How Can You Test for Internationalization in Front-End Development?

Software testing is crucial in the software development cycle, encompassing various testing methods like cross browser testing that are essential for ensuring the quality of a software product or service. By conducting diverse tests throughout the development phase, software testing guarantees that the final product meets the desired specifications and lacks bugs or glitches.

An integral consideration arises when an IT company designs a software product or service intended for global use. It becomes imperative for the company to conduct thorough testing to verify its functionality across diverse regions and cultures, ensuring seamless usability for people from various cultural backgrounds worldwide.

What exactly is Localization Testing?

It’s important to understand localization before delving into internationalization and localization testing. As the term implies, localization involves adapting content and user interfaces to suit a particular region or locale’s cultural and linguistic needs.

Localization testing entails the examination of content and interfaces from a localization standpoint. It’s also referred to as l10n testing, with “10” representing the number of letters between ‘l’ and ‘n’ in localization.

Key components covered within localization testing include:

  • Verification of translated text
  • Assessment of keyboard functionality
  • Examination of address formats and sequences
  • Alignment of graphics and visual elements with cultural or locale-specific norms
  • Adjustment of time and currency formats to suit the region
  • Consistency and alignment of data
  • Selenium test automation can expedite localization efforts in a scalable manner. Utilizing Selenium testing, except for localization features, allows for uniform implementation.

Thus, localization primarily focuses on content tailored for the consumers or customers in a specific target market, with testing ensuring the verification of localized content and interfaces. Employing Selenium for localization testing on virtual browsers aids in achieving comprehensive test coverage efficiently.

What is Internationalization Testing?

In contrast to localization, which caters to a subset of users within a specific region or locale, internationalization targets product features and functionalities that resonate with a global audience. Therefore, internationalization testing is also known as Globalization Testing.

Internationalization involves an approach typically initiated from the conceptual stage to ensure a product’s global appeal. Features, content, and interfaces are developed to facilitate localization for various cultures, locales, or regions. Considering aspects of localization right from the initial phases of product design and development ensures the product’s readiness for use by a global audience.

Internationalization, abbreviated as i18n (with ’18’ denoting the number of letters between ‘i’ and ‘n’ in internationalization), involves the following best practices:

  • Support for multiple languages
  • Accommodation for diverse regions, locales, and more
  • Segregation of resources (such as strings, UI elements, etc.) from the implementation
  • Provision for different number formats
  • Adaptation of text in different formats (e.g., Left → Right, Right → Left)

In essence, internationalization revolves around designing and developing a product tailored for a global audience. Consequently, Selenium internationalization testing proves highly effective for evaluating a global product on a large scale.

Therefore, despite their apparent similarities, internationalization and localization testing represent distinct processes in software development.

What is the purpose of internationalization testing?

  • Ensuring accurate character encoding during language conversion.
  • Verifying that the software won’t crash or malfunction if the search query or string isn’t supported in the targeted language.
  • Attracting a global audience by offering convenience through the application’s usability in their chosen languages.
  • Confirm that the font appearance and size are appropriately rendered for the intended look and feel.

Best Practices for Internationalization and Localization Testing

After distinguishing between Localization and Internationalization, it’s essential to delve into the recommended practices for Internationalization Testing. Here are some pivotal best practices for executing internationalization testing on a larger scale:

  • Content Localization

Localization involves adapting textual content and graphics to meet regional or locale-specific requirements. Dynamic content, like pop-up windows, should also be localized to cater to user interactions accurately. Handling dynamic content can be a significant challenge in Selenium testing, often addressed by implementing suitable wait commands.

Incorporating language experts into the process ensures that localized content complies with local grammatical guidelines. Deciding when to blend English with the local language requires collaboration between language experts and project stakeholders.

  • User Interface

Adapting the interface to meet the demands of the target locale is crucial. String lengths vary across languages, necessitating an interface adaptable to accommodate longer strings without compromising usability. Testing the crucial elements of the user interface, such as dialog boxes, text boxes, drop-down lists, alerts, and toolbars, is vital to ensuring the seamless presentation of locale-specific content.

  • Rendering

Internationalization and localization testing aim to verify the accurate display of supported scripts. Proper display of scripts according to specific language characters is essential. For languages like Hebrew, typing occurs from right to left (R → L), impacting the content and controls’ ordering on the site. Employing Selenium automation, testing validates the proper location of controls and content.

Visual UI testing and website responsiveness across browsers and viewports can be assessed using cloud-based platforms like LambdaTest. Tools like LT Browser facilitate mobile-friendly testing across 50+ Android and iOS device viewports.

  • File Transfer

Localized interfaces for file transfer operations are critical to aligning with selected languages. Users need consistent updates on file transfer progress, especially for larger files. Encoding issues may arise when dealing with multiple languages and scripts. The W3C recommendation to serve pages in UTF-8 helps manage encoding issues encountered in multilingual scenarios.

Automation Testing

Challenges in testing internationalized or localized web applications can be addressed through Selenium automation testing on platforms like LambdaTest’s Selenium Grid. Leveraging parallel testing in Selenium expedites testing processes and accelerates product release.

Data-driven testing significantly impacts internationalization and localization testing, allowing exhaustive tests on online browsers and platforms for various language versions.

Designing automated browser testing scripts in a scalable manner facilitates extensions across different languages. Selecting language-agnostic WebElements while using locators (XPath, ID, NAME, etc.) in automation scripts enhances flexibility and extensibility for internationalization testing. Collaborating with language experts during localization test creation helps address different grammar structures and incorporate suitable switching mechanisms into tests.

Where is internationalization (i18n) testing conducted?

Internationalization testing encompasses critical facets categorized into two primary areas.

Front-end Internationalization Testing:

This involves i18n testing conducted at the user interface level of the application.

  • Content Localization:

Adapting static elements like labels, buttons, tabs, and fixed components, along with dynamic elements such as dialogue boxes, pop-ups, and toolbars, to align with localization requirements.

  • Cultural Sensitivity:

Verification ensures accurate display and handling of time, dates, currencies, phone numbers, zip codes, special events, and festivals specific to various regions.

  • Feature-based Validation:

Testing to ensure certain application features are accessible and functional only for applicable regional users, hiding them for non-applicable users.

  • File Transfer and Rendering:

Testing the localization of property files in different languages and confirming the proper display of contents without misalignment or discrepancies.

Back-end Internationalization Testing:

This phase requires a comprehensive understanding of the database and involves backend testing.

Support for Unicode Characters:

Verifying database support for Unicode characters to handle different languages effectively.

Additionally, back-end internationalization testing enables the server side of an application to manage diverse languages, currencies, encoding, site searches, and form data submissions.

Benefits of internationalization testing include:

  • We have enhanced global visibility and outreach by delivering personalized content to a wider audience.
  • Utilization of a single source code adhering to international standards for all application versions.
  • Cost and time efficiency in global product releases.
  • Improved architecture and quality, simplifying maintenance.
  • Reduced ownership costs for various product versions while complying with international standards.

Testing for internationalization (i18n) within front-end development 

This encompasses several approaches, including manual, automated, or crowdsourced methods. Manual testing involves the meticulous examination of web pages by altering language, region, or browser settings, although this process can be laborious and time-intensive. However, it aids in identifying evident issues or flaws. Automated testing utilizes software tools to execute tests on web pages automatically.

Despite its complexity and costliness, this method saves time and minimizes errors. Crowdsourced testing entails leveraging a network of testers from diverse countries, languages, or backgrounds. While it provides feedback from real users in varied contexts, its unpredictability and potential lack of quality control are noteworthy limitations.

What aspects should be considered for i18n testing?

When developing web pages for internationalization (i18n), several key components require testing. Language is a pivotal element, encompassing translation, localization, and the proper formatting of textual content, including labels, headings, messages, instructions, dates, numbers, and currencies. Ensuring the correct direction, alignment, spacing, fonts, sizes, and colors of the text is crucial. 

Evaluating the page layout for responsiveness, adaptability, and consistency concerning the arrangement, size, and sequence of elements like images, buttons, menus, and forms is imperative. Additionally, comprehensive testing should cover compatibility across diverse devices, browsers, and platforms.

Moreover, cultural considerations should be considered when examining web page content, such as images, icons, colors, and symbols. Taking into account user preferences, like language choices or regional settings, is also significant during the testing phase.

Which tools are suitable for i18n testing?

In the realm of front-end development, a range of tools is tailored for i18n testing. Chrome DevTools represents one tool integrated into the Google Chrome browser, allowing developers to scrutinize, troubleshoot, and evaluate web pages across various languages, regions, or devices. 

Another option is LambdaTest, a cloud-based platform that facilitates real device and browser testing across diverse locations. LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that provides various testing solutions, including manual and automated testing

A key highlight of LambdaTest is its capacity for parallel testing, permitting users to conduct multiple automated tests concurrently across various devices and browsers. Through LambdaTest, tests can be executed on a real device cloud, delivering an extensive testing environment that ensures thorough test coverage and dependable outcomes.

For specific i18n and localization functionalities, Globalize stands out as a JavaScript library. It provides features for formatting and parsing dates, numbers, currencies, etc., catering to different languages and regions. Additionally, Lingohub, a web-based application, aids in managing translation and localization endeavors for web pages. This tool permits content upload, editing, synchronization, and collaboration with translators or reviewers.


Ensuring a globally user-friendly experience in front-end development necessitates thorough internationalization testing. Begin by incorporating localization libraries such as i18next and FormatJS to dynamically assess translated content. Manually adjusting browser language preferences aids in uncovering language-specific issues. Verification of character encoding is crucial to guaranteeing the accurate display of diverse symbols.

Evaluate responsive design to ensure adaptability to varying text lengths. Testing right-to-left (RTL) support and assessing date, time, and currency formatting across different locales are equally important. Emphasize accessibility testing, extract UI strings for translation, and ensure that error messages are language-sensitive. Lastly, comprehensive testing for content expansion and cross-browser compatibility is imperative to achieve a robust internationalized system.

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