If you happen to be reading this page translated from English to another language, hello there, you are one of the main characters of this blog post. Without linguistics, the study of language and its structure, we probably would not be able to figure out how to communicate everything we need to globally while being able to understand it at the same time while testing. There are so many online resources that cover what a specific country or region in a country uses in terms of data formats for their computer systems.
Stickyminds featured an article from Mukesh Sharma on Linguistic Testing: Setting Up Your Software for Global Quality. Sharma dives in by explaining what exactly linguistic testing is–which is testing not only localization but also internationalization. These words basically mean everything we are testing on the software either is or would be fully functioning across the globe.
I found this content thought-provoking as I never specifically thought about how developers and testers would have to consider culturally-aware attributes like the formatting for texts, dates, and currencies. As more and more people are gaining access to the internet across the world, that means there are even more and more platforms to test for gauging market readiness.
An example of a situation that could happen in real life I can think of when testing functionality on websites is for international shipping addresses. If a user, we’ll call him Zayn, from London, England is ordering something from a company based in Boston, Massachusetts (USA) and puts in his shipping address, it should not require him to select a “State” under one of the fields after he selects “United Kingdom / England” as his country option. If that field still requires Zayn to select a state when his country location does not have states, there is a problem.
This will change the way I think when I work as when developing code to solve problems or create something new, I will have to think about if the market or target audience goes beyond the USA. When testing the code, of course every possible scenario must be tested already but there will have to be more details to make sure it all goes smoothly–especially since international errors or problems usually take up more effort to fix as communication plays a big factor.