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Globalization has a new face now with strong support from the Internet and technological advancements. New and better business-to-business or B2B strategies have enabled companies to grow at a great pace and with immense flexibility.
It’s not a surprise to see different versions of a product or service for different geo-locations. In fact, it is a very powerful way to cater your product to diverse audiences. This is one of the greatest contributors to the growth of a business.
Localization can be considered for any product or service. It is a way to make a product or service easier to use and adopted by other businesses or companies in different geographical locations and cultures.
Let’s try to understand this with an example of a cloud-based kitchen management application. The software product offers multiple services for managing restaurants.
These restaurants are located in different geographical regions or countries. Now what localization does is it makes sure that the app is customized for that particular region.
If the same application is used by two restaurants, one located in India i.e. Bharat, and the other located in Japan, it’s obvious that the application has to be served very differently in terms of content, typography, language, UI, and payment currencies.
The features or functions or usability of an app can very well vary according to the region it's being used in. These can only be validated through proper localization testing of the software product or service.
There is another similar term that’s used interchangeably with localization (l10n) i.e. internationalization (i18n). They are surely related in the software world, but each of them serves a different purpose.
Since we are on the topic of localization, it would be good to understand the distinction to be clear. In this article, we will go through some of the key aspects of localization in the context of testing.
Along with that, we will also cover some of the related concepts that will help you get a better understanding of the topic as a whole.
Table of Content
- What is the difference between Internationalization(i18n) and Localization (l10n)?
- Top 10 Best Practices for Localization Testing
- Include the Expertise Of QAble for Localization Testing
What is the difference between Internationalization(i18n) and Localization (l10n)?
Internationalization(i18n) is the process of writing or developing software code that can be adapted later based on some code logic for localization(l10n) purposes.
To put it in simple words, internationalization logic is written by the software engineering team, and localization is the business app adapting dynamically through that code based on regions.
For example, the date and time displayed in the application UI have to be adapted according to the region where the application is being served. Here, the differences in the time zone are being accounted for.Internationalization comes before localization in the hierarchy.
This is the key takeaway.The differences might seem very subtle but it’s important to understand while we are on the subject of software development and software testing.
Top 10 Best Practices for Localization Testing
Now that we are somewhat clear on the term localization, let’s go through some of the most important things and best practices to consider for localization testing.
Conducting Proper Market Research:
- This is the first step while starting any business operation. Proper research of the market helps to find the potential opportunities that could be the target areas for your software product or business.
- Rather than relying on the existing market research from other players in the same niche, it’s way better to conduct your own.
- It’s true that it could take a little more time than using conventional methods. However, it may very well be the most trusted way to devise software testing strategies for localization.
- Including local business analysts and getting insights from them can help plan the testing strategies in a comprehensive manner.
Checking the Compliance Guidelines:
- Different geo-locations can have different guidelines for a software product. Proper compliance testing has to be conducted.
- This can help to avoid legal problems while the app is being served to users.
- This type of testing may not be the core part of localization testing, but it could most certainly be an important one to act as an add-on to it.
Prioritize What To Localize, and What Not To:
- The parts of an application being localized should be properly planned.
- Everything cannot be localized. Taking the above example of our restaurant management system, some of the key areas that could be localized and tested could be the language of the country it is been used in, the currency, and the time zones.
- The payment gateways have to be tested as well.
- These areas must be covered since the early stages of the product testing. If left unchecked, it could prove to be expensive at later stages.
- There are a lot of ways in which particular things like dates and currencies are being used. These must be accounted for while localization testing.
- For example, in some countries, the date is written in DD/MM/YYYY format, and in some other countries, it's written in MM/DD/YYYY format.
- Another example can be the currency decimal separator. One-and-a-half Euro is written as €1,50 and the same one-and-a-half Rupee is written as ₹1.50. The decimal separator is different for these two currencies.
Cultural and Regional Alignment:
- The UI and the content being served for the users must be synchronized with the regional practices. These must be properly represented and must be included in localization testing plans.
- This helps for a better conversion and retention rate for a business. In short, it helps to increase the ROI of your business.
- For example, if an app is being used in a Japanese region, if you show images of people from other countries, this could prove to be a downside for your app. The conversion rate would take a hit in such cases. There can be workarounds like using neutral or creative representations for the same.
- Also, the input elements such as names, addresses, and pin codes should be properly aligned with that region.
Prioritize Manual Testing Over Automation Wherever Possible:
- When we test for localization purposes, it is better to use manual expertise in a majority of cases.
- Automation can be complex. It’s certainly an option, but localization needs to cover regional preferences.
- These regional preferences may cover nuances that could very likely be overlooked in automation. Hiring local testers is a good option while testing for localization but it can be expensive.
- Documentation is the best place to look into while using any product or service. It is the ultimate truth of a product. This makes testing documents even more important.
- They must be accurate and complete. Proper user manuals and other supporting materials must be tested for a product being tested for localization.
- They must ensure that the usability of the product is maximum without information gaps.
Making Sure of Usability:
- Localization testing also has to keep the usability thing in mind. The user flows for different regions might differ based on the regional audience. This can be taken care of by proper usability testing.
- For example, there could be regions served by the app that might have fewer resources. Although the app has those extra capabilities they may not be relevant for a particular region or geolocation. These areas need to be tested to make the app more usable for the concerned regional users.
Utilizing Local Testing Expert (From the Region where the App is being Served):
- When doing localization testing, it’s best to hire or utilize resources from the specific region where the app is to be used.
- Traditional localization testing methods may not be enough for a region that could have a very different type of audience.
- For example, if the contents of a locality are targeted towards a certain geolocation, a tester from the same region may help make the software testing better.
Getting Feedback from Real Users:
- B2B products need to be ready for real-world scenarios. Regional diversity may affect the usage of the app.
- For example, if the app is some sort of delivery service through online ordering, the issues related to delivery might differ from region to region.
- Getting to know the issues through real users or early users of the app can certainly help a software product understand the issues better.
- Quality Assurance testers once familiar with particular issues related to a geolocation can perform testing with actual information. This helps in delivering better localization and personalized experience.
Include the Expertise Of QAble for Localization Testing
QAble truly understands the areas to be covered and to focus upon while Localization testing of B2B apps. Having team members with more than a decade of experience in QA consulting and software testing services , QAble ensures:
- Your product is functioning and performing correctly to achieve the intended results for different regions and markets
- Your product is validated for localization areas of software like languages, usability, and UI/UX assessments through functional testing, usability testing, and UI/UX testing.
- Best practices employment for your product through expert knowledge of testing and feedback mechanisms while localization testing.
- The best and the most suited tools are used for planning and executing tests through manual testing and automation testing.
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