Language-specific software testing

The aim of language-specific software testing is

Globalisation testing

The goal of the globalisation check is to determine potential problems in the design of the application that could hinder or even prevent a planned localisation. Such a check ensures that the application will function perfectly without errors in all planned localisation versions and does not exhibit any display problems or even data loss due to the localisation process when using the software.

A special test platform is set up to check these aspects. The user interface can be toggled between the source and target language or cultural area. It is also possible to install individual localised versions of the operating system, insofar as they are available in the required languages.

Functionality is a topmost priority when conducting globalisation checks. One of the most serious localisation problems is a reduction or crippling of program functions. This is followed by verifying the displayed texts. Unusual question marks, boxes, tildes and characters from the upper area of the ANSI character set may be depicted when reviewing the individual interfaces and dialogues, which usually indicate an incorrectly applied code page.

A thorough check is not possible for many points without in-depth knowledge of the respective language. Moreover, every language has different aspects that must be checked.

Localisability testing

This intermediate step is carried out before the actual software localisation. It consists of a basic localisation feasibility or suitability check. Ideally, this check is already conducted during the software planning and development phase. Special attention should be paid here to separating the code of the display and output texts. Titles or labels should not be embedded in graphics either. The consequent separation of code and data is the basis for a successful localisation process.

Some potential problems are detectable during the test for localisability even without knowledge of the target language.

When translating to a foreign language, some phrases and terms may take up more space than the source text. Adding neutral character elements makes it possible to recognise and eliminate display errors. For example, changing the term "Display Text" to "++++Display Text++++" or adding characters in the desired target language into the text to be displayed to detect layout problems. For languages with a different text direction such as Hebrew or Arabic, additional layout aspects have to be checked and tested.

After a simulated localisation of this type, the software can then be checked for display and program sequences to detect problems early on. The actual localisation process begins after conclusion of the test for localisability.

Localisation testing

A localisation test checks the quality of the localisation for a specific language or cultural area. This test builds on the results of the globalisation test and ensures the correct functionality in the selected localisation. The localisation test can only be applied to the completely localised application.

The localisation test checks all areas affected by the localisation including the user interface and contents as well as areas specific to language and region. Beyond basic functionality tests, installation and updating function tests are conducted as well.

Translation quality, accuracy, completeness and consistency are verified during this process along with a thorough comparison of the translation with printed documentation and the online and context helps. Lastly, the translation should also be evaluated with respect to political or socially sensitive contents before releasing the software for a specific market or region.

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