Global software and website testing best practices


When you’re ready to have your software or website adapted for new markets, there is much to consider. Having a globalization strategy ensures your software user interface, website or mobile apps will function across operating systems, browsers, channels and devices in all languages. So, which kind of testing will you require to ensure your final product is top notch?

The appropriate software (or website) testing strategy is ultimately the foundation for ensuring success in a global release. You wouldn’t want to ship a localized product to China, for instance, with unreadable, corrupted text that runs off the page.

Software and website testing ensures you deliver a high-quality product and that the user experience in the target markets is not degraded. It saves you time and money, too. After all, finding these errors post-release can mean costly rework and having to address them multiple times (for each target language).

Let’s take a look at three software and website testing best practices so you can avoid any and all setbacks.

1. Internationalization readiness testing


How primed is your software or website for localization? That’s what internationalization readiness testing can tell us. Internationalization testing uncovers problems, which might surface during the localization process and eliminates them earlier in the product lifecycle.  Think of it as taking preventative measures to ensure localization will go smoothly.

Internationalization testing can show us how well your product functions in an international environment – including how it interacts with native language operating systems and third-party applications. We assess how your product can handle different characters and writing systems (for example, bi-directional scripts. Think languages that read right to left, like Arabic).

We’ll also check to see that your product can support a multilingual user interface and locale-specific formats for time and dates, currency symbols, phone numbers, address and zip codes and so much more.

We then supplement this with pseudo localization, where we test how your strings will look in a given target language, which helps us to identify hard-coded strings and potential over-translation issues (for example, if a user interface string is also referenced within the code, which would impair functionality). It will also highlight any probable design issues with how the product can accommodate a translated interface.

2. Localization testing

While internationalization readiness testing occurs before translation, the next two testing services are conducted after a significant portion of translation work has been completed. The purpose of localization software and website testing is to verify the user interface and layout of the application from a localization perspective.

Generally speaking, the localized application needs to look and function the same as the original application. Consequently, the typical test setup includes both versions of the application to test, the original and the localized side-by-side.

 Here are some areas we look at during this test:

  • Verification of the UI functionality and aesthetics
  • Hotkeys check and support of international keyboards
  • The generated build includes all the necessary files
  • Functionality in localized version(s) is consistent to the source product
  • The localized screen has the same number and type of elements as that of the source product
  • All locale-specific characters appear correctly
  • No words run over buttons or get cut off on the page

Basically, we want to be sure everything appears correctly and functions how it should after translation happens.

3. Linguistic Testing

Linguistic testing is distinguished by the fact it’s performed by a native speaker of the target language.  Linguistic testing conducts an evaluation of the product for target market linguistic and cultural appropriateness. Although, there is overlap with localization testing; the scope of linguistic testing is more comprehensive. For example, there might be a dialog box that refers to another dialog screen, or perhaps to the localized operating system.

A linguist can view the strings in the environment where they naturally reside instead of in an isolated source text file or a translation tool. This allows the linguist to get a better understanding of the context and flow of the product, and gives greater clarity into which translation is best to use – which means better translation quality.

Let’s look at an example. The word “home” has many meaning possibilities. It can refer to an action button that helps you return to the homepage of a website. It can also be a noun indicating you should enter your home address on a contact form. Seeing the translation in context clears up any ambiguity around which translation is correct.

During this step, the linguist will ensure the copy fits the locale, is contextually accurate, consistent and matches your company’s branding preferences.  Test management can eliminate any redundancies between localization and linguistic testing by setting up thorough test plans.

Global software and website testing final thoughts

As end-to-end content globalization specialists, Acolad software and website solutions are integrated with our client's content strategy. Acolad added value solutions include a broad range of testing services to ensure an optimal target user experience. Our subject matter experts can provide a global release strategy, which includes an internationalization readiness analysis, pseudo localization, testing management and detailed roadmap of the product life cycle and target release date.