Linguistic and Functional Software Testing for Global Technology

In order to compete in global markets, technology firms need to produce localized versions of systems and application software. Key aspects of a successful software localization strategy must include all aspects of the programming language content, including software user interface (UI) and software strings, feature updates, patches, online help and support documentation. Testing and QA are critical for localization of any software. The strategy must also consider the way the software is accessed, such as SaaS, mobile, installed, through customer hardware and the development cycle, waterfall or agile.

To ensure the user experience in all language versions is consistent, meets local user expectations demonstrates correct functionality on all platforms, all products have to go through rigorous functional and linguistic testing as part of the localization process. Both managed testing approaches are important to the overall product development cycle and can reveal a number of different flaws in localized versions of the software.

Testing is not just about the quality or correctness of the translation. It is about ensuring all localized product versions meet local user expectations and correct functionality.

For any kind of software testing, the testing team needs full access to the source product and all the localized versions for all target devices and hardware. Access to the original software developer’s kit (SDK) is also helpful to trigger certain functions on the devices to properly test the product. To conduct a successful testing cycle, you need a team of experts with in-depth knowledge of the product and any testing software that will help the process. These experts need the right secure laboratory environment to test the product, pinpoint specific strings and fix bugs.


When you perform linguistic testing on localized versions of software, you are checking to see that any text that appears in the user interface is correct. Any tester involved in the linguistic testing process should be a native speaker of the target language and very familiar with the product itself for all platforms and devices. Linguistic testing can pick up a variety of bugs. It is designed to identify missing translated text, text that has remained in the source language,  bad translations, translated text that has been cut off or incorrectly wrapped to the next line and inconsistent use of translated terminology throughout a software product. If flaws are identified in the locale versions, then any fixes must be applied throughout all touch points. For example, if UI screen shots have been used in online help documentation or marketing campaign materials and a UI has been altered or fixed, these screenshots must be refreshed in all communications.


To run any functional and device testing program, you have to engage specially trained testers to create and run test scripts through the designated software devices to ensure the localization process has not impaired functionality and that the localized product works consistently with the various operating systems and designated third party products and applications. As well as a team of expert testers, engage a testing manager who can create a tailored functional test case which uses knowledge of all software associate with each device. Functional tests must be run on all target platforms: mobile, browsers, desktops and servers. The testers follow prescribed testing scripts to thoroughly go through all aspects of functionality on the software. Testers will focus on the software itself and whether it is still compatible with all operating systems and third party products in all target locales.

Another key component for any testing cycle is to capture the metrics on all aspects of the testing work. This facilitates understanding of true progress and results against a set of defined criteria and targets.

Successful software testing requires an experienced testing team and first-class laboratory facilities to ensure all testing is carried out in a secure and confidential way. Welocalize has three dedicated and secure testing laboratories. Welocalize’s primary testing lab is located in Portland, Oregon in the US.  They provide 70 simultaneous testing stations, supporting more than 70 languages. The team in Portland provides test management, engineering and project management services to a number of global technology clients. Welocalize has secondary secure software testing and QA labs located in Beijing, China and San Mateo, California, with plans to establish more physical testing sites in 2015.

In addition to finding an experts with the right facilities, it is essential that technology companies work with a vetted partner that aligns to “center of excellence” testing best practices. Evoke Technologies noted in Software Testing Trends 2015 that most of the organizations are allocating more than 40 percent of their IT budget towards quality assurance and software testing domains. An experienced software localization testing and QA provider will work with technology providers to define methods to optimize costs and create scale for growth and efficiency. Expertise is critical.

Click here for more information on Welocalize testing solutions.  Watch a video that highlights our multilingual testing laboratory in Portland, Oregon:

Welocalize Portland Multilingual Testing Lab Services from doing things differently on Vimeo.

Louise is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize.