Linguistic testing: so much more than proofing

By Rainer Plashcka
More info
Linguistic Testing: So Much More than Proofing

There are two certainties when it comes to localization services: first, every business has its own goals, and second, every business expects high-quality. It’s easy to say that you want — or even offer — high-quality translations. But what about when you need to know that not only the translation, but the final, localized product, is high-quality?

What is linguistic testing?

For complex localization projects involving software, apps, websites and multimedia content, it’s vital to make sure all the pieces come together perfectly so the final content runs smoothly. To meet that goal, linguistic testing takes quality control (QC) to the next level.

Linguistic testing takes place once translation and editing are complete. Linguistic testers display the localized content in its “actual” format just like the end user will see it so that they can review the translation in context. And aside from being a key QC step to ensure technical perfection, linguistic testing is also an essential part of making sure that your content speaks to your intended market in your brand’s unique voice.

What’s the goal of linguistic testing?

Linguistic testing is an opportunity to fine-tune and perfect the final product. Professional linguistic testers will identify, record and correct any inconsistencies or formatting issues that may not be apparent until observed in “real world” conditions. 

These include issues like:

  • Multiple spaces, truncated text, incorrect terminology or inconsistent translations
  • Display issues, contextual confusion, under- or over-translation and internationalization

How is linguistic testing done?

The ultimate goal of linguistic testing is to make sure localized content displays correctly, technically perfect and culturally appropriate for the target market. But have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make that happen? 

At this point, the translated content has already gone through the editing process — linguistically, the translation is correct. But linguistic testing goes beyond checking the words themselves. 

During this QC step, linguistics meets function. Professional linguistic testers step back to get a comprehensive, big-picture overview of the localized content in its final form. Of course, this process takes place within a development environment before the localized content goes live. 

First, testers usually review translated content side by side with the source content (also in its final format). This allows them to check for inconsistencies and linguistic bugs. They will also review for display and performance issues. Testers also take time to review images and the product as a whole for anything that could be confusing, frustrating or even culturally offensive to end-users. 

Not only do testers check that all translated content is correctly displayed, but they also go back to review your marketing brief or goals. This step ensures that the final product you release accurately represents your brand and appeals to your target customer. 

The linguistic testing phase is also often when legacy content meets the brand-new translation. It’s an important opportunity for linguistic testers to compare the two. They want to make sure that the new translation flows seamlessly with surrounding content and speaks with the same voice.

As they review, testers will record all issues identified in a test report or immediately correct them, depending on the issue.

Best practices

No matter which type of content you’re localizing, there are a few best practices to follow to take your localized content to the next level

  • Make linguistic testing a key step in your localization process for software, apps, multimedia, e-Learning content and websites.
  • Share your marketing brief or objectives with your linguistic testing team from the start of the localization process. This will serve as a resource to help your testers understand your goals, and ultimately engage your audience.
  • Remember that most simple linguistic fixes for grammar or typos happen early on in the editing process, but more complex issues like formatting may only become apparent when viewed in the final format.
  • Reviewing localized text in its final format not only leads to better quality, but ensures that your brand voice and style are represented.

Products that proudly represent your brand

Don’t take an untested product to market — take the extra time to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. Linguistic testing fixes any display and performance issues so that the product you release to the public functions at its best and proudly represents your brand. Before you take your website, software, apps or other multimedia content to new markets, contact us for a consultation about how linguistic testing can help.

Power your strategic growth

Go beyond tactical localization with tailored, strategic solutions that resonate locally and drive growth globally.

Get started