What is localization testing? Why is it needed?

During localization, it's essential to have a dedicated quality control process. Just like your quality assurance department tests new software features before and after they're released, you'll need a team or individual to ensure the quality assurance in translation.

Localization testing aims to verify that content is correctly translated, corresponds to cultural norms and requirements, and is uniform. This step is required because even good translated text can have logical issues or look weird in the ready software and catches the users' eye (in a negative way). The ultimate goal is for the localized version to feel like it was created specifically for that region, without any obvious signs of translation.

Localization testing can be time-consuming and expensive, but the Lingohub team knows how to minimize the problems of your localization and save resources.

One step back to internationalization

Before diving deep into the testing topic, we can't avoid the attention to internationalization. It is a fundamental process that will help you to localize the product with less trouble.

Before starting any translating and adapting actions, you should prepare your software.

Internationalization includes:

  • removing all hard-coded text;
  • removing hard-coded visual elements;
  • creating resource files with all the data that should be localized;
  • etc.

Internationalization is an essential step in localization preparation. To gain more knowledge about this, please read the article provided.

The localization testing - what should you pay attention to?

The main aspects of testing can be split into three groups:

  1. Cultural and regional nuances checks.
  2. Linguistic checks. Interfaces (UI/UX) checks.
  3. Let's go through these points in detail:

Cultural and regional nuances check.

  • Date and time formatting. There are several regional differences to consider - short and long spellings variations, the first day of the year or week, the current year, time zone, summer time use, separators, and 12 or 24-hour time formats.
  • Phone numbers and address format - pay attention to the separators, country codes, and postal codes - it is much more important if this data is used for shipping and delivery. The way of writing may be "Country/City/Street/...," or "Street/City/Country/...," etc.
  • Currency formats - in some regions, the currency sign is placed before the amount, while in others, after. In Canada are using both options - in the French-speaking areas (after) and English-speaking (before)
  • Measurement system and temperature metrics. It is easy to remember that the whole world uses the metric system and Celcius, except the United States, Liberia, and Burma.

Look at this article for a thorough understanding of number adaptation and figure localization.

Linguistic checking

At this stage, you must be sure about the following:

  • The text is clear from grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Text is unified - all terms and titles are translated similarly through all pages - this point is critical because your UI will be ruined if some actions/tools/titles’ namings vary through different pages.
  • There are no issues with text spilling over, wrapping, direction, or line break rules.
  • The unique national symbols, like umlauts, are present and used correctly.

Interfaces checking

Make sure that:

  • All the layouts are consistent.
  • Images have good quality and appropriate translation and adaptation. For example, if you target Muslim countries, you should replace all images with humans and choose neutral ones.
  • The length of the texts is correct to avoid the situation when part of the content can be hidden or looks weird.
  • All hyperlinks work with the correct language version.
  • Keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys work (for software localization.)
  • All functions provided in the source version are supported in the new one.

Additionally, take care about:

  • All the separators, special characters, and fonts are supported.
  • Pop-ups, notifications, and dialog boxes are working fine.
  • Interlinking in the new language version is correct - no other languages are in the links network.
  • Correct fonts and translations are loaded for each region.

How to perform the localization testing?

Before your team starts the testing, you must prepare the primary documentation for them. Often this list includes:

  • Testing plan. The employees should have a checklist of what exactly they should test and check.
  • Map of all customer journeys. The best practice will be to use the two approaches - the first one when the QA tests in a "blind method" and has no idea about the customer journey, and the second one when they have all the information and can go through all the user's steps.
  • Style guide and glossary - so the team can compare the requirements and results.
  • Additional information that can be helpful for your team - project documentation, projects wiki, etc.

Provide your team with a convenient process. This stage includes:

  • Communication environment building. Even if your team works from the office and can fast-ish discuss any question during lunchtime or by talking one-by-one, you need to build the process to fix all the changes and discussion results. The outcomes of any communication should be recorded in writing and always available to everyone.
  • Preparing for bug-tracking. Most likely, when developing and testing a product, your team already uses solutions that support them with this question. You may move the localization testing process to this environment, with clear rules for all involved team members.
  • Creating a reporting system. You can use the Gant chart, every day's standups, and reporting in the time-tracking system - the main goal - anytime to have an overview of the process and easily understand the progress.

Localization testing steps

To summarize the previous paragraphs, let's overview the primary steps of localization testing and how they may appear:

  1. The testing team gets all the process requirements (what and how to test and how to track issues and communicate with the team.)

  2. Checking all the layouts and all UI/UX requirements. Testing the interfaces' correct working (for different devices, resolutions, etc.)

  3. Checking the linguistic part of the product.

    (All bugs are immediately added to the bug tracker.) 

  4. After the bug fix, the localization QA team rechecks it and closes the bug or sends it back to the performer.

How can Lingohub help with localization testing?

Fewer issues = faster testing = fewer additional hours your team will spend fixing bugs. Lingohub has all and a bit more to simplify the localization process and avoid many issues. But first things first.

  • Integrate your localization process in the CI/CD pipeline. Agile methodologies have long been entrenched in development, so continuous localization is a best practice for teams. With Lingohub, your linguist will work in parallel with the development team, which means that the testing can be done consistently and avoid the same issues in the future. Moreover, Lingohub auto-detects changes or updates in source texts, so there wouldn't be outdated or duplicated content.
  • Avoid troubles with terms, titles, and naming usage. Lingohub has a great tool - a term base(glossary) where you can collect all the data about terms your team uses (will use). You can specify if the term should be translated, its case sensitivity, add the supporting images, and so on. Term base automatically provides the correct spelling during the translation, which means your team wouldn't spend time finding a suitable translation and wouldn't use the different translations for the one term. Additionally, your glossary will help the localization testing team because it will be ready for work anytime.
term base
  • Your interfaces will always be perfect. The language length varies - for example when translating German to English, you must lay from 10 to 35% of additional space. To act for sure and have a perfect localized interface - use the Lingohub Figma plugin. With a few clicks, you can transfer the texts from the Figma prototype to the Lingohub project and back. All your minor and significant changes can be tested just during the localization. As a result, you would avoid unpleasant surprises after the release.
Figma localization
  • Keep the project voice unified. With the style guide, you can describe which tone of voice your team should use during localization. At the same time, the prepared style guide will be helpful for your localization testing team.
  • Ensure quality control effortlessly. Manual tasks can lead to errors and waste valuable time. Lingohub's quality check feature aims to solve this issue by automatically detecting errors such as inconsistent punctuation, extra spaces, markups, placeholders, and terminology. Customers can set rules for translators, and the system will flag any issues based on those rules.

Wrapping up

If you possess the appropriate tool, localization testing can be straightforward. With Lingohub - an all-in-one translation management tool, you can be sure that processes will be automated and your team will focus only on the important. If you're interested in learning more about how our solution works and how it can benefit your project, schedule a demo with our team at your convenience. We're always happy to help.

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