Testing, Testing: Functional vs. Linguistic

When it comes to localizing content for a dynamic environment, such as an app or a website, evaluating the user experience (UX) should be part and parcel of your localization pipeline. After all, what use is a cleverly transcreated CTA if the copy is too long for the button, and it directs you to the wrong page?

To ensure your final product showcases your localized content in all its glory, there are two types of tests to consider adding to your pre-launch checklist:

  • Functional Testing

As the name suggests, functional testing focuses on the functionality of your product. It puts your app through its paces, trialling all user routes to ensure there are no glitches or slip-ups during the user’s journey. It’s a robust troubleshooting exercise that leaves no CTAs unclicked and no forms unfilled.

  • Linguistic Testing

Meanwhile, linguistic testing hones in on the language displayed in your environment. It makes sure there are no awkward typos detracting from the integrity of your product, and no confusing line breaks competing with the visual element of your design. It’s an in-depth proofreading process that critiques your copy from the point of view of the consumer.

Testing Talent

For both functional and linguistic testing, you’ll want to engage a market-based, native speaker to carry out the work. For the functional aspect, choose someone with a critical eye who is tech-savvy too. The job of the functional tester is to report bugs and glitches to be fixed by the developers – so whilst it’s not necessary for your functional tester to know how to mend these issues themselves, it is necessary for them to flag them all.

Since your copy is already signed off at this stage, you can opt for an editor rather than a copywriter to carry out your linguistic testing. You’re after someone with solid proofreading and QA experience, who has excellent attention to detail and can spot a typo a mile off. And ideally the person performing the linguistic testing will not have been exposed to the copy previously – i.e. they weren’t involved in the localization process. The reason being, when copy is familiar to you it’s much easier to skim over omissions and grammatical issues, so it’s best to bring in a fresh pair of eyes to help provide a neutral assessment.

Testing Tech

To simulate the user experience, functional and linguistic testing should be completed in the native device or browser environments. Preferably, tests should be carried out in staging platforms, so that any errors or glitches can be fixed behind the scenes before you go live. It’s also recommended that tests are done on multiple devices to account for different screen sizes, for example – the layout of your design will compress when viewing on a mobile vs. on a laptop, so it’s key to account for different user preferences and experiences. 

When it comes to reporting any errors or adjustments, you can call upon tools and platforms to help make workflows more efficient. For functional testing, introducing a project tracking tool is a great way to log everything under one roof. These tools are particularly useful when working with multiple teams, as they allow for quick and easy collaboration. For linguistic testing, it may be easiest for the tester to make the tweaks directly in the content management system (CMS). Particularly if they are simply amending typos or grammatical errors, where no additional client sign-off is required.

Testing as a Target User

For functional testing, although you want to vet all applications and systems, it’s important to approach this in a way that puts your target user first. Do you know how consumers in your target market will interact with your product’s user interface (UI)? Is it accurate to assume they would head straight to the main menu and use the navigation drop-downs, or would they scan the homepage for a CTA to take them to where they want to go? This is where local market expertise provided by your market-based tester can provide valuable insight. Being a representative of your target audience themselves, they’re able to replicate a realistic user journey based on authentic behaviours attributed to your target users. 

Linguistically speaking, it’s best to follow a more streamlined approach here, proofreading page by page, to ensure you don’t miss any content. Reviewing content in this way will also help you keep an eye out for inconsistencies. Is your spacing the same between sections? Are there any jarring line breaks that impact readability? Here, your market-based tester can also add plenty of value. For example, now seeing your CTA in context, does the phrasing connect with the visual that runs alongside it? Is the font suitable for your target audience? It’s important to appreciate that what works well for one group of target users, may not be as effective for another.

Ready to put us to the test? If you’re in the process of localizing your app or website and want to ensure a flawless user experience, get in touch to discuss how we can help you better connect with your users, wherever in the world they may be.

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