A quick internet search provides examples of marketing, brand, and UX issues when localization testing is treated as an afterthought. Clairol marketed a curling iron as a “mist stick,” even though mist is slang for manure in German. Colgate offered a toothpaste in France named “Cue.” Alas, that was also the name of a French adult magazine. UI in America is radically different than UI in Germany – something XBOX learned when releasing a new German dashboard that drew outrage. 

When entering an international market, it’s critical to have QA pros that understand translation nuances, culture and customs, and technology preferences of each location you target. While we can laugh about these mistakes now, it’s never funny if it happens to you.

If you don’t perform localization testing as part of your software testing strategy, it can be more than embarrassing: it can lead to rollout failure in local markets.

What is localization testing?

Localization is the process of ensuring an application looks and feels right to the target user. Localization testing verifies an application’s functionality and usability in a specific region. It checks native UI, language, currency, date & time formatting to meet the standards of that country. It must use language correctly and align with cultural norms. 

How to Perform Localization Testing

  • Define the countries and regions you want to cover
  • Define the variable you are going to localize
  • Commit to continuous testing
  • Define your KPIs

Functional and UI Localization Testing

  • UI localization, including issues like overlapping elements or truncations
  • App functionality, such as matching translations to UI functions
  • “Normal” sized buttons
  • Untranslated text
  • Validation of inclusivity in design

Language Testing

  • Grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • Currency, symbols, icons, pricing, and payments
  • Right-to-left language (RTL) evaluation
  • Client-specific app terminology

Linguistic and Translation Testing

  • Unnatural or inaccurate translations
  • Consistency of language across the app
  • Idiomatic testing, ensuring the right tone and relevance

Staffing an all-star testing team 

Testlio provides global localization testing experts who are fully vetted and fluent in functional, UI, language, linguistic, and translation localization. With access to thousands of real devices and operating systems, you get experienced testers to help identify issues and report even subtle language, cultural, technical, and inclusivity factors that can impact your success.

Kassidy Kelley serves as the Managing Editor for Testlio and works from her home base in Boston, MA.