Hello out there!
It's been a very long time, but not in my head. That is, I always have lots of topics that I'd like to blog about, just very little time to blog. The topic I'd like to begin on today is pseudo-localization, also known as pseudo-translation, pseudolocalization, pseudo-l10n, and probably some other names.
What pseudo-localization is
Pseudo-localization is the programmatic localization of a software product to enable early testing of product localizability. Typically this entails automatically transforming the translatable text into characters outside of ASCII in another character encoding. Sometimes it may include changing localizable objects that are not text, such as data templates and patterns.
For example, some pseudo-localization tools will allow the user to specify a string of characters to be appended to the beginning of a text string and another to the end. When the tool is run against the text resources of the product, all text strings will have these characters appended to them. The intention is that the appended strings contain accented characters and characters from other scripts (such as Russian or Chinese).
Why it is used
The usual reason given for pseudo-localization testing is to determine whether the user interface text is localizable; that is, whether the text has been put into separate resource files to enable localization without changing the program code files. Since the translation is automated, this testing can be done much earlier in the development process than if the real localization were used.
Two other aspects are also commonly tested as an adjunct to the localizability area: whether strings have expansion room, and whether another character encoding is handled correctly.
But the truth is that there is much more pseudo-localization can help test. In this series, I'll explain how it can be used to test 9 areas of internationalization. Stay tuned.