In-context Testing for Websites and Software in Translation

Category: Software Translation, Website Translation

Would you serve a meal at a dinner party you hadn’t tasted first? Probably not.

Even if you bought the finest ingredients, followed the recipe word-for-word, and felt sure it looked right, you wouldn’t think of plating it without at least a sample.

It’s a simple matter of due diligence. You want your guests’ experience to be flawless, right?

Why is it, then, when it comes to localizing products for global markets, do so many companies minimize the importance of quality assurance testing?

For users, hard work behind the scenes is meaningless. Their perception of your brand depends upon the runtime experience. Localization testing ensures their experience is what you hope it will be, so much so that we included it in this top ten tips article. After translation, localization QA identifies cosmetic and functional issues specific to your target languages.

In-market linguists, running your translated product on a local platform and operating system, can spot problems to correct before your users experience them.

Here are three areas in particular you’ll want to test:

1. Locale awareness: When a visitor chooses their language for your product, do all of the inputs and displays convert accordingly? This includes numbers, date/time, weights and measures, calendar formats, currency, names and titles, telephone numbers, addresses and postal codes.

2. Keyboard input: Test as your users will use your product. Don’t rely on “cut and paste” methods. Direct keyboard input should work in all fields, especially for “dead” key combinations (for diacritics) and when using input method editors (for East Asian character languages).

3. GUI (Graphical User Interface) elements: Do a complete inspection of dialogue boxes, dropdowns, list controls, buttons, icons, and menu items. Look for string rendering errors, aesthetic gaffes, and overlooked “hardcoded” strings.

While your tech staff may be familiar with the languages you’re using, it’s best to go for real-world beta testers when possible. This can involve crowdsourcing QA audiences from in-country users of your product. Their awareness of user lingo and product-specific jargon in your target market can be invaluable when it comes to the final “season to taste” moment for your launch.