Thursday, August 9, 2012

Localization Testing

What is localization testing?

Applications/Software/products are converted from one region to another or you can say that the software is translated so that it can be adapted for use in foreign market. Testing needs to be done to make sure that the application is properly localized. This is known as localization testing.

For example, a game made in India might be exported to other countries; therefore it has to be translated into the native language, so that people of that country can use it comfortably.

What items should be covered/tested during localization testing?

During localization testing we need to concentrate on many things including below:

1. Verify application’s GUI translations, as well as quality and totality of the translation. The usual types of defects found include (but not limited to): overlapping of GUI elements, truncated strings etc.
2. All messages (validation, error, information etc.)
3. All tooltips.
4. Shortcut keys or hot keys.
5. All dialog boxes, titles etc.
6. Searches and filters work as required.
7. Sorting (sorting rules vary from country to country).
8. Time formats.
9. Date formats.
10. Currency formats.
11. Images or text used in images.
12. Basic functionality testing.
13. Grammatical mistakes.
14. Online help files, user manuals etc.

Importance of localization testing

Google’s Sr. Engineering Director Patrick Copeland says "Our global customers have different demands of our products. We want products to ‘feel local’ and to support features that may be unique to specific markets. For instance, in India-based languages using a standard keyboard is difficult, so we develop strategies like virtual keyboards or category browsing for search. As we specialize our products for certain markets, it introduces more challenges for testing (e.g. requiring special cultural knowledge)."

Another case of importance of localization using examples from Facebook, Angrybirds and MySpace.

Users can use the product more efficiently and are less prone to errors in case the product is localized in their native language.

In today’s world, competition is aggressive and in order to attain more profits and be in the game for long run, products need to be sold in many different markets separated by languages and cultures.

Good resources on Localization testing

1. Localization Testing on MSDN [Link]
2. Globalization Step-by-Step - Localization Testing [Link]
3. Best practices in localization testing [Link]
4. Localization & Internationalization Testing [Link]
5. Localization Testing Checklist
6. Automating Localization Testing [Link]
7. Software localization testing at iSP [Link]
8. Localization in the Agile Environment [Link]
9. Top 10 Tips for Software Globalization Testing [Link]
10. Internationalizing Testing [Link]
11. The Importance of Software Localization [Link]
12. The Importance of Software Localization
13. Localization of Computer Software [Link]