Comprehending Globalization Testing: A Breakdown of Varieties, Guidelines, and Testing Strategy
Globalization testing’s main objective is to validate that a product consistently operates and performs under different cultural and regional settings, despite data representation variations.
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In our interconnected contemporary world, the requirement for software products that are globally accessible has significantly increased, fueled by international business and cultural interchanges. This is the reason why globalization testing becomes indispensable.
In this guide, we’ll delve into the essentials of globalized software and globalization testing. We’re going to discuss its relevance, upsides, various types, and ways to execute effective testing.
What You’ll Learn:
- What is Globalized Software?
- What is Globalization Testing?
- Globalization Testing Types
- Approach to Globalization Testing
- What Has to be Tested?
- Globalization Testing Checklist
What is Globalized Software?
Before we get into globalization testing, it’s imperative to understand the notion of globalized software.
Globalized software is developed to work independently of specific national, cultural, and geographic contexts. Most probably, you have encountered and utilized various apps and software that function in this way.
An ideal instance is Facebook, which offers language settings enabling users to engage with the platform in numerous national and regional languages.
As an example, if you are located in India, you can choose to interface with Facebook in English, Hindi, Marathi, Bangla, Punjabi, Gujarati, or any other language of your preference.
Likewise, users from South Africa can utilize Facebook in Afrikaans, while those hailing from France can operate the platform in French. Consequently, language choice can be based on the location and region of the user.
Despite the diversity in languages, the app’s features remain constant. Only the language exhibited alters. Other factors, such as date, time, and currency, adjust in line with the user’s country and timezone.
We will analyze these aspects in depth as we move forward with this tutorial.
What is Globalization Testing?
Globalization testing concerns validating if an app completely supports and acknowledges different language inputs, thereby making it usable worldwide.
The primary purpose of globalization testing is to discover likely issues that could deter an app’s global adaptation during its design phase.
In our present-day globalized world, possessing a software product capable of serving different countries, regions, and markets offers businesses a competitive advantage.
To achieve this, subjecting a software product to globalization testing is essential. It confirms that the product operates flawlessly within various geographical and cultural contexts.
As an illustration, in India, zip codes comprise of 6 numerical digits, while in Canada, zip codes include 6 alphanumeric characters.
In such situations, the app should validate and accept zip codes based on the particular country’s format. Globalization testing assists in identifying and fixing issues that may emerge when switching between languages and locations. It also verifies that the application does not possess any hardcoded components.
Varieties of Globalization Testing
Globalization testing can be divided into two categories: Internationalization Testing and Localization Testing.
Let’s examine each of these testing types in detail.
#1) Internationalization Testing
Internationalization refers to the procedure of modifying software code to be neutral to any specific region or culture.
For instance, one element of internationalization testing involves altering logic for format functions, such as time and date formatting, numerical formatting, and currency formatting. Hardcoded values are retrieved and stored in external files termed resource bundles, which are loaded at runtime.
Also referred to as 118N Testing, Internationalization Testing guarantees that the application operates consistently across global cultures and regions.
The main considerations of Internationalization testing include:
- Language Compatibility Testing: Verify whether the product operates correctly within a specific language atmosphere.
- Functionality Testing: Perform regression tests across various language environments and input native language strings. Test whether culture-specific information, like currency, date, and time, is correctly displayed.
- UI Validation: Detect visual glitches, text truncation, and overlapping text.
- Inter-Operability Testing: Test the software across multiple platforms, operating systems, and application iterations.
- Usability Testing: Verify the application’s usability.
- Installation Testing: Try installing the application using different native languages, ensuring that installation messages display correctly based on language configurations.
You can find an extensive example of Internationalization test cases provided by Microsoft here.
#2) Localization Testing
Localization is the method of customizing a software product to fulfill the requirements of a particular culture or locale, covering areas like language, territory, and code page.
This involves translating the software and adjusting its presentation for end users. Localization testing, also known as L10n testing, examines a product’s quality for a specific locale or culture, focusing primarily on the user interface (UI) and content.
These tests are usually conducted by individuals proficient in the specific language.
At this point, the distinction between Internationalization Testing and Localization Testing should be clear to you.
To summarize, Internationalization Testing makes sure that a software product can adjust to a variety of languages and geographic regions without altering any code. Conversely, Localization Testing ensures that an internationalized product can be customized to a particular region or language through the inclusion of locale-specific components and text.
STH has published a detailed and informative article on Internationalization and Localization Testing, you can read it here.
Approach to Globalization Testing
Determining the test areas for globalization should be incorporated in the strategy and planning phase of the software testing lifecycle. Test cases and test data must be developed to cater to the requirements of globalization testing, and a standard server with multiple locales (clients) must be set up to emulate the appropriate testing environment.
Globalization testing (which includes Internationalization and Localization testing) should commence from the beginning, coinciding with the initiation of testing for the basic English version of the product.
Critical globalization bugs should be detected and rectified at the outset, with continuous regression testing. Rectifying these bugs in the early testing stages guarantees a flawless globalized product that can be simultaneously launched in multiple markets.
You can refer to Microsoft’s extensive Globalization Testing Approach for additional guidance.
What Must be Tested?
Globalization testing covers several facets. Nevertheless, some of the most critical areas encompass the following:
#1) Language Vocabulary
A globalized product supports various languages, leading to a heightened need for testing.
You can employ language translators to confirm that the application employs appropriate vocabulary for each supported language. Complete word-by-word testing isn’t necessary, but conducting a brief review with the application set to different languages is recommended.
#2) User Interface
Each language script possesses a different writing style, and word spacing may differ across languages.
Therefore, it is vital to test UI layouts in each supported language to ensure a clean and error-free display. This involves checking for issues such as text overlapping, text misalignment, and navigation complications.
#3) Date & Time Notation
Date and time display formats differ across regions.
For instance, in the US, the typical date format is mm/dd/yyyy, while in Europe, the traditional format is dd/mm/yyyy. Canada accepts both DD/MM/YYYY and MM/DD/YYYY formats.
Moreover, some regions use 24-hour notation, while others use 12-hour notation. It is crucial to make sure that the proper date and time formats are exhibited when toggling between regions and countries.
#4) Correctness of Date/Time
Date and time not only utilize different formats but also vary based on time zones.
For example, 11:53 AM Saturday in Indian Standard Time (IST) is the same as 1:23 AM Saturday in Eastern Time (ET). It’s important to test whether the application exhibits the exact date and time when shifting between countries.
#5) Handling of Currency Format & Conversion Rates
Currency testing is necessary for applications that involve e-commerce. The numerical format for currencies varies from country to country, and proper formatting is essential.
Moreover, it’s crucial to exhibit the correct currency symbol alongside the currency units.
For instance, displaying “100” without any currency symbol could confuse users. Displaying “? 100” provides clarity. In addition, handling currency conversion rates accurately is important.
For instance, if the application allows currency selection and the user transitions from INR to USD, “? 100” should display as “USD 1.56” based on the current exchange rate. It’s also recommended to display the exchange rate to the user for improved usability.
#6) Format of Phone number, Address & Zip code
The sequence in which address details are exhibited varies across languages.
For instance, the address order in Japanese is postal code, state, city, while in English, it’s name, city, state, and postal code. It’s important to verify that the address order is rightly displayed based on the user’s language preference. Additionally, phone number length and format differ between countries. The formatting of phone numbers can follow the general international notation advised by E.164.
Globalization Testing Checklist
Here’s a checklist for globalization testing:
- Confirm the installation process sets up the required test environment.
- Check whether the database supports Unicode.
- Validate that there are no hard-coded strings in the code.
- Ensure that the necessary locales are installed on client machines.
- Validate the availability of language property files in the resource bundle.
- Check whether the UI is displayed in the client’s locale’s native language.
- Ensure that when no specific locale is selected or the language properties file is unavailable, the default display language is English.
- Verify the application’s capacity to accommodate diverse data, including native language character sets, ASCII characters, and special characters.
- Check whether the data presentation order is correct based on the client’s locale.
- Confirm the functionality of filtering and searching based on the client’s locale.
- See if the app displays the correct date and time formats.
- Check whether currency formats are displayed accurately.
- Validate the display format of phone numbers and postal codes.
- Ensure correctness in cursor alignment in input fields based on language script directions.
- Make sure all outlined customer needs are tested.
- Verify whether all input/output functions are tested.
- Confirm that all functionalities associated with native language inputs are tested.
- Ensure full testing of all database requirements.
- Verify if all specified UI components are tested.
- Make sure no characters overlap on the screens.
- See to it that no junk characters are exhibited.
- Check whether graphics appear accurately in the UI.
- Make sure user guides and help files are displayed in the native language based on the client’s locale.
Conducting globalization testing is necessary to deliver a top-quality globalized product.
A software product should be reachable to a diverse user audience from varied language backgrounds and geographic locations. For its acceptance worldwide, it’s important to validate its usability in every target locale.