SDL Testing Lab

Why Do Products Need to Be Tested for Each Market?

SDL has provided product testing for more than 20 years for a wide variety of company types – IT, gaming, eCommerce and life sciences to name a few. During this time, we’ve learned many reasons why testing for global markets is important, such as this story about a quality-minded regulated-industry customer:

After only one day of testing, SDL realized an urgent call with the customer was needed. Linguistic testers were finding many more defects in the customer’s translated product than expected, especially mistranslations and concatenations.

Concatenations were a specific challenge for this customer. In one case, the first string said “To access the software”, the next said “click here” and both were pulled together to form a full sentence: “To access the software click here”. While this coding practice may work well for English, it often causes serious issues in other languages where word order is different than English.

When SDL shared their findings with the customer’s offshore development team, they responded that the translations were correct. However, SDL knew these issues weren’t evident without reviewing the translations in the product itself. In-context preview is important to documentation and many products come standard with this feature, but for product experience - kiosks, devices, websites and user interfaces, for example - testing is the only way you will verify the translations are correct.

SDL’s team determined that testing and fixing the issues would require more time and budget than planned. Rather than suspending the project, the customer instructed SDL to continue work. The customer also decided to initiate a complete software rework to follow SDL Product Testing best practices for software internationalization.

Interactions like this are all in a day’s work for SDL.

While SDL’s Colorado test lab was established 20 years ago and has the honor of being our original test lab, SDL’s capabilities are now global with test labs in Bangkok, India and Madrid. These testing teams share responsibility for a wide variety of materials that includes apps, web pages, consumer devices, software, medical devices and voice assistants embedded in many smart devices.

SDL Product Testing delivers extensive experience that pays dividends in many forms. The customer in our example benefitted from improved translation accuracy and, after completing their software internationalization rework, faster and more efficient test cycles. More importantly, the customer regained control of their localization process to protect their brand and ensure their customers received the best possible quality. Proactively identifying issues and resolving them prior to starting localization is ideal from a time and budget efficiency standpoint.

  • Internationalization testing is performed before translation starts to identify potential issues, such as incorrect date, phone number and address formats, paper size and hardcoded strings. Mock translations with expanded lengths can point UI designers to areas where text must adhere to specific character counts. 
  • Linguistic testing takes place after translation and focuses on accuracy, consistency and context. While many customers - like the one in our example - streamline the process and have SDL perform both translation and testing, SDL Product Testing is neutral and often tests products translated by other companies, providing unbiased feedback and an additional quality check. 
  • Functional testing can be done before or at the same time as linguistic testing to ensure the product works as expected. Possessing the training, skills and equipment, SDL can also perform English functional testing to support our customers’ busy internal QA teams. 
Products and code are usually provided to SDL before general market release, requiring security to be a top priority. SDL Product Testing complies with all necessary certification requirements and provides a high degree of physical security as needed. 

With global competition increasing and product experience making the difference for many customers, it’s more important than ever for companies to ensure that their products meet customer expectations across all markets. Using a service like SDL Product Testing as an extension of your internal QA team can boost the credibility of your brand, increase your customers’ trust and expand the reach of your global products.

If you'd like to learn more about the SDL Test Lab, read this Q&A with Jennifer West, who leads the team based in Colorado, or you can Contact Us