know what elements to look at and test, let’s take a step further and see exactly how it’s done.

Testing the right way

To ensure your input and output are aligned, use extended character sets like DOS, Unix, or HR, not ASCII.
Teach your development system and browser to rely on user preference for collecting data such as dates, times, measurement units. This will help you ensure these bits of text are correctly formatted.
Use mockups or pseudo-localizations to identify potential areas for improvement.

Design testing is the first and easiest part of localization testing as it mainly involves the expertise of designers and developers, with minimal or no involvement from the part of the localization manager.

Development testing

This stage is all about functionality and testing how well your product works in another region, regardless of the language. All front-end and back-end aspects are rounded up to check usability, interoperability, etc. – in short, the user journey.

Things can get a little hairy if you don’t use checklists like the one below. So, let’s dig in!

Testing the right way

Make sure that the product is stable after localization.
Double-check whether older versions of the product are working when localized.
Play around by upgrading, downgrading, uninstalling and reinstalling local versions of your product on different devices with different operating systems.

Because we haven’t left the design and development phase of the localization testing process, no PM involvement is required.

Delivery testing

Finally, it’s time to round it all up. Delivery testing is the final and most important stage of localization testing because now we focus on all things linguistics and culture. Grammar, spelling, style, terminology are being minutely checked by the translation and localization team to ensure that the copy is accurate, consistent in style and terminology, and preserves the tone of voice of the original.

It is at delivery testing that any mistranslations are identified and corrected. Here are your testing tips.

Testing the right way

Engage native speakers in the process; ask them if they can spot any inconsistencies or wrong phrasing in the content.
Hire a post-editor to review and approve the translation.
Double and triple-check the translation strings to ensure the segments resulting after localization match when the content is put together.

This step may require more time and more pairs of eyes than the previous ones as it’s the most complex. You may need all hands on deck for this one to ensure everything is just right.

Nail localization testing

One of the most common challenges facing localization testing is when to do it. Should you do it before or after development? Before or after delivery? The right answer? During each stage and as often as you can.

Because testing your content localization before the product is designed and developed may prevent you from seeing how well they work together or not. Identifying any errors in translation would hinder project delivery, leading to significant delays, with the content sent back to translation, revision and re-testing. Save yourself all this hassle with intelligent localization testing.

Pangea Global’s intelligent localization solutions allow you to view the status of your project in real time, making it easy to identify areas that could be perfected, corrected and tested as the project advances. This enables you to simultaneously develop and test your localized product across all stages – design, development, and delivery.

Localization is a path fraught with challenges. You are not alone. Contact us if you want to increase your ROI.

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