Internationalization Testing by a Language Expert or Technical Expert?

Internationalization Testing by a Language Expert or Technical Expert?

Technical quality test teams largely do not have the capability to understand any foreign language other than English.

But really, do you need to know foreign languages to perform Internationalization testing?

Here are a few points that would help you make a decision –

Firstly, you would be testing an English product in a localized environment and not the translated product. For example, an English application running in a German environment (OS, etc).

Test cases to perform step-by-step testing are available and help in navigating the application in a localized environment even if you are not cognizant of the complete functionality of the product, or if messages are being displayed in a foreign language. All the supporting applications would be in the localized language but your application would still be in English. Which means, all the error messages, popup messages, and so on will continue to remain in English.

You may have to navigate the localized environment, for example, configuration changes in the OS etc, and the technique to do this is to look for similar icons/symbols/pages and so on, in the localized OS as you would do in English OS otherwise. If you are having difficulty with language-specific messages which you cannot understand, then you must use the assistance of an in-house localization team or translation agency, which I assume you will have in your organization.

It time to reinvent your testing strategy and introduce I18N testing right from the planning phase.

Happy Internationalizing!



ABC of Internationalization, Localization and Globalization

ABC of Internationalization, Localization and Globalization

It is important to understand the software globalization development cycle and in that, the most important process is ‘internationalize first, then localize’.

Most of us think about translation and languages when we hear about Internationalization or Localization. Instantly, an individual would think, “I don’t know the language, now how can I develop or test?” They are scared to imagine software testing in Japanese, Chinese, or German. But, the fact is that you do not need understanding of the language (word by word) to validate internationalization.

Here are some fundamentals on Internationalization, Localization, Translation, and Globalization.

Internationalization is an engineering and design aspect for creating product for a world-ready market. The Internationalization process starts from the beginning of product design and lasts till the product is released to the global market. ‘Internalization-ready’ means that an English product can run on any foreign language OS. This also means that all the strings, resources, and text that is shown to the user is extracted from the source code and ready for translation. The product can be completely internationalized without translating to any other language. Internationalization is frequently abbreviated to i18n (where 18 stand for the number of letters between the ‘i’ and the ‘n’ in internationalization).

Localization means that a product meet the local needs such as legal requirements, and financial requirements that differ in other countries. Localization includes translation of user-interface strings, adjusting culturally-sensitive elements and any other task required to make the product usable in a particular language. It is as simple as a German application can run on a German OS. A locale is typically identified by language and region identifiers, such as US English, Austrian, German, and so on. This also means that messages are in their own localized language, and the user can input text/names, addresses, dates, and other data in the same way that they would put them down on paper. Localization is frequently abbreviated to L10N (where 10 stand for the number of letters between ‘L’ and the ‘n’ in Localization).

Translation is the process of converting words from a source language to the target language. Domain and language expertise is required to do the translation of software. Translation is frequently abbreviated to T9N (where 9 stand for the number of letters between ‘T’ and the ‘n’ in Translation).

Globalization is abbreviated to G11N (where 11 stand for the number of letters between ‘G’ and ‘N’ in Globalization). A product is globalized only when it is completely internationalized and localized, and can support multiple locales. In other words, G11N = i18N + L10N.

Selecting right translation vendor

Selecting right translation vendor

When a company decides to take their product(s) to global market they need to translate lot of documentation. It is necessary to identify current demands, processes to be followed, strategy for translating multiple products and still maintain consistency. Picking the right translation vendor is very important as it requires lot of effort from various teams, like procurement, finance, technical team etc

Key elements and tasks a translation vendor must do –

Ownership of Translation Memory (TM): Since you are new to localization industry you might not want to spend a lot to get licenses of commercial CAT tools but still want to own translation memory. As you own product IP and own all strings/words which have been translated by translation vendor. You should ask TMs in XML format on periodic basis and once when product is fully localized. You may not be able to see exact source and target side by side of TM but any XML editor will be able to show what XML (TM) contains.

File Sharing Mechanism: General issue is observed when the translated file is shared by vendor but you are not able to see translated content. This happens due to loss of specific encoding while sharing files i.e. using ftp tool. You need to make sure that English files sent and translated files received are in proper encoding. Encoding is not lost during upload/downloading files. Select proper FTP tool for sharing files.

Linguist – Qualification & On-boarding: If you are selecting a well-known translation vendor then you shouldn’t worry about the qualification of linguist as it comes default with the rates you pay for translation. In case of mid or small scale translation vendor it will be advisable to go through the complete linguist on-boarding process.

Translation Review Mechanism: You need to make sure that the content which has been translated is proper and adhere your quality standards. Reviewing the translated content by another vendor or by different set of linguists will uncover translation issues. Having a well defined process for review will not give you later surprises.

GUI and Help Content Consistency: When you are in agile software development, changes to UI and help happens simultaneously and frequently. Usually in such cases content for translation is less but drops are more in numbers. Vendor sends GUI and Help drops to multiple linguists to meet deadline and when this is done there are chances of having inconsistencies between GUI and Help terms. Having up-to-date glossary which can be followed by linguists will reduce such issues. Also, updating translation memory content at real-time will reduce such issues to some extend.

Translation Cost: Usually the cost is for every word which gets translated. There are additional costs like – File analysis charges and project management. On the other hand, you can save on words repetition and fuzzy matches. Repetition is charged at 20%-30% of new word cost and fuzzy matches are 50%-70% of new word cost.