Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Uncovering Myths about Globalization Testing- Knowledge of Native Language

Myth 20: If i dont know German at all, i can still effectively test a German application

Referring to Globalization Testing Myth# 4 i talked about why "A person who doesn't know French cannot test the French version of the Software" is a myth.
There is one relevant thought as i was going through Bj Rollison’s interesting blog on Localization testing.
In one of my past experiences, while testing a consumer application- there was a very critical bug that got overlooked resulting in a lot of noise generated by the customers. Basically, the team was involved in testing an update to an existing version for different languages. As none in the team was an expert in the language ,the pure focus of this update testing was to test the changed areas (and none of the changed areas included UI specific changes) with least focus on UI regression as nothing had changed.
After a while the update was released, it caused immense confusion to the customers based out of Germany. The prime reason for confusion was that they were now seeing the User Interface in a "different" language than German, which needless to say offended many customers. And as this was a consumer application, it did affect many home users. The corrective update with right language pack was soon delivered to the customers.
The Root cause analysis of this issue result in crucial learning for all the teams involved. While this issue was mostly because of wrong resource file being referenced for German build, which could ideally have been caught during unit testing. From Testing team's perspective, this issue could have been found earlier by some sort of a checklist that would have been in place which could help a test engineer distinguish between languages by means of checking the presence of language reserved characters etc. This would be highly effective while testing "similar" looking languages.

So, even though one is not a language expert, it does add value to know the nuances of languages enough so as to help test engineers make more informed decision on what he/she is testing.

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