Tuesday, January 11, 2011

PL4: For display only

This next pseudo-localization test in the series is very straightforward. Maybe.

You can verify whether your software correctly handles a particular character encoding by pseudo-localizing the resource files into that encoding. Use a broad spectrum of characters from the encoding, if not all of them, to check that the entire set is handled properly. Simply pseudo-localize the resources, bring up the pseudo-localized user interface, and view the text. Of course, you have to know what you're looking at, but if you've familiarized yourself with the set of characters used in the pseudo-localization, that shouldn't be a problem.

But that's not all! Since all of you are using a Unicode encoding for your user interface (a-hem), there's something else you can test. Some characters use a different font depending on the language they are representing. So for example, if characters from the Han section of Unicode are used in your pseudo-localization, you can set the locale to a Chinese region and verify the characters are in a Chinese font. Then change the locale to a Japanese region and see if a Japanese font is used to display them. Again, you have to know what you're looking at, but if your software is responsible for display, this is an important test. (Take a look at these charts, particularly the second and third sections.) If necessary, select a few key Han characters that differ in Chinese and Japanese, make up an image chart, and familiarize yourself with them. As they're used over and over in the pseudo-localization, you'll get to know them well.

Your customers will be happy you did.

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