Ultimate Guide to Localization Testing in 2024: Top 6 Benefits
From global companies to small startups, companies face the challenge of promoting a software product in regions and countries with different market structures, multiple languages, and different regional settings.1
Enterprises aiming to reach a target market’s local audience must adjust their application’s components, such as User Interface (UI), language, alphabet, and content, according to the targeted region.
Localization testing is a software testing technique that aims to eliminate potential bugs and complications during the modification of an application for a target market’s audience. This article aims to give information to businesses about this software practice, its importance, benefits, and use cases.
What is localization testing?
Localization testing is a practice that looks at a software product’s suitability for a particular target audience’s region, language, currency, or technological setting.
The goal of localization testing is to confirm that a software product’s behavior is appropriate for users in a particular country, hence the meaning of localization testing. See Figure 1 for the role of localization testing.
Figure 1: Role of localization testing
In localization testing, only the localized version of a product is tested. It aims to alter a website or an app in line with the desired language, locale, audience preferences, and local laws. You can see a visualization of the lifecycle of localization testing in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Localization Testing Lifecycle
Localization testing examines software’s:
- User interface (UI),
The testing process involves more than making sure the app or website performs as planned; it tries to provide a personalized user experience by selecting features and products for people based on their location, potential preferences, and the abovementioned specifications.
When to perform localization testing
Localization testing can ensure that the localized version of the application performs similarly to the original market version. If a company aims to develop an app that can be accessed and used worldwide, it should ensure that the app is suitable for each specific region they aim to reach.
For example, an application developed in the United States for the US market will most likely have English as a language, Latin characters as an alphabet, and a user interface (UI) suitable for American users. If the company were to expand the application’s reach to a country such as China, compatibility issues and bugs could arise due to a different alphabet, language compatibility, symbols, different date and time formats, addresses, and so on.
Top 6 benefits of localization testing:
The benefits of localization testing can be listed as follows:
- Localization tests can increase a company’s chances of success by spreading its potential to additional markets in different regions and locations.
- QA pipelines can detect translation problems, contraventions of regional laws, and legal infractions via localization testing. Streamlining the QA process allows defects to be found and removed much more quickly.
- People tend to use applications when they are available in their language. With localization testing, developers can provide a tailored user experience to the targeted region’s consumers, enabling better customer engagement and improving the development process.
- Teams can focus on other time-consuming productivity activities by introducing localization testing into the SDLC process instead of testing and fixing any location-based issues after releasing the product.
- Localization testing ensures that software products conform to all local rules and regulations.
- Localization testing shows users that the company is concerned about the quality of the product in localized contexts and enhances the user experience in a targeted region.
- Since end customers may easily see issues in localized editions,
Localization testing process and best practices
In this section, we will look at the localization testing process (see Figure 3), and the questions that need to be asked to ensure that localization testing is done correctly.
Figure 3 : Localization testing process
Build verification testing
Before QA begins any thorough testing, a small portion of functional testing called build verification testing is conducted. An environment for testing is built so that a high-quality testing process may be carried out. This facilitates the development of high-quality software testing procedures. Setting up a software testing environment will also encourage testing early and often. See Figure 4 for build verification (BVT) testing:
Figure 4: Build Verification Testing
Functional localization testing
Functional localization testing initially has a similar end to regular functional testing, which is conducted to ensure the software is functioning correctly (See figure 5). However, localization functionality testing aims to ensure that the localized version of the software is working the way it does as its original version. Localization testing focuses on three critical questions:
- Are the language resources loaded correctly? Does the software thoroughly display the right language, alphabet, and numerical format for each region?
- Is the UI fast and smooth enough for the target audience’s expectations?
- Is the software competent enough or adjusted accordingly to the region’s technological infrastructure?
Figure 5: Functional Testing
Regional localization testing
One of the most important aspects of localization testing is that it aims to customize the product with localization that is culturally acceptable to the targeted audience while maintaining the highest linguistic and functional quality level. Thus it aims to ask three critical questions:
- Is the product suitable for data privacy regulations regarding the targeted region’s market?
- Is the product pricing applicable to country-specific currency, tax regulations, and policies concerning the market average price of similar products?
- Is the product culturally appropriate for the targeted region’s audience? For example, an image in Country A could be perceived as normal, while it could be deemed offensive in Country B.
Linguistic localization testing
Global software products need accurate translation. Linguistic testing involves examining the quality of the translated text for the application’s localized version. Professional linguists who are native speakers of the target language perform this process of localization testing. They focus on ensuring that the user interface, website, and any additional text use the same terminology.
Localization automation testing
Simple and repetitive tasks like extracting and comparing text from screens are part of localization testing.5 That is why localization testing is a software approach suitable for test automation. Automated localization testing can bring further benefits by increasing accuracy and repeatability.6 Localization testing tools and bug tracking tools can also be used in software localization testing by QA teams.
You can use the following automation process for localization automation testing:
Pick an automation program to write scripts with.
- Assess a test scenario for the localization strategy test.
- Develop scripts based on the test scenario.
- Gather the data, then adjust the scenario to reflect a pass or fail.
However, it should be noted that parts of the localization testing process requires domain experts and knowledgeable linguistic professionals to interpret certain data. In that case specific test cases will be required for the application which may hinder test automation.
Localization testing challenges
Localization testing’s potential challenges can be listed as follows:
- Localization testing can slow the time to market due to the necessity of the creation of additional resources, the modification of services, and the investment of time in analyzing market dynamics.
- Extensive research is required for localized content. Testing teams have to have proven expertise about the product and the targeted audience’s regional setting. Limited knowledge can be a crucial bottleneck in localization testing and operating systems may not function accurately.
- The process is frequently expensive because local translators must be hired if the team does not have a native-speaking member.
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