As we see the world changing around us with growing border disputes, demarcation of boundaries, and now a pandemic at large, it seems that the distance between countries is increasing perennially. However, the one thing that still has everyone connected is the digital space that has brought people closer than ever, today. The importance of the digital arena is rising exponentially for which organisations need to keep up with the changing times and trends in delivering a flawless experience to users around the globe.
Such times have concurrently brought forth challenges for technology product companies in ensuring that their product does not harm the emotions, culture and sentiments of users belonging to different regions, locales or countries. This essentially calls for a comprehensive test coverage, to help companies cater to customers worldwide. But what exactly can be an effective way to do so, one might ask. A very well planned and strategic Localization (L10N) testing is an answer to this question. There are very few companies who have exceptionally developed competencies around L10N functional testing with foolproof testing approaches. Provided herein, is an insight into some of the best Globalization (G11N) test practices that may help product companies when they go global.
The Layers within Globalization Testing
These types of testing may sound paradoxical to one’s ears but are rather interconnected. Globalization testing can be seen as an umbrella domain under which two essential components of Internationalization (I18N) and Localization (l10N), serve as sub-categories. While Internationalization follows the path of designing and developing software products that cater to target-specific audiences and locales, Localization tailors a product according to a particular language or region.
Globalization as a whole, oversees how well the product is internationally modelled to suit the requirements of an array of users. Globalization testing, thus, focuses keenly on making an application functionally viable across different languages. Localization testing emphasizes specifically on testing an application for a particular locale or language.
With this broader picture in mind, the next question that arises is- how? Well, this too, is coherently structured. There is no entrenched strategy for globalization and localization testing, as transforming times call for changing techniques and areas to delve into. A common framework followed, firstly, in globalization testing, is to ensure that all input characters rendered across languages are correct. This mainly is in terms of the UI and functionality, in which the enablement testing is conducted to ensure that the keyboard inputs provided render the desired outcomes.
With localization testing, the subsets that prevail are localization functional testing and linguistic testing. Since localization testing as a whole, targets locale specific requirements to be adapted into an application, localization functional testing mainly falls into the category of eliminating any functional discrepancies for a locale-specific UI. Linguistic testing, on the other hand, is an intrinsic part of localization testing carried out by linguistic or language experts to check for semantic errors and translation.
Growing Importance of Localization Testing with the Changing Times
Localization testing is gaining significance by the day, as an application’s universal usage comes into being when it caters to maximum users across the globe, for which making it area-specific, is a must. An end-to-end test coverage takes into account all the cultural and linguistic nuances present from planning to implementing a test strategy. If a particular region is targeted, the way the UI, date, time, and other aspects are produced, need to be aligned to that region’s cultural, linguistic and customary requirements. Localization testing makes this a reality by seamlessly targeting customers based on regional analytics and data-driven reports.
A shift that has been witnessed and is underway as well, is the augmented focus on Indic languages. As these fall within the realm of subcontinent, the growing prominence of the region in South Asia has become conspicuous as well. A concise focus on these languages has made the importance of localization testing more enhanced in the domain to cater to locales with specific languages. Another growing prominence has been witnessed wherein more efforts when put in for functional testing of applications in the English build, the more is the need for testing the localized version of the product.
A sweeping change has evidently been witnessed with the pandemic at play. As lockdowns were imposed and borders were closed around the world, the digital domain brought everyone together, be it for learning, shopping, or any other activity. Not only in this particular domain, but a change in the operations of businesses and revamping their strategies to attract and retain customers has simultaneously been witnessed.
Enhancing testing support in terms of usability has come into the frame with the fluctuating requirements from users, according to which the test coverage across platforms has undergone transformation as well. The changing market dynamics has forced a more nuanced approach towards localization testing within which the release cycle has been reduced. Continuous requirements have made developers and testers push for quicker releases, taking into consideration the new enhancements and functionalities.
Language as a medium, is an extremely strong force to put across thoughts and express the unsaid. To make it be put across with the exact intention, lies the role of localization and globalization testing. To consider content as supreme in accommodating each and every individual, the need to make applications accessible become imperative. This can be seen in similar lines of providing accessibility testing to ensure that applications cater to everyone, regardless of their different needs. Same is the case with language.
Localization and globalization testing is needed to ensure that all software products are available to all individuals, regardless of their language. For delivering quality products that encompass and take account of the maximal with minimal functional bugs in text, localization and globalization testing need to become the adoptive pathways.
Globalization and localization testing bring in a common thread for people to witness a close-knit world. Be it from identifying different UI requirements for currencies and denominations to different formats of writing one’s particulars in a form in terms of an interchange between the first and the last name according to different countries, a multicultural space has brought in a collective response of providing locale-specific audiences a targeted test approach.
The changing market dynamics are inevitable and with the pandemic, circumstances have become more demanding and diresome. For this, localization and globalization testing requirements have become enhanced as well as extremely relevant. Although everyone has been divided by boundaries and curtailed within the confines of their own areas, each individual can stand united with another with the help of an extensive approach to globalization and localization testing.