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What is localization testing? Definition, How-to, and Use Cases

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?

Image showing what tests make up localization testing strategy. Small blue blocks showing off different items to test

Advantages of localization testing

Accommodating local cultural and linguistic preferences is crucial for enhancing user engagement and improving adoption and long-term retention rates. By understanding and respecting the unique cultural and linguistic nuances of different regions, companies can tailor their products or services to better resonate with local audiences. This approach not only fosters a sense of inclusivity but also demonstrates a commitment to meeting users’ specific needs and expectations in different markets. Moreover, deploying to new countries or regions presents opportunities to diversify revenue streams by exploring different verticals or pricing models. Companies can tap into new customer bases by expanding into untapped markets and increasing their market share. Additionally, ensuring global brand consistency in tone, voice, imagery, messaging, and functionality is essential for establishing a stronger brand identity worldwide. Consistency across different markets helps to build trust and recognition among consumers, creating a unified brand experience that transcends geographical boundaries. This cohesive brand identity reinforces the company’s values, strengthens customer loyalty, and positions it as a reliable and recognizable brand on a global scale.

Disadvantages of Localization Testing

When it comes to localizing content and UI components to another language, there is a potential for introducing bugs and errors that can affect the functionality and usability of a product for all users. Translating and adapting content and UI elements to a different language requires attention to detail, and any missteps can have detrimental consequences. However, finding domain experts and assembling a dedicated testing team to address localization issues adequately can be challenging, time-consuming, and costly. It is crucial to ensure that the localized versions of the product maintain consistency in the user experience compared to the original version, which may require regular and meticulous testing throughout the development process. This ensures that the localized versions meet the same standards and provide a seamless experience to users. However, balancing resources between developing new features and introducing localized counterparts can be delicate, as any arising issues may result in significant rollbacks and delays. It is essential to allocate resources wisely and prioritize developing new features and the localization process to maintain efficiency and minimize potential setbacks.

How to Perform Localization Testing

Test Cases for Localization Testing

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.

Automated localization testing

Building and maintaining extendable test scripts

Consistency in element names or IDs

Efficiency in automation scripts

When web elements are not language-specific and have consistent identifiers, highly efficient automation scripts can be created for internationalized applications. These scripts validate the application’s functionality, perform data entry and manipulation, and verify localized content across different languages. By leveraging automation, businesses can save time and resources while ensuring the quality and consistency of the localized application.