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What is Localization Testing? Explained With Best Practices

April 18, 2024Sowmya Sridharamurthy
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What is Localization Testing Explained With Best Practices
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Different regions in the world speak different languages. And, its not only the languages that differ, they may have different ideologies, different standards and different perspectives on how the world should behave. But what do you when you are building an application for a world that is so diverse? You build in localization into it. And how do you ensure that this localization works? You test it via localization testing.

In this blog, we will learn the details about localization testing and what are the recommended ways to go about it.

What is Localization Testing?

Testing localization is an essential consumer level process to ensure that software applications are adapted to the language, culture, and other requirements of a specific region. It’s a crucial part of the software development process that can make or break an application’s success in a specific regional market.
Localization testing involves verifying that the application works correctly in the local environment, such as the correct translation of the text, the use of appropriate symbols and characters, and compliance with local regulations and standards. It’s essential to conduct this testing to ensure that the software meets the needs and expectations of users in a particular region.

It is a testing methodology where the software is tested from different localities in the world to test on the behaviour cycles of different communities across the world. 

Why do Localization Testing?

1. Improved User Experience:

Localization testing ensures that the application is adapted to the local language, culture, and regulatory requirements. This helps to improve the user experience and increases user satisfaction with the application. 

For example, lets say a company just launched a product to native english speaking residents. Now they want to expand their horizons to other regions around the world. Localization testing ensures to provide proper user experience by studying the different time zones, time formatting and languages. This will make sure that everyone is able to navigate to the product in the most convenient and easy way.

2. Increased Market Reach:

By localizing your application, you can expand your market reach and target customers in different regions. This can help to increase your customer base and revenue potential.

For example, consider a scenario where you have an application built and you would like to target it for specific regions such as Japan. Testing localization can help you identify the preferences of the region and the user interface that they like and the functionalities that they will prefer. This will help reach more customers from that region.

3. Compliance with Local Regulations:

Different regions have different regulations and standards that software applications must adhere to. Localization testing helps to ensure that the application is compliant with local regulations, avoiding any legal or regulatory issues.

For example, a pharmacy app that targets to be deployed in different regions need to check compliance policies on drug related information. For this, localization testing, the company identifies and addresses issues related to compliance with local regulations. Lets say, they discover that in some countries, drug advertising is prohibited, and specific information must be provided about potential side effects. So, they will have to ensure that app complies with the standards, specially when the app is opened in those areas, 

4. Avoidance of Misunderstandings:

Misunderstandings can arise when software applications are not localized. For example, a date or time format that is unfamiliar to the user can cause confusion and frustration. Localization testing helps to ensure that the application uses familiar formats and terminology, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings.

For example, lets say an application was originally programmed for English audience and after testing localization they found that a particular emoji used in the English version has a different meaning in another language. For example, the “thumbs up” emoji, which in English is a positive signal, is considered rude in some cultures. Ignoring these details can have a severe impact on the success of a product.

5. Competitive Advantage:

Localization testing can give your application a competitive advantage in the global market. By providing a localized user experience, your application can stand out from competitors who have not taken the time to localize their applications.

Localization testing is important because it helps to improve the user experience and increase market reach globally.

For example, Asia prefers a more minimalistic design and Europe prefers a more enhanced visually appealing design. Based on this information obtained from the localization testing approach, the company stands out from their competitors and thus gain more revenue.

Features of Localization Testing:

Sure! Here are the features of Localization Testing, rewritten in a conversational tone:

1. Localized user interface:

This testing ensures that the application’s user interface is tailored to certain target consumers. It determines if the interface is intended to deliver a comfortable and familiar experience for users in a certain location.

2. Localized content:

During this testing step, the application’s content is scrutinized to verify that it is compatible with local culture, habits, and preferences. The objective is to ensure that the target audience receives the content well and seems natural to locals.

3. Language compatibility:

This testing includes evaluating the application’s ability to support multiple regional languages. It guarantees that the software is language compatible with the target audience’s language needs, letting users engage with the program in their preferred language.

4. Hardware compatibility:

This test determines the compatibility of software and hardware particular to an area. It determines if the application is compatible with the targeted hardware devices typically used in that location.Remember, localization testing aims to adapt the application to a particular region’s specific needs, preferences, and technical aspects to ensure a smooth and satisfactory user experience.

How to do Localization Testing?

Setting up the testing environment is the first step in performing a high-quality testing process. This facilitates the development of high-quality software testing procedures.

1. Choose the item: Choose the component for which localization testing will be carried out. As a result, testing tends to be product focused.

Let’s say a software company is developing a game for an international audience. The app is currently in English, and the company wants to localize it for several other languages.

To choose an item for localization testing, the company might start by identifying key elements of the app that are likely to be affected by localization. This might include the app’s user interface, graphics, audio, and text content.

Once they have all these details, they might proceed to use localization testing for specific modules such as tutorials section which talks about the instructions and manual for how to play a game. This testing ensures if these instructions are understandable for the intended audience or not.

2. Produce Script: The script is produced based on the regional and cultures. For instance, the language for a US-specific application is set to English.

Once the testing for different regions done, we identify that certains regions wont understand the instructions in the manual that was originally created.  So we need to ensure to prepare instructions as per a region’s convenience.

3. Comparison: To assess the software’s quality, the local attributes and built-in qualities are now compared. For instance, the language or user interface may be contrasted with those of a particular place.

Now, testing on the whole as per every regional language is done along with other functional parameters.

Localization Testing Process:

  1. Setting up the test environment: The most important idea is to set up a high-quality test environment to ensure the software testing process is conducted in the best possible environment, leading to higher-quality results.
  2. Selecting the product: Select the exact product to be tested for localization to focus testing efforts on, making it more product-oriented.
  3. Generating the script: The next step is to create a script that aligns with the local culture and preferences, such as adapting the language to the unique place. For example, English would be used for the US region.
  4. Conducting a comparison: The quality of an application is evaluated by comparing the original program attributes to the localized ones, including features such as user interface and language.
  5. Analysis and results: The testing procedure is evaluated for success and efficacy, and the findings are collated and given to the development team, providing insight into the programme.

The localization testing process ensures that the software meets the target region’s cultural, linguistic, and technical requirements, ultimately enhancing the user experience and ensuring the software’s success in diverse markets.

Localization Testing Life Cycle:

Localization Testing Life Cycle:

Certainly! Here’s a quick rundown of each stage of the Localization Testing life cycle:

1. Analyse the software and its needs for localization.

2. Translation: Correctly translate text into the appropriate local language(s).

3. Review: Examine and evaluate the localized content and user interface thoroughly.

4. Bug Fixing: Address and resolve any problems or issues discovered during the review phase.

5. Integration: Ensure the localized pieces are seamlessly integrated into the software.

6. Product launch: Introduce the localized product to the target market.

In essence, the Localization Testing life cycle entails analyzing, translating, evaluating, issue resolving, integrating, and delivering localized software for a given market.

Advantages of Localization Testing

There are several advantages of Localized testing. Some of them are as mentioned below.

  • Improved User Experience: By localizing a product, users in different regions will be able to use it more effectively, as it will be adapted to their language and cultural preferences.
  • Increased Market Reach: Localizing a product allows it to reach a wider audience in different regions, increasing its potential market share.
  • Compliance with Local Regulations: Localizing a product ensures that it complies with local laws and regulations in each target market, reducing the risk of legal issues.
  • Competitive Advantage: A localized product can give a company a competitive advantage over competitors who do not offer localized products in certain regions.
  • Reduced Risk of Misunderstandings: By localizing a product, a company can reduce the risk of misunderstandings or cultural insensitivity that could harm its reputation.

Disadvantages of Localization Testing

  • Delayed Time to Market: Localization testing can also delay the release of the application, as additional time is needed to adapt the application to different languages and cultures.  This can result in a delay in the time to market.
  • Maintenance Issues: After localization testing, maintaining the functionality and material that has been localised might be difficult. The application might have to be translated during updates, adding time and resources to the process.

Automation in Localization testing

Once you have executed your localization tests, you might want to automate them so that you get to know as soon as anything related your localization feature breaks. Below are the steps you would have to follow to automate your localization tests:

  1. Identify the components: Finding out which parts of your programme need to be automated as part of localization test automation.
  2. Prepare the use case scenarios: Here, you decide the scenarios that would be automated for the components decided in step 1. Examples include local currencies, texts and visuals that are perceivable or not, Accuracy in translations, and Keyboard integration.
  1. Prepare the scripts:  Here you start authoring the test scripts for automation. 
  1. Once everything is set, execute the testing: When your scripts are prepared, you can perform preliminary testing to make sure they cover all the testing situations and provide the data you need to make any necessary improvements. Before implementing localization testing on a larger scale, it is crucial to carry out multiple first testing iterations to establish a thorough and consistent approach.
  1. Create a feedback loop: this step is to review testing results and fix any bugs or failure encountered during the test runs.

Best Practices Checklist for Localization Testing

The below points will help you decide and implement these best practices in your journey of testing localization.

1. Plan your localization testing strategy: 

It is important to understand the objective of this testing. What are the points that you would like to know out of this test? Jot down those points clearly. As a heads up, you can answer the following questions to help you with this definition.

  • What are the different cultures and languages you would like to test the software on? For example, Let’s say a software company is developing an e-commerce website that will be used by customers in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Spain, and Brazil. For instance, English for the United States and Canada and French for Canada and France. In this scenario, using cPanel for VPS could be instrumental in effortlessly managing the website’s backend, ensuring seamless updates and customizations to reflect the diverse linguistic and cultural needs of each market.
  • Which component is the main focus for this test?
  • What are the system requirements? What are the different operating systems you want to test this on?
  • Which tools would you like to make use of to perform the test?
  • How do you plan on capturing your tests?

2. Establish and monitor localized KPIs:

The first stage in verifying that your software product fits market needs is selecting the metrics you wish to test within the region and the local market. To calculate the percentage of bugs that are connected to localization, for example, divide the total number of complaints about localization by the overall number of complaints you’ve received. With the aid of this KPI, you may assess the success of your localization efforts and establish goals.

3. Test early and often, but don’t rush: 

Localization testing should be incorporated into the software development lifecycle from the beginning. It’s best to start testing as early as possible to avoid any costly and time-consuming changes later on in the process.

4. Consider if localization testing should be automated: 

Gone are the days where you manually perform tasks. Everything is expected to work automatically. This applies to testing as well. Ensure to not use manpower for repetitive tasks. Make your tests as automated as possible. This saves you so much time, accuracy, and productivity of the team. But what are the automation tools you can make use?

It depends on the type of test cases you want to automate. For example, you can use Testsigma to automate your UI tests for web, mobile, desktop and APIs.


Start automating your UI tests for web, mobile, desktop and APIs with Testsigma

5. Train the resources for internationalization: 

If your software is going to be available all over the world, this is important. Localization testing has to be tested to the global audience. It marks the most important use case when you consider all kinds of communities who most likely will be using your application. 

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your application is adapted to local requirements and meets the needs and expectations of users in different regions.

Example Test Cases for Localization Testing

  1. Language translation accuracy: Test that all text, labels, buttons, and other UI elements have been correctly translated and are free of spelling or grammatical errors in the target language.
  2. Date and time format: Test that the date and time format is appropriate for the target language and culture.
  3. Currency and number format: Test that the currency and number format is appropriate for the target language and culture, including the correct use of decimal separators, thousand separators, and currency symbols.
  4. Character encoding: Test that the software can handle special characters and diacritical marks used in the target language, such as umlauts or accented characters.
  5. Cultural appropriateness: Test that the software respects the cultural norms and practices of the target market, such as the use of colors or images that may have different meanings in different cultures.
  6. Local regulations: Test that the software complies with local regulations and laws in the target market, such as privacy laws or content restrictions.

How can Localization Boost Your Business?

1. Taking advantage of worldwide opportunities: Localization allows you to access a global audience, which opens up new markets and income streams.

2. Scalability: By including translation throughout development, you can swiftly adjust your product for multiple localities, enabling future growth.

3. Improving the testing process: Localization testing improves the entire testing process by streamlining QA operations, saving time and money.

4. Customer engagement: Localization fosters relationships with your worldwide audience, making your product more approachable, useful, and culturally sensitive.

5. Meeting language and device preferences: Meeting consumers’ native language choices and guaranteeing compatibility with their preferred devices increases satisfaction and sales.

Businesses may increase their reach, boost consumer engagement, and demonstrate their dedication to creating customized experiences for varied markets by properly adopting localization.

Summary

  • Testing for localization is done in software engineering to ensure that the product behaves in accordance with local circumstances or culture.
  • Content and UI are two primary areas that are impacted by localization testing.
  • The tester checks for things like grammatical mistakes, cultural relevance of the user interface, language mistakes, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is localization testing functional or non-functional?

Localization testing can include both functional and non-functional testing.

  • Functional testing in localization testing verifies that the localized software behaves as expected and that all functionality is working correctly in the target language and culture. 
  • Non-functional testing in localization testing, on the other hand, focuses on non-functional aspects of the software, such as the user interface, performance, security, and usability.

2. What are the main elements of localization testing?

  • Functionality: This involves testing whether all software functionality works correctly in the target language and culture.
  • Performance: This involves testing the software’s performance in the target language and culture, including testing its speed, response time, and scalability.
  • Compatibility: This involves testing the compatibility of the software with different devices, operating systems, and browsers used in the target market.
  • Security: This involves testing the security of the software in the target market, including testing its vulnerability to hacking or other security threats.

3. What is the localization workflow?

Localization workflow refers to the process of adapting software or content for different languages, cultures, and locales. It includes stages like:

  • Content extraction: In this stage, the content to be localized is extracted from the source files and prepared for translation.
  • Translation: In this stage, the content is translated into the target languages by professional translators or translation agencies.
  • Localization: In this stage, the translated content is adapted to the target culture, including formatting, design, and user interface elements.
Read More: Globalization Testing
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