Perhaps I should have titled this post “Tools to Assist Localization Testing” as I don’t think there is a tool developed particularly for localization testing. However, since Localization Testing has such a broad definition (you can read more here), one needs a broad set of tools to do the job efficiently. Obviously the tools that need to be used for web localization testing vs. documentation review will be different, and some tools will only apply to particular roles. Localization Engineers (if you are thinking “who?” see this post) do more automation while Localization Testers typically focus on reporting.
I will cover them under the following sections:
- Test case management
- Defect/Issue/Bug reporting & management
- Screenshot capturing
- Automation testing
Localization Test Case Management
If you want your product to be properly tested, you need to define test scenarios for it. This is particularly important in the case of localization as if your product is localized in to 24 languages, there will be 24 testers. Without a common plan, how can you expect to receive consistent coverage from all your testers? Well, you can’t. A test case management tool will help your QA leads manage and monitor cases efficiently and improve the testing coverage over time. Lets just say that Word or Excel is not the best way to manage your localization testing. Here are a couple of my favorites:
TestRail is one of the leading test case management tools out there. It looks very similar to Redmine so if you are using Redmine for your defect management, you will feel right at home with TestRail. It integrates with Redmine and many other bug tracking tools so testers can create defects on the fly.
TestLodge is a slick looking modern test case management tool. Like TestRail, it also integrates with bug tracking tools. Unlike TestRail, however, TestLodge only offers a hosted solution so it is not possible to have an instance running on your own servers.
Localization Issue Tracking & Management
Even today, I see many companies using Word documents or Excel spreadsheets for reporting defects and tracking statuses. Lets just take a quick look at a typical localization testing lifecycle:
Do I need to tell you what can happen if you use Excel to track this workflow? Well, I will anyway so that you won’t, in case you were considering it. Your project managers will drown in emails because people will get confused by all the fields you have in the spreadsheet. Defects will get lost and you will not know at what point that happened. Most importantly you will not be able to measure your resources’ performance because numbers will be all over the place in the form of apples, oranges and watermelons. And if you can’t measure performance, how will you improve?
Now that you’re convinced, lets continue with some tools:
Redmine is by far my favorite issue tracking tool (and what we use here at Globalme). Calling it an “issue tracking tool” is a bit of an insult as Redmine can do a lot more than issue tracking. Workflow management can be used to streamline the lifecycle I pictured above, repository integration can be used for relating issues to fixes and the integrated wiki can be used for sharing instructions with testers. See a full feature list here.
Lighthouse, as the name suggests, is a light and modern-looking issue tracking tool. It is a fully hosted solution meaning you cannot run it on your own environment.
Also worth mentioning are Bugzilla, Jira and Mantis. They all offer similar features but I have been so hooked by Redmine that have not used any of the others lately. For a detailed list of issue trackers and feature/platform comparison, see this Wikipedia page.
Screenshot Capturing Tools
A picture is a thousand words in daily life and a million in issue reporting. A defect report without a screenshot is like a map without gps. You can do without it, but it will take much longer to figure out.
Jing is hands down the simplest and easiest to use screenshot capturing tool in my opinion. An added benefit is the free 2GB screencast.com account which gives your testers plenty of space to upload their screenshots and attach to defects. It also allows you to record videos for up to 5 minutes.
Snagit is the answer if you are looking for Jing+ advanced editing features. I don’t think it would be necessary for a tester (it’s not free either) but it is a great tool for an engineer. It can capture more advanced videos (within a time limit) and offers several options for sharing your screenshots. Snagit is my tool of choice.
Most localization testing is manual as text needs to be read, layout needs to be checked and localization needs to be verified, all of which require a human to manually do. However there are still cases where automation comes into the picture. A couple of examples:
- Web localization testing – Forms can be submitted using automation and links can be verified
- Software localization testing – Functional validation can be performed via automation. Also for cases where advanced knowledge of the software is necessary for testing, taking screenshots for review by localization testers may be a more efficient approach. Tools can be used for taking these screenshots
iMacros is an amazing browser automation tool. It can fill and submit forms, click on links, save images, extract data and much more. It offers a macro recording feature, very much like the MSFT Office suite, which can replicate your actions. For advanced features you will need to do some coding, however the features are very nicely documented for lot of different use cases.
Selenium is one of the pioneering tools in this area. It is very feature-rich, however requires a lot more technical knowledge to use.
Go Localization Testing!
I hope you find this list useful if you are new to localization testing. If you have been doing this for a while and have other suggestions, please send them my way in the comments and I will update the list.