Basic functionality is, well, basic. And, as a business professional who is passionate about your company’s success, you know that maintaining a true competitive advantage across multiple markets requires a seamless user experience.
This means proper software testing before deploying a localized product takes more than simple debugging after development.
In fact, debugging is the last part of two different processes on the path to localized rollout. Multiple steps? Multiple major processes? We know that sounds more involved—not to mention more expensive—than most companies plan.
This is why we’ll cover the huge financial incentive in performing the localized software testing process right before we get to the steps.
The Cash Incentive That Backs Up the Customer Satisfaction Incentive
Catching problems before release dramatically reduces support costs –fixing Internationalization(i18n) issues after releasing localized software is 7-10 times more costly than fixing them during i18n testing. This brings us to our first major issue:
1. Plan Before You Build: Internationalization vs. Localization
Internationalization (i18n) separates the source code from localizable elements to let you adapt your software to a new market in a cost-effective manner. Consider it a universal frame or “platform” of common elements to which localized pieces are added.
An example of this platform concept comes from the automotive industry. General Motors’s Epsilon platform was the basic framework for nearly all the mid-sized front-wheel drives sedans GM has sold for two decades. A Chevy Malibu in the US shares many of the same parts with an Opel Insignia in Germany and the Holden Commodore in Australia.
Designing and testing the platform first allowed GM to save development dollars by sharing common parts while leaving room for customization to suit every market’s needs.
As in the car industry, functional testing and non-functional testing steps during the Internationalization phase of software development ensure the final products will all work when translated into other languages and run with different regional settings.
Product QA Checklist at the Internationalization Level
UI Issues and OS Compatibility: Ensure User Interface (UI) performs well with different operating systems (Android vs. iOS) and that your content is compatible with international keyboards
Unicode Flexibility: Either starting here or refactoring legacy code to Unicode lets you encode scripts for a wide range of languages
Adding Markup to Support Bidirectional Text: Some languages read left to right and others right to left. Ensuring this adaptability has been built in now saves money and heartache later
Using CSS for Vertical Text: Cascading Style Sheets are a powerful adaptation tool for creating automatic text orientation when a language requires a vertical translation
Organize The Text into Strings: This step sets up “packets” content so you can send them to translators with maximum clarity.
2. Localization: Tailoring the Platform for the Customer.
Once you’ve tested and proofed your internationalized platform, Localization (L10n) testing becomes significantly faster – with fewer bugs. In fact, functional localization testing usually includes comparative testing against the source product to find both functional issues and market-ready concerns.
Product QA Checklist at the Localization Level
Specific UI Issues: Do all your forms and buttons work in the localized version?
Text Flow and Readability: Are there text truncations due to formatting errors, and is the text size readable?
Error Message Problems: Are pop-ups and error messages localized?
Location-specific Formats and Currency: Date formats and currency conversions can be especially problematic if they are missed in testing.
Debugged links: Do your hyperlinks lead to the right localized URLs? Giving each language in your product a dedicated URL means each link needs to land on the correct translation. We’ve covered this topic in previous blog posts about local-market SEO results, so look if you’d like to learn more.
However, whichever strategy you employ, you must ensure you are guiding local customers to the correct translation of the information.
Translation Verification Testing: This final step puts a native speaker in the driver’s seat to use the product comprehensively and ensure all language messages get through just as you intended.
Ready to Go International with Your Tech? Chillistore Has You Covered!
It’s an exciting opportunity to grow internationally. But you don’t have to go it alone when developing a QA process for Internationalizing your tech and localizing your message. Our team at Chillistore has years of accumulated experience and worldwide resources to bring your software to every market you find opportunities in. And we’d love to have that expertise work for you!