September 2016

3 ways to test your localization

 by anthony on  |
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Localizing your website in-house takes much time, effort and resources to get right. Everything from building a localization strategy to having the right personnel needs to be considered when entering new markets and globalizing your business. But once you’ve finished localizing your website, it needs to be tested to make sure every aspect of your localization is flawless and fit for purpose. All of the work put into localizing would be unraveled if you discovered glaring errors or unreadable content after launching your site in your new markets. Testing your localization is the best way to ensure that you’re fully equipped and error-free before you go live. Below are three of the main ways you can test your localization to make sure your website is fully functional. 1. Global compatibility Global compatibility is the ability of your localized website to fit seamlessly in with the international markets you’re targeting. This also includes easily interacting, connecting and integrating with different third-party add-ons and applications that you'll need to use in every market. In a previous post, we looked at what’s needed to sell in China and mentioned that your payment gateway must support AliPay to be successful. AliPay is the largest payment gateway in China, accounting for a 70% share of the market. Neglecting to use this as a payment method would see you miss out on potential sales from over 400 million users. Similarly, your site must be able to handle the different currencies, date/time/address formats and just about anything else that differs across regions. For example, launching in the U.S. and using a European-style date format would be detrimental if you operated an eCommerce website that relies on the delivery of goods. Customers would be delivered their purchases at the wrong time and be reluctant to buy from you again. Every last detail needs to be double-checked before launching. Something small like including a customer service number without a country code or the incorrect free-phone contact details would mean your customers can’t call you. This too would have another hugely negative impact on your aspirations to grow in that region. 2. Translation testing Once you’ve ensured that your site is internationally compatible, you can begin testing all translated areas of your site. Here, you need to ensure translated content is appearing correctly and that the format of your site has not changed during the process. When content is translated, it’s possible that some visual bugs may be introduced and need to be fixed. One of the most common is that of word length and size, where some headings or paragraphs may not appear in full after translation. This is because word length varies across languages and changes can cause the format of your site to shift. If this is the case, you can always alter font size or type to remedy any irregularities. The same goes for images on your site, where you may opt to change them in order to fit the culture of your new market. All new images need to be the correct size and shape, and this can often be overlooked during localization. Testing every element of your site after localization will help you identify if anything has changed during the process and allow you to fix issues before going live. 3. Contextual testing Contextual testing means placing more focus on the quality of your translations rather than the functioning of your website. This requires a qualified translator to review all of your translated content and ensure it makes sense. The key here is keeping your content as good after translation as it was before. With a machine translation, your content will lose any context that it has and may appear confusing to new visitors. A qualified translator can make any amendments to machine-translated content and guarantee that it retains its context and overall quality. A fully-localized, internationally-optimized and content-rich website will greatly improve your chances of being successful in any new market. Final word Localizing in-house is a costly and difficult practice, even more so if you don’t have the resources at hand. While you may not catch every single anomaly during testing, you’ll minimize the scope for big problems after going live and give yourself the best chance of localizing successfully. The process can be simplified by enlisting the help of localization experts like Localizer, who can translate and localize your entire website in just three clicks. Testing is paramount to any localization efforts you make, but Localizer provides all the tools and expertise you’ll need to make sure your localized site is kept error-free.