Saturday, July 11, 2009

Uncovering Myths about Globalization testing- English version on Localized setup

Myth 15: There is no use testing the English version of a product on Localized Operating systems

This myth has a little bit of background in the Globalization testing Myth# 3 i.e. Globalization testing actually should start much before the International product is translated i.e. the User Interface, Documents etc. start showing up localized. The question here is how is the Internationalization testing done when the translated product is not available. I will just attempt to explain this in various points below-

Does English version of product and International version of product gets released for testing at the same time ?
In a more matured Software development life cycles, the code complete specific to English version of the product and the International version of product gets submitted at the same time i.e. one single English build have the code changes specific to International version as well.
In some Software development life cycles, the Internationalization specific changes gets introduced only after English build is released.

Can translation of product happen before English product's User Interface is frozen ?
Also, it is a well known fact that the in an ideal scenario, the Translation of product User interface into supported Localized languages happens only after English product's User Interface is Frozen.
* English product's User Interface is Frozen only after some cycles of testing in which entire User Interface is tested in different setups (OS, browsers etc.) to ensure that there all the User Interface specific issues are found and fixed before the different texts are translated. And even after User Interface freeze, the translation activity acually takes quite a bit of time because it is usually a manual process and has its own cycles of reviews before translation gets finalized.
* It is quite evident that since the time first build with Internationalization specific code changes is introduced to User Interface Freeze milestone to actual Translation of the product, there is a lot of time that gets elapsed. If Internationalization testing does not start when the first build (usually English build) is received, then many of the Internationalization specific changes will not get found until the Test team receives the translated build.

How can Internationalization testing happen when there is no translated software available ?
* The answer to this question is testing English version of the product on Localized setup e.g. Say a product is supporting German and Japanese languages and supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, Mac 10.5 OS- Internationalization testing in this case would involve testing English product on German Windows XP with German Internet Explorer 7.0, testing English product on Japanese Windows Vista with Japanese Firefox etc.

What kind of bugs is this type of testing (Testing English product on Localized Operating systems) helping to find ?
One may always argue that testing English product on a Localized version of the Operating system will always result in English specific issues because what we are essentially testing is the English product. This may be true to some extent but not entirely. Consider the below situations-
* The Product installation works fine when English product is installed on English Operating system. The Product installation fails when English product is installed on Spanish language. The reason- the Install Path name is hard coded in the product. The product usually gets installed in "Program Files" folder in Windows. "Program Files" folder is called as "Archivos de programa" in Spanish language.
* The data input using English characters e.g. Writing the name as "Anuj" works fine in English Operation system. When using the same build on Japanese Operating system and using the name as "廃れる" fails. The reason- the product does not recognize the Japanese language data.
These are just a few basic examples and there can be many such instances of unique bugs that can be found (i will cover this aspect in more details in upcoming blogs)

Keep testing passionately and do provide your feedback to me!

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