“Take nothing for granted,” is the mantra of every software tester. Add localization to the mix and the level of vigilance goes into hyperdrive.
In the spirit of helping others avoid needless pain, I launched this Lessons learned from localization series. In Part 1, we explored documentation pain and coping strategies. Part 2 was development discomfort and solutions. In this final installment, we explore the lessons learned by our testing department, who are known for being generous to a fault, as in “here’s a PR for you, and you, and you…”
For this post, I approached our testing team lead, Jonathan Patchell to get his take. This interview had to be carefully timed to avoid coinciding with a full moon, otherwise the series would have met a premature end (and so would its author).
Here we go:
1. Test everything possible in the product in the new localized environment
Obvious, perhaps, but Jonathan pointed out a situation where one feature broke in the Japanese product because one component expected a specific message in English from another component. When that message was translated to Japanese and implemented, the feature didn’t work anymore.
2. Check everything in the original localization
In our case, the original localization is English. In some cases, menu items items were displayed in Japanese.
3. Find a native speaker to verify translations in the product
Our Japanese partners, Marubeni Information Systems and Computer Engineering & Consulting, were invaluable in this process because not only were they native speakers, they were experts in our product.
“They gave a lot of useful feedback and found problems with very subtle wordings regarding key terms in the product that would be impossible for a non-native speaker or non-Insight expert to spot,” Jonathan says.
4. Side-by-side monitors and Google Translate are your friends
Using the product in a localized mode that doesn’t share a common alphabet is tricky.
“Not only does the product become strange, but the OS becomes cryptic as well,” Jonathan says. This makes trivial day-to-day operations difficult. As a coping strategy, the team works with the English and Japanese products using multiple displays. Frequent forays to Google Translate helped provide the meaning behind messages displayed in Japanese.
And that’s a wrap. I hope you found this series enlightening, and if not, then at least mildly entertaining.