Best Practices

What is Localization Testing?

Localization is a crucial business step for companies looking to expand into new markets. It will ensure your content meets the standards of any specific region and increase your brand’s popularity in those markets.
Gabriel Fairman
2 min
Table of Contents

Localization is a crucial business step for companies looking to expand into new markets. It will ensure your content meets the standards of any specific region and increase your brand’s popularity in those markets.

The benchmark for translation quality steadily rises as more native brands release their content. Quality localization is the key to making your content seem natural and allow it to keep up with native rivals.

The best way to provide consumers with a great user experience and compete for market success is to have a localization testing process built into your localization strategy. Understanding localization testing and how it can streamline your market entry will get you closer to market success without unnecessary delays.  

What is Localization Testing and How Does It Work?

Localization testing is a process that checks content for functionality and translation accuracy before launching a product on the market. A good localization testing process checks for technical errors and safeguards brand integrity by confirming content meets the cultural and linguistic standards of the end-user. This checkpoint is critical in making the user’s experience feel like the product was created with the consumer in mind.  

While there is no universal process for localization testing, the content usually undergoes a review that analyzes it by technical and cultural standards to ensure translation and functionality are up to par, fixes any errors, and integrates the content for the product release.

Most companies also work with a three-tier system to categorize the severity of any found errors. Severity one is usually used to refer to any error that would impede launching the product and must be fixed immediately.

Severity two points to errors that won’t hinder the product launch but should be addressed quickly. Severity three focuses on errors that are minor enough to be looked into at the earliest convenience. With these processes in mind, the best localization strategy integrates localization testing early on to prevent delays and establish early feedback for content translations, expediting future localization testing.  

Why is Localization Testing Important?

Companies tend to view localization testing on two different spectrums. The first understand the importance of having quality content before the launch and undergo extensive localization testing to ensure their product meets their specific market’s end-user goals. While this approach can take a considerable amount of time, it’s the best way to verify content emerges into new markets with the best shot at success and revenue growth.  

The opposing side proffers that localization testing can be done after the product is launched by fixing any errors that consumers point out. This second approach, combined with companies that don’t complete pre-release testing, has resulted in several significant errors. Some notable examples include:  

  • Coors released a “Turn it Loose” campaign on the Spanish market that translated to “Suffer from diarrhea.”  
  • Pepsi began its China launch with a slogan, “Pepsi Brings you Back to Life,” which was meant to be a revitalizing remark but was instead interpreted in the more literal sense of “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave” by Chinese consumers.  
  • KFC entered Chinese markets with their American tagline “Finger Licking Good,” which was translated as “Eat Your Fingers Off.”  
  • Parker Pen launched its brand onto Mexican markets with the slogan, “It Won’t Leak Into Your Pockets and Embarrass You,” which was translated to “It Won’t Leak Into Your Pockets and Make You Pregnant.”  
  • The American Dairy Association also entered Mexican markets with its slogan “Got Milk,” which was translated to “Are You Lactating?”  

While these mistakes are now seen as laughable, the companies involved had to work hard to re-establish themselves as competent in those new markets. These oversights delay product success on the market and incur significant expenses to rebuild confidence in a brand.  

Reap the Benefits of Localization Testing

Working with an established localization management platform can give you a partner that will help you understand what localization testing is and implement best practices into a successful localization strategy for adapting your product. A great platform will have highly competent linguists to translate your material and an extensive review and testing process that includes senior staff and local reviewers to confirm your brand can compete with native businesses in any market.

Bureau Works is an industry-leading platform that believes in implementing in-depth localization testing into any successful localization strategy to help establish your product as a successful market competitor. Contact our team to learn more about our localization processes and features.

Gabriel Fairman
Founder and CEO of Bureau Works, Gabriel Fairman is the father of three and a technologist at heart. Raised in a family that spoke three languages and having picked up another three over the course of his life, he has always been fascinated with the role language plays in identity and the creation of meaning. Gabriel loves to cook, play the guitar, tennis, soccer, and ski. As far as work goes, he enjoys being at the forefront of innovation and mobilizing people and teams together toward a mission. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Gabriel was honored with the 2023 Innovator of the Year Award at LocWorld Silicon Valley.
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