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Linguistic Testing


Software testers test a product to verify and validate its functional and performance attributes, which helps them to meet user’s requirements and to fulfill their expectation adequately. However, nowadays software products are developed for global competition, which has raised the need for performing tests like localization and linguistic testing, as they ensure the cultural and linguistic appropriateness of a software product. Linguistic testing, a type of software testing, has gathered great significance among software testers, for this reason. Therefore, this article looks at what linguistic testing is and how crucial is it for the success of a software product.

What is Linguistic Testing?

Linguistic testing is a subset of the non-functional testing, which is used to evaluate the context and language attribute of a software product for a particular area or audience. It helps to make the software culturally appropriate by testing aspects like context, grammar, language standards, rules, and regulations.

Moreover, with the assistance of linguistic testing, the testing team can make the software or the website of global quality and ensure that it caters to the requirements of people from a specific culture.

What is the Need of Linguistic Testing?

Before a software product is released in the market for its intended use, it is crucial for the team to ensure that it has flawless content and error free language for its respective localized version, so that the end-users can understand the features and working of a software product, in an easy manner.

As most users judge the quality of a product, based on its context, any discrepancy or issue in it can severely impact the organization’s name and brand in the local market. Therefore, to avoid such a scenario, linguistic testing is implemented on the software by the organizations, to ensure its accuracy.

Features of Linguistic Testing:

Performed by linguistic tester, to ensure that the final product conforms culturally and linguistically to a region’s or locale’s requirement, linguistic testing plays a significant role in the success of a software product. Other important features of this testing are:

  • Linguistic testing is a subset of Localization Testing.
  • It tests the localized content, screens, functionalities, and UI for their accuracy as well as cultural appropriateness.
  • The test is focused on the context in linguistic usage.
  • It is performed during the final stage of software testing life cycle (STLC).
  • It is a quality assurance test for language and other linguistic issues.
  • Ensures the software product conforms to the cultural context of the market it is intended for.

How to Perform Linguistic Testing?

For testing the linguistic feature of a software product, generally a translator is deployed, who goes through and uses the localized version of the product, to detect out the flaws present in the content, with respect to the local area.

However, the product owner, may not want to grant complete access to the translator, to make use of the software application, keeping in view the software's integrity. This hinders the translator from checking the product completely, which may include frequent changes in the features or functionalities and subsequently needs to changes in its translated version.

Process of Linguistic Testing:

The process of linguistic testing can vary from one organization to another. However, there are some basic steps followed by linguistic testers to ensure the linguistic accuracy and quality of their software product. These steps are:

  1. Internal Resources of the organization: It may be seen as one of the cost-saving solution, employed by the organization, where organization's employees, proficient in multiple languages, are used to carry out the linguistic test over a software product.However, it might be possible that the language proficiency of all the employees does not meet the criteria of specific number of languages used in the product, then the organization may opt to chose external economical resources, such as students, which may easily perform the linguistic test, at a much lower cost.
  2. Hiring linguistic experts:

    A better and reliable approach, to hire and bring linguistic experts onsite. With this approach, an organization may ensure the flawless execution of the linguistic tests, along with its involvement in it, so as to monitor and control the testing process, and helps to carry out immediate changes in the software product.

  3. Setting up remote access:

    Sometimes linguistic experts may find themselves out of schedule & time, to work on the onsite environment. Thus, an organization may create and set up infrastructure to provide remote access to the linguistic experts, to work, at their convenient, keeping in the view the integrity and secrecy of the software product.

  4. Capturing Screenshot:With the secrecy, confidentiality and integrity associated with a software product, a company may not want to bring linguistic experts on the onsite environment or may not want to grant access to their product, before its market release. In that case, capturing screenshot of the required product screen, with the help of certain automation tools for creating screenshots, and thereafter may be provided to the linguistic experts to carry out the test. However, the rate of investment should also be consider while considering this approach, as it requires good amount of time and efforts in purchasing, setting up and programming the tools, such as if it is required to test a software product for more than 200 languages, then it will be beneficial to consider this method.

Scope of Linguistic Testing:

While performing linguistic testing, the following aspects should be covered by the team, to ensure complete linguistic accuracy of the software. Hence, the scope of linguistic testing should cover following aspects:

  • The translation process of the software should be done accurately, while keeping a track of terminological inconsistencies.
  • The tone and the style of the software content should be cross-checked and verified.
  • Cultural appropriateness should be assessed by the team.
  • Check for all spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Ensure that all the text corresponds with the correct images.
  • Finally, make sure that there are no shortened or misplaced words in the software/application.

Linguistic Testing Best Practices:

To get best results from their assessments, organizations around the world adopt various best practices, which make the process hassle free and time & cost effective. Few of these best practices used to carry out the process of linguistic testing as stated below.

  • Identifying the coverage and the testing team during the initial stages of testing.
  • Simplify the testing process, as not all linguistic testers are test savvy.
  • Be prepared as well as open to linguistic issues and defects from testers.
  • Incorporate a linguistic review at the design stage of the software product.
  • Constantly review and rectify the issues reported by the testers.

So, Localization testing and linguistic testing are similar terms?

Although, at some extent they sound similar, but have differences between them. Both testing types, often seen as a same testing approach, due to the evaluation of local features of a software application. However, localization testing and linguistic testing emphasizes on different aspects. The former examines the localized functional and non-functional features including its correct functioning, appearance, usage, etc. whereas the latter emphasizes on the context- grammar & rules, language standards, rules and regulations.

Conclusion:

Apart from the functional and non-functional quality, a software product must also adhere to the localization and linguistic standards, to fulfill the needs and requirements of the users, belonging to a specific cultural background, territory or area. If ignored, these aspects can impact the company's value in the local market. Therefore, organizations can perform linguistic testing with the assistance of the above stated practices or they can outsource the 3rd party for the task, to ensure flawless and accurate context and language in the software product.