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Globalization Testing: A Should for Product Localization

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Globalization Testing: A Should for Product Localization

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Globalization Testing: A Must for Product Localization

Companies that are serious about the globalization of their products have to do a lot right in order to meet the expectations of international users. In two previous articles, we looked at the implications of enhanced product experience and how agile product development has led to a demand for continuous localization. This time around, we’re looking at one of the most overlooked prerequisites for successful product globalization: globalization testing and quality assurance.

No company would release new or updated software or other products in its home market without extensive QA testing. However, this is not always the case with localized product versions. We’ve all heard the stories – some apocryphal, others completely true – of catastrophic translation errors and cultural gaffes, but there are other pitfalls as well.

In a recent case, it emerged that an important new mobile phone feature relied on the availability of a 5G network in order to function properly. This was not a problem in the home market of the product it was developed in, but it turned out to be a recipe for disaster in countries with slower 5G launches.

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The requirement for this type of test goes beyond language and is perhaps why some LSPs stay away from globalization testing and QA. Linguistic and cultural aspects play an important role, however, and there is an opportunity for all language service providers to offer a more comprehensive localization service, even if they have to work with global product testing experts.

What the experts do

Whether you call it globalization testing or international QA, the purpose is simply to make sure that every aspect of the product works as required for a given locale.

In addition to testing the linguistic and cultural elements, this includes testing that the product works correctly on all relevant platforms and devices. Functional tests are complemented by UX tests, where real users in the target market are asked to complete tasks through a series of test cases and indicate their reactions to the experience.

Localized versions are tested to ensure that they are linguistically correct, that cultural elements such as date and money formats are correct, and that the product works as expected (no problems due to the lack of a 5G network for example).

Behind the scenes, globalization testing requires specialized skills, from the ability to develop test plans and automate tests to expertise in software localization engineering (analyzing, creating, and mastering files, and troubleshooting and reporting).

For a high-tech company that supports RWS, we regularly find and fix over 1,000 unique bugs, ranging from problems with language display and missing address fields to missing parental controls for certain locales.

There is also an increasing need to test and train AI-controlled applications for multilingual use. In another example, we worked with a development team to test their automated speech recognition / text-to-speech (ASR / TTS) system. This included testing more than 8.5 million utterances for audio interference, mispronunciation and intonation problems, as well as 800,000 utterances for audio quality and naturalness of speech.

A good globalization test service also understands that successful product globalization begins with internationalization, building compatibility and localization capacity through to the product design and development phase. It makes every other step on the road to international product success so much easier and is often the first step in solving recurring localization problems discovered during globalization tests.

Close the loop with globalization tests

The ability to offer globalization testing is a great way for LSPs to differentiate themselves from customers who do not have the skills or resources to manage tests across one or a few markets. A manufacturer of smart home devices, for example, had a small in-house test team, but couldn’t easily scale to more languages. Read the full story to see how we could help you.

Just like this smart device maker, companies around the world are increasingly looking to pay as much attention to their international markets as they do to their home market. And as we’ve seen in this series of three articles, delivering a great global product experience in a fast-paced, digitally connected age is bringing product localization to new places. It has to deal with both the extended product experience and agile product development as well as the globalization test.

It is high time the localization industry took action in all of these ways to help ambitious companies successfully globalize.

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