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 of the non-functional testing after localization. It is essential for evaluating the language attribute and context of software, an application, or a website for a specific audience or locale. Localization comprises the process of 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 applies to 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. 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 falls in 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.
How is Linguistic Testing Performed?
In localization, a plethora of tests are done to find problems that will affect 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 a proper and accurate understanding of their requirements.
When you hear the term linguistic being used, it conjures images of untranslated texts, errors in grammar, inconsistencies in terminology, and typing errors.
The first step in 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 are done separately from the actual running application.
What the linguistic tester does is 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 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
- Typing 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 a 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 a website, phone numbers for technical support, etc.
Linguistic testing is done by a bilingual linguist who has extensive experience as a translator. The linguistic tester needs 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.
Why Linguistic Testing is Essential
The quality control and linguistic testing processes give the linguists and translators a picture of the finished product to review the entire translation project. The testing enables them to correct the contextual issues that can harm 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 is put together, and recommendations 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 fulfills their expectations.
Most software products compete globally, 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 releasing 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 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 users judge the product’s quality 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 client’s protection and products. This way, full access to the software application can be granted, which will help the linguistic tester to check the functionalities and features of the product thoroughly.
The professional linguistic tester runs every localized version of the product on different browsers and local operating systems to see the 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 product’s technical features. Browsers display web pages, 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 may 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 can monitor and control linguistic testing as part of the localization services. You are also assured that the privacy 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, all fixes have been implemented, and the product performs smoothly, it is ready to ”go live” or be 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 with display, functional, technical, or language errors that can prevent users from having a great experience while using the product.
It Pays to Work with Experts in Localization
Localization is costly, and experts should be on board before you embark on a localization project. This practice ensures that you will have the right mix of people to work on the project 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 and 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 and live 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.