Localization Testing A Step-by-Step Guide

6 min readMay 21, 2021

51Testing | 17 Years As A Software Testing Service Provider

A complete guide of localization testing, by 51testing
A complete guide of localization testing, by 51testing

What is localization testing?

Nowadays, many software is launched to different countries and regions, the process of adapting the software to the specific language, local customs, and culture is called localization. The test of this type is called localization testing.

Localization and internationalization are two processes of developing software for users in different regions of the world. While the internalization and localization tests are testing types for these products. Thanks to the development of software internalization and software outsourcing, internalization test and localization test are becoming a unique testing area.

There are many differences between nationalization and localization tests and other tests. Here are the key points of internationalization and localization test.

The difference between localization testing and internalization testing.

Internalization Testing

  1. Whether the appearance of localized software is very different from the original version, whether the appearance is neat and undistorted.
  2. Whether all interface elements have been localized including dialogues boxes, menus, toolbars, status bar, prompt information (including sounds prompts), logs, etc.
  3. Whether the interface is presented normally under different screen resolutions.
  4. Whether there are different fonts size and the font set are appropriate.
  5. Whether the format of date, number, and currency can adapt to different countries’ customs and cultures. For example, in Chinese, the date format is Year- Month- Day, while in English, it should be Month-Day-Year or Day-Month-Year.
  6. Does the language features are considered for the sorting method? For example, the Chinese are sorted by the phonetic order of the first world, while the English are sorted by the first letter.

Localization Testing

  1. Whether the appearance of the localized software is very different from the original version, and whether the appearance is neat and undistorted.
  2. Whether all interface elements have been localized, including dialog boxes, menus, toolbars, status bars, prompt information (including sound prompts), logs, etc.
  3. Whether the interface is displayed normally under different screen resolutions.
  4. Whether there are different font sizes and whether the font settings are appropriate.
  5. Whether the date, number format, currency, etc. can adapt to the cultural customs of different countries. For example, Chinese is the year, month, and day, and English is the month, day, and year.
  6. Does the sorting method take into account the characteristics of different languages? For example, Chinese is sorted by the phonetic order of the first character, while English is sorted by the first letter.
  7. The measuring units are different in different countries. Whether the software can adapt and convert.
  8. Whether the software can run normally in different types of hardware, especially the mainstream hardware in the local market.
  9. Whether the software can run normally in the local version of Window or other operating systems.
  10. Whether online help and documents have been translated, whether the link work normally. Whether the content translation is correct and appropriate, are there any grammatical errors?

Software localization and internalization testing are testing types combined with the translation industry and software testing industry, which require testers to master translation skills, cultural knowledge, and software testing skills.

The object of the localization test is the localized version of the software. The purpose of the test is to assure the quality of software in a specific target area.

The localization test environment is to install the localized software in the localized operating system. It can be divided into functional testing, install/uninstall testing, compatibility testing of the local software and hardware.

The test items are mainly the interface layout and translation quality of the localized software including software, documents, and online help, etc.

The test is based on the result of the internalization test, the latter verifies the specific regional function support.

How to do localization testing?

  1. Translation

This is the basic test item. Check whether all the content in the software has been translated into the local language and can be understood.

2. Text expansion

When English is translated into other languages, the length of the content may be longer, this is text expansion. It may cause some problems, such as the button text in the window is truncated, there is no line break, the automatic button length expansion causes a huge change of window layout, etc. Sometimes, it can cause the system to crash, for example, the memory allocated to English text is enough, however, it may be too small for other languages.

3. Character coding

Some software uses coding page and DBCS (Double Byte Character Set) to provide support for different languages, in some cases, problems may arise. For example, there is no conversion between coding pages, and the character displayed will be messy.

4. Hotkeys and shortcut keys

In the localization test, it is necessary to test whether all the hotkeys and shortcuts keys can work normally and conform to the local habits. For example, Search is translated into Rechercher in French, the hotkey is Alt+S in English, while it is Alt+R in French.

5. Extended character

The extended character refers to characters other than ordinary English characters A-Z and a-z, for example, there are so many invisible photographic characters on the keyboard. For this test, try to use the extended character in all the places where inputs and outputs are accepted to see whether it can process like ordinary characters, such as whether it can display and print normally, what will happen to copy and paste between programs.

6. Sorting and case

For different languages, the sorting rules are different. In some Asian regions, it is sorted by character strokes, while European and American regions are generally sorted alphabetically. Besides, for the case problem, the ASCII character uses +/-32 to realize, if using the same method to process other languages, the problem may arise.

7. Reading order

It should be notice that the reading habits differ in different languages. For some languages, e.g. Arabic, it is from right to left.

8. Text in graphics

Some menus use characters as icons, for example, B is used for the function of BOLD, which is easy to understand for English speakers, however, for people who can not understand English, it may become a problem, and the icon needs to be changed.

9. String connection problem

Many software put the content to be translated into a separate file outside the source code, which is called the source file. When the prompt information is dynamically generated, some text fragments may be used to form a large prompt message which is no problem for English, however, the spelling may be wrong due to the different order of words.

10. Content

The right content in a country can be completely wrong in another country. It is necessary to check if the content to be translated conforms to the local region. For example, it is right to drive on the left in some countries, but it is wrong in some other countries.

11. Data format

The data includes measuring units, date, time, phone number, paper size, etc. The data format divers in different countries. In addition to checking the correctness of the format, and sometimes, it is necessary to modify the code accordingly. For example, in some regions, the week starts from Monday, and in other regions, Sunday is the beginning of a week.

12. Configuration and compatibility

The configurations include different peripherals, such as keyboard layout, printer, etc., to ensure there is no problem in use, for example, the printer can print all the characters sent by the software, and can print the correct format in the paper of different specification.

Compatibility refers to when the data converts between programs of different languages, whether the measuring units conversion, extended characters conversion will be performed, etc.

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