Understanding All of the Important Facets of Localization Testing

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  • in English, it is recommended to reuse as many test cases as possible in the localization functional test pass. Typically, the Localization UI and functional testing can be handled by the same team that does the English testing, since one need not know the target language to take these up. In fact, since they have an understanding of the product’s functionality in English, their ramp-up to test for localization is much faster.
  • Translation testing –When faced with compressed testing schedules, this is often an area that is ignored or not done correctly; however, this is a very important component of the localization test effort. This is the phase where content verification is taken up to ensure translation correctness as well as suitability of the translated content for the target locale. For example, a Spanish phrase might be appropriate to use in one market but not in another. While some companies attempt to use translation tools to perform this testing, this is a phase, where reliance on native language experts is invaluable. If you have them navigate through the site to check translations, you are in a way also attempting usability testing, with potentially some realistic end-user scenarios.

Localization testing fits in the software test life cycle, slightly later in the game, regardless of the development life cycle adopted. It is good to intentionally position this particular testing later in cycle (unlike the standard mantra of “test early to reduce the cost of bugs”) because the cost of localization testing is significantly lower when done after the English test pass and one round of globalization and pseudo-localization testing have been completed. Fixing defects found in these cycles, makes the localization test pass very productive and focused on finding true localization defects.

Localization testing is a niche area with ample room for optimization, reusability and effective execution. The global wave is inevitable, whether you are a product company, consumer or a service provider. Irrespective of the role you play, being cognizant of the globalization process will help you contribute to the product's quality in ways that ultimately impact its successful global acceptance.

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