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Latest Technologies for Localization Testing

iStock_000071485085_MediumSoftware market requirements are changing quickly. More and more technology companies want their products to be released to market faster to meet demand and to rapidly integrate client expectations into their products in real-time. This introduces a lot of innovation in software development, validation and the technology industry. It is one of the reasons agile development has overtaken waterfall as the main method of software development in many companies. As the software development strategy becomes more agile and efficient, so too does the software localization process and some new technologies and emerging methods in localization testing.

Automation Testing

Although automation testing may not be feasible for all software localization testing projects, automation testing is a growing trend to improve the efficiency and shorten testing turnaround times. Especially for some big software localization projects, which have huge repeat testing requests, automation testing may be a good solution for long-term cost-saving considerations and speeding up product releases to market. This method is typically used in projects, which may contain legacy features and functions and where there are high volumes of screen capturing workloads for each release.

Automation testing is commonly used for the screen shooting, UI testing and functional testing, which can all be adopted to both web testing and software testing.

Cloud Testing

With the advent of the Cloud computing era, software testing is moving to the Cloud or at least elements of a testing program are tested in the Cloud. This opens up new opportunities for businesses to conduct testing in another scalable and agile environment. It also adds more options and considerable value to the business, product and testing cycle. Cloud testing is a form of software testing where applications use cloud computing environments to simulate real-world traffic. The main benefits are scalability and the ability to access from anywhere in the world. The client’s application for testing can also be hosted in the Cloud, with access provided by the development team. This enables the tester to access the app online and also provides the developer the option to updating the application in the Cloud in a more agile environment.

Compared with some of the more traditional testing methods, there are other advantages for cloud testing, including: worldwide access, immediate availability and scalability of the testing environment.  All of these benefits can save environment configuration and maintenance time. The snapshot application, which can be easily restored to a specified earlier point as a backup, can also be used in a Cloud environment. Use of the Cloud can also deliver cost-savings in terms of physical devices and efficiency improvement. Snapshot and real-time environment simulation is not limited to the Cloud and used in other testing methods.

Each localization testing program has different objectives, security requirements and specifications; therefore, each program will require different approach. A good global software localization testing provider will develop a testing strategy depending on the client’s requirements.

As innovation continually evolves and software users continue to demand quick changes and updates, in all languages, then more new technologies and methods will be used in localization testing to provide better solution for the technology organizations and end users.

Judy

Judy.chen@welocalize.com

Based in Beijing, Judy Chen is Technical Services Director at Welocalize.

 

 

Role of Quality in Four Stages of Software Localization

479077975Based at the Welocalize office in Beijing, China, Judy Chen is Technical Services Director. In this blog, Judy shares her thoughts about the role and focus of quality during software localization.

During our routine work in the localization industry, we live and breathe quality every day, everywhere. What is quality? ISO 8402-1986 standard defines quality as “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.”

How do you satisfy stated or implied needs? For software product localization, final localized versions must be bug-free for final product sign-off. For any software localization program, as well as the software product itself and for each software launch, patch and new feature, there will be a range of supporting materials including marketing materials, internal training and communications. All require different levels of quality.

In this blog, the following details the quality focus used during the software localization process for all content types.

There are four main stages to every simple translation project or complex software localization project requiring translation, software engineering, testing, document engineering, multimedia, DTP and art work: Project Scoping, Project Planning and Preparation, Production Execution and Product Delivery and Sign-Off:

Stage 1: Project Scoping

This stage is to fully understand quality expectations, customize quality standard depending on client requirements. It is the foundation to help client to best utilize their localization budget and set localization plans in place.

  • Perform evaluation about source content
  • Define work types
  • Figure out localized languages and workload
  • Raise any source bug queries
  • Provide localization suggestions and quotation

The main input for all of the above activities is understanding the client quality expectations. If the client quality requirements are understood, we can carry out appropriate scoping: neither over scoping nor under scoping. Based on different purposes of localized materials, we can customize different quality standards.

Using some of the local terminology we have in Beijing, here are some examples of how quality expectations differ, depending on content type and impact:

  • If the localized materials are for company internal staff training, we can set quality requirements as “accurate translation, simple DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are for marketing or online customer support, we can set quality requirement as “accurate and beautiful translation, fine DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are for localization of product code, we can set quality requirement as “technically accurate, debugged, full of beauty for DTP/engineering.”
  • If the localized materials are high impact to the brand, like company slogans or taglines, we set the quality requirement as “perfect transcreation, full of beauty for DTP/engineering.”

Stage 2: Project Planning and Preparation

This stage is the process that transforms a client’s quality expectations to a series of production activities and measurable KPIs.

  • Workflow Customizing
  • Environment and Tools Deployment
  • Quality Measurement (SOPs and Checklist)
  • Work Scheduling
  • Risk Evaluation (Risk Factors)
  • Resources Reservation and On-boarding
  • Training of Involved Resources

All planning and preparation activities are based on exact quality requirements and those stated purposes confirmed at the scoping stage. Based on different quality requirements, we can customize different workflows, choose different resources and work out different quality matrices. For example, aiming at the quality requirement, “accurate and beautiful translation, fine DTP/engineering,” we can use standard translators and engineers to complete the work. We can arrange one cycle translation, DTP/engineering work with quick QA cycle.

If we are aiming for the quality requirement of “perfect transcreation, full of beauty for DTP/engineering,” we need to on-board experienced translators and engineers with specific skills and arrange more reviews and QA cycles to ensure final quality.

Stage 3: Production Execution

An integral part at this stage is the LSP management system, which must manage and track production activities for software localization activities, including a quality tracker and bug management system. This means all quality information can be extracted and checked for the following main activities:

  1. Production Process Control – All procedures are monitored to ensure that work is being handled according to customized workflows and using reserved resources.
  2. Inter-Operation Management – Constant team interaction to ensure no breaking within consequent work steps and processes. Client information is fully shared with all involved parties to ensure everyone is on the same page and aware of all targets and deadlines.
  3. Risk Management – Based on risk evaluation, routine checks are performed at the risk points with appropriate remedies used, if necessary. Version control method and bug management systems are put in place.
  4. Results Checking – Any work results are checked based on the defined quality measurement. Any non-conformity item should be evaluated and handled before delivering to client.

Stage 4: Product Delivery and Sign-Off

In theory, at this stage you have a bug free localized product. During this stage, final checks are performed and the product is prepared for sign-off. If in the unlikely event of bugs being found, careful risk evaluation is undertaken, especially for complex software localization projects. Each bug case is evaluated case-by-case and communicated with the client to decide whether to fix or defer. In stage 4, achieving quality means to deliver an acceptable product without introducing significant risks to users.

During each stage of localization, there is a different quality focus. By further strengthening our quality consciousness and achieving a deep understanding of the quality focus during our routine work, we will work smarter, more agile and produce quality levels that exceed our software client’s expectations.

Judy

Judy.chen@welocalize.com

Based in Beijing, China, Judy Chen is Technical Services Director at Welocalize.

For more information about software localization and bug-fixing, read Welocalize White Paper: A Bug is a Bug in Any Language.