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What is Localization?

Localization (L10N) is the process of customizing a software application that was originally designed for a domestic market so that it can be released in foreign markets. This process involves translating all native language strings to the target language and customizing the GUI so that it is appropriate for the target market. Localizing an application requires a basic understanding of the character sets typically used in modern software development and an understanding of the issues associated with them. The localization process can also include translating any help content associated with the application.

What is Localization Testing?

Localization testing checks how well the build has been Localized into a particular target language. It is a part of software testing process focused on internationalization and localization aspects of software.

Localization testing checks the quality of a product’s localization for a particular target culture/locale. This test is based on the results of globalization testing, which verifies the functional support for that particular culture/locale. If the product is not globalized enough to support a given language, you probably will not try to localize it into that language in the first place.
Localization testing can be executed only on the localized version of a product.
Localizability testing does not test for localization quality.

Purpose of Localization Testing:

Products that are localized to international markets often face domestic competition, which makes it critical for the localized product to blend seamlessly into the native language and cultural landscape. The cost of a localization effort can be significant. Once you have the strings translated and the GUI updated, localization testing should be used to help ensure that the product is successfully migrated to the target market. In addition to verifying successful translation, basic functional testing should be performed. Functional issues often arise as a result of localizing software. Don’t risk the time and effort spent localizing by not performing adequate Quality Assurance.

The test effort during localization testing focuses on:

•    Areas affected by localization, such as UI and content
•    Culture/locale-specific, language-specific, and region-specific areas

In addition, localization testing should include:

•    Basic functionality tests
•    Setup and upgrade tests run in the localized environment
•    Plan application and hardware compatibility tests according to the product’s target region.

The localization testing of the user interface and linguistics should cover items such as:

•    Validation of all application resources
•    Verification of linguistic accuracy and resource attributes
•    Typographical errors
•    Consistency checking of printed documentation, online help, messages, interface resources, command-key sequences, etc.
•    Confirmation of adherence to system, input, and display environment standards
•    User interface usability
•    Assessment of cultural appropriateness
•    Checking for politically sensitive content

When shipping a localized product, ensure that localized documentation (manuals, online help, context help, etc.) is included. Items to check include:

•    The quality of the translation
•    The completeness of the translation
•    Terminology is used consistently in all documents and application UI

Thanks,
Kiran.

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Thanks Kiran for sharing this valuable information.

~Kiran

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