Localization involves a complex process to ensure that every element conforms to the given standards and specific requirements to answer the needs of target locales and audiences, one of which is linguistic testing.
Linguistic testing is part the non-functional testing after localization. It is essential for evaluating the language attribute and context of a software, application or website for a specific audience or locale. Localization is adapting a product to the target market and linguistic testing checks the cultural appropriateness of a software in terms of language standards, grammar, rules and regulations as well as context. The process also assists in ensuring that the product is applicable for the global audience and fits the needs of a particular culture.
Characteristics of linguistic testing
A linguistic tester does the linguistic testing to see to it that the final product fits the linguistic and cultural requirements of a region. It has a vital role in a website, product or software’s success.
Linguistic testing comprises several essential characteristics, such as:
- Testing the localized functionalities, screens, user interface and content for accuracy. It also tests if these elements are culturally appropriate.
- The focus of the test is the context of how the language is used.
- In the cycle of software testing, linguistic testing is done at the last stage.
- It’s a test for the quality of the language and other language-related issues.
- It ensures the suitability of the product to the target locale.
Purpose of linguistic testing
In localization, any form of testing is done to find problems that will have an effect on the effectiveness or adaption of the product to the specific market. Even if linguistic, localization and functional testing overlap at times, each one is a unique testing service that needs different support tools and it is vital that for the tester to have an appropriate and accurate understanding of their individual requirements.
When you hear the term linguistic being used, it conjures images of texts that are untranslated, errors in grammar, inconsistencies in terminology and typo errors.
The first step in assuring language quality assurance is linguistic testing. It is done within the final product itself. The work processes involved in website and software localization are accomplished with the help of technologies and tools and done separately from the actual application that is running.
What the linguistic tester does is to use the finished product just like how the local product users of a target locale will use it. While running the application, the linguistic tester will be able to spot the problems that might be caused by translations that are out of context. Some of the things the tester looks for include the following:
- Chunks of text that were untranslated
- Truncated texts
- Lines of texts that were translated incorrectly
- Issues with punctuation, spelling and grammar
- Accuracy of the translation
- Typo errors
- Inconsistencies with the terminology used in the user interface such as titles of dialog boxes, menu items, help and user interface files
- Broken characters used specifically for the language
- Sounds, colors, symbols, images and cultural references that may be inappropriate
- Country-specific conventions such as phone numbers, zip codes, addresses, names that are incorrectly adjusted
- Errors in calendar, time and date formats
- Mistakes in monetary symbols and currency conversions
- Incorrect use of numeric formats, negatives, separators and metric conversions
- Tone and style of the translation
- Confirm correct relation between images and texts
- Correctness of all company- or product-related information including contact information, links to website, phone numbers for technical support, etc.
Linguistic testing is done by a bilingual linguist who has extensive experience as a translator. It is important for the linguistic tester to live in-country and an expert in the target location.
The specific purpose of linguistic testing is to ensure that the translation is of the highest quality. It sees to it that the localization accomplishes the best way to deliver the brand’s message, along with the company’s vision to its target consumers.
This article is part of our Localization series. To learn more about localization, please read our Ultimate Guide to Localization.
Importance of linguistic testing
The quality control and linguistic testing processes give the linguists and translators the picture of the finished product so they can review the entire translation work done. The testing enables them to correct the contextual issues that can have a negative effect on the smooth running of the product once it goes live. Linguistic testing is one of the final steps in localization before the product is turned over to the client.
Along with linguistic testing, localization testing is also done. They might sound similar but there are differences between the two processes. Linguistic testing zeroes in on the language, ensuring that all the rules and the linguistic requirements are followed. Linguists compare the original content against the translated content. Subject matter experts typically perform linguistic testing.
On the other hand, localization testing is focused on the usability, appearance, and functionality of the product. It ensures that the localized text is complete. Professional testing engineers usually perform localization testing.
While the test is ongoing, the localization testing engineers should be working closely with the linguistic testers to receive guidance on how to solve issues that may crop up regarding the content’s usability and functionality.
After the first assessment, a report should be made regarding functional or technical issues found during the testing processes. The report may include below average formatting of images, graphs and other visual elements that can hamper a user’s experience.
Linguistic testing for software products
Software testing verifies and validates the program’s performance and functional characteristics. It helps the testers ascertain that the product meets the requirements of the product’s users and fulfill their expectations.
Most software products compete on the global stage, which increases the need to have tests such as linguistic and localization testing. These tests ensure that the product is linguistically and culturally appropriate. The process of software testing is similar to website and application testing. Each one undergoes linguistic and localization testing to fit the different needs of global audiences. These tests have become crucial to the success of the product and its market expansion.
Before the release of a software product to its intended market, it is vital that its content is free from errors and its language is accurate. Each localized version for each target market is checked the same way. The process is vital to ensure that users of the product will be able to comprehend the features and functions of the products quickly and easily.
Software manufacturers should be very concerned about the appropriateness of the localized software to the target locale because the product’s quality is judged by the users in terms of its context.
In doing the linguistic testing of the software, a translator checks the localized version and uses the product to find flaws. A professional translator understands privacy issues and often signs a non-disclosure waiver to ensure the protection of the client and its products. This way, full access to the software application could be granted, which will help the linguistic tester to completely check the functionalities and features of the product.
The professional linguistic tester runs every localized version of the product on different browsers and local operating systems to see their effect on the adapted content. This is a vital phase as this is also where software professionals and engineers will be able to pinpoint, record and rectify inconsistencies with the technical features of the product. Browsers display webpages, applications and software programs differently. Testing is an opportunity to ensure that the software or any other localized product adapts to the built-in requirements of local operating systems and browsers.
While the actual linguistic testing process varies by organization, the basic steps are the same. It is better to hire experts to do the linguistic testing because the language proficiency of bilingual employees many not be enough to meet the criteria for linguistic testing. A professional translation company that can offer a full suite of services would be a more economical option. You will be dealing with linguistic experts who are able to monitor and control the linguistic testing as part of the localization services. You are also assured that the privacy, secrecy and confidentiality of the product are maintained.
Market readiness of the product
After the linguistic testing is done and the product has passed the language quality criteria, the needed fixes have been implemented and the product performs smoothly, it is ready to ”go live” or released to the market.
Linguistic testing checks the adherence of the product to linguistic and localization standards. It ensures that the product meets the requirements and expectations of the target users. Failure to do linguistic testing can lead to the release of a product that has display, functional, technical and language errors that would prevent the users from having a good experience while using the product.
Work only with experts in localization
Localization is costly and experts should be on board before you embark on a localization projects. This practice ensures that you will have the right mix of people to work on the localization as it will be difficult (and expensive) to correct errors in the middle of the process or when the localization is finished. Find your localization and subject matter expert at Day Translations, Inc., a professional language services provider offering a full suite of services from translation to interpreting, to localization, voice-over, subtitling, dubbing and a host of other language services. Linguistic testing is critical in localization, so you should leave it to the experts. Our translators and subject matter experts are native speakers, living in-country, which is your assurance that their knowledge of the language and culture is accurately transferred in any project they handle.
Contact us anytime you need translation and localization solutions, as we are open 24/7, every day of the year. Give us a call at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us.
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