What’s Localization Testing REALLY About?


2 m read


Mobile Application Testing, Tips & Tricks, Web Application Testing

Many applications that are developed today are not limited to certain regions or countries. Internet and ease of access grant enormous reach to apps. People from China, Poland, Hungary and Australia may easily play a game developed in Washington DC. The sky is the limit, but one question remains: will everyone on the entire globe enjoy the game in the way they were meant to?

Is translation all it takes?

People are different. But it’s not the language that differs us one from another, its culture and mentality. There are numerous factors that influence people’s choice in applications and decent development teams always aim at delivering solutions that fit everyone in the same manner. There are things considered fun in the US, yet those same features of the app may be misunderstood or even considered abusing in some countries.

Here is a little example: you have a gaming app, it’s like a fast food restaurant tycoon when the player will have to manage numerous processes in order to succeed with business. Surely your company would with to distribute the app to the entire world. Yet there is one tiny catch. Burgers are made of beef. If the app is simply translated, you will surely miss quite a pack from Indian audiences, hence cows are considered sacred animals in India. Or you can just replace beef with ham. You probably get where this is headed.

Localization testing

What does all this mean in terms of testing? Well, more work and less play, however the efforts are totally worth it. Considering all that was written above, what should we look for in the first place?

  • Features that stopped functioning dew changes.
  • Localization brings changes to text and that means possible overlap, misalignment, etc.
  • Controls can go missing.
  • Trust me on this one: localization brings up a ton of UI defects, especially in layouts.
  • This may be a shocker, but people all over the world use the metric system. Does your app? If yes, what did the shift bring up? Same goes for various currencies as 1 US dollar is worth more than 1 Russian Ruble.
  • Pay extra attention do dates and calendars, they will probably end up in need for some fixes.
  • Numerous file names were probably changed. How are they handling additional characters in paths/names?
  • Consider determining what new inputs will do to the app. New alphabet is a whole new ocean of opportunities to hackers and certain combinations of letters may simply crush an app. We don’t want that, do we?
  • Speaking of letters, does your app understand all the symbols new alphabet has to offer? Does it display them appropriately?

All the mentioned spots are places you definitely need to look for new bugs, however they are not covering all. Perhaps you know several different spots worth attention? Feel free to share them in the comments.

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