The term 'localisation' refers to a zone or region or simply any particular geographic location. Localising a software application means that a software application will be loaded on the client machine, residing at any part of the world, irrespective of the language, territory or code page, being able to adapt to the client system specifications. So localization testing can be defined as testing an application for its conformance to the language or regional specifications of the target market.
A good example can be a game application. A game may be developed at any part of the world, but it is generally published worldwide. Hence when the game is distributed across different regions, it has to adapt itself to the prevalent locale standards (language, date etc.).
With rapid increase in globalisation, the concept of localising applications is gaining momentum. We can relate this with the overwhelming response that Android apps has received worldwide.
Android, owned by Google, which has a worldwide audience is available on Google Play covers a wide range of countries like Korea, Japan, India, Brazil and Russia. Localisation should be encouraged as it promotes an app all across and gather user reviews, so that the development plan can follow a certain path of execution.
Few examples of Google play apps are - weather applications, gaming applications, news applications, various ecommerce applications,have become crucial in the upliftment of a new era of digital world.
Localization Testing :The Right Perspective:
The end user will not accept something that is defective or has bugs in it. Hence the developer/tester must make sure that a user does not face any issues when he installs the application on his machine/device.
A common defect is in display, that is, in GUI translations. Often the GUI elements tend to overlap, strings get truncated and so on.
Appropriate error messages must be displayed when an issue occurs, like validation error.
Shortcut or hot keys must work correctly.
Dialogue boxes and titles must reflect the appropriate tasks to be performed.
Search and filter functions must perform as expected.
Time and date formats must work fine.
Include online help files and user manuals.
Localization Testing Checklist:
Pre-Localization Testing: The focus while performing pre-localization testing is on ensuring all the necessary documents, data, and the information is present with the testers before the execution of localization testing. It includes:
Background details about the product.
Glossaries for reference and consistency check.
Previously translated products for reference.
Evaluate Localization Needs: Evaluation of localization needs is done to identify the components/parts of the product that may require localization testing, such as color schemes, script direction, monetary schemes, appropriate images, etc. However, it also includes:
Identifying the people you are marketing for.
Understanding the localized culture, their financial habits, and language, so that the team can develop & deliver a culturally and locally appropriate software/application.
Market and competition assessment.
Define business goals for target market.
Research cultural differences and implications for communication style.
Appearance and Layout: This is done to ensure that the users of the target region have optimum user experience, without experiencing any issues or discrepancies. Here the focus is on:
Ensuring the localized images are of good quality.
The layout of the product is consistent with the source as well as the English version.
Line breaks and hyphenations are correct.
Functionality Testing : This is to ensure that the destination system is adapting well with the source interface. Functional testing includes the following:
Interactive text input based on different locales.
Font support must be there across the various regions
Date, time, currency and numeric values must adhere to the specific locale standards. They must strictly follow the rules set by the user locale.
Format separators must work appropriately (eg. Hh:mm:ss)
Region Specific Testing: The main objective of this test is to ensure that the various components of the software, application, or website region specific. Hence it is focused on ensuring the following:
The format of the phone numbers and date & time is correct and accurate, as per the target region/locale.
Colors are appropriate and express the desired message.
Licenses and product names are compatible with country-specific regulations.
The number provided should be accessible by the users of the targeted region.
It also ensures that currency conversions and formats are handled appropriately.
Linguistic Verification Testing: This testing revolves around testing the linguistic aspect, by reviewing target with source language application. The aim of this testing is to review translation of every screen and help topic, in runtime context. It emphasises on any network, file access or functional issues.
This Testing Consists of the following:
Accuracy of the translation is important. Therefore it is strongly recommended to thoroughly verify how precisely the language is being translated at the target locale.
Check for typographical errors.
Check for any text that may get truncated.
Verify whether online help, printed documentation, messages and various interface resources are consistent.
Conformance to system's input and display features.
Check the usability of the UI.
Assess whether the developed application fit into their cultural norms.
A very important factor is to make sure that the information about that specific market including website links, contact information and local product-support contact, are correct.
Test Localization Efforts: To ensure the accuracy of the localized software, application, or website, it is important to test the localization efforts, which can be done by:
Recruiting target market users or crowd-testing service as testers.
Testing localized product communication and user experience with testers.
Adapting localization based on the feedback provided by the testers.
Measure Results: Finally, measuring results should be an integral part of every organization’s localization testing process, as it allows them to gauge the results and make necessary changes if the targeted business goals are unaccomplished. This usually involves:
Preparation of tracking and analytics, as it allows segmentation by the target market.
Comparison of conversion rates of target market against past conversions.
Track the Return on Investment (RoI) for the localization project.
For the success of a business or to be specific- an application, it is necessary to forecast the risks that might be involved to make sure that we are delivering the right product that meets the customer expectations. So a check-list comes to our rescue and helps to mitigate the chances of defects to a great extent.