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Six Reasons to Pseudo Localize Every Project

Whenever someone in the localization industry tells me about a project that has experienced a lot of technical problems, my first question is usually, “well, what happened when you performed a pseudo localization test?”

Far too frequently, that question is met with awkward silence, followed by attempts to rationalize why pseudo localization failed to be completed at the start of the project. Those rationalizations rarely seem sufficient, especially when a project spins out of control to the point that someone loses a client or someone loses a job.

Unfortunately, many localization managers are localizing without performing pseudo localization, the most basic of tests to be sure that a product is properly internationalized. Most people in the localization industry know that internationalization is important. A decade ago, the Localization Industry Standard’s Association (LISA) used to say proper internationalization reduces total localization time and costs by about half. One way to look at it is that it might cost $1,000 and 20 hours to make a fix and internationalize the original source, or it might cost $20,000 and 400 hours to make the same correction in the target version of 20 different language versions, plus $20,000 and 400 hours more for each update rolled out in the same 20 languages.

Pseudo localization – also called pseudo translation, test translation, round-trip translation, dummy translation and other names – simulates translation by automatically replacing text with test characters while preserving non-translatable code and simulating text expansion or contraction. In addition to testing internationalization, this test also helps to prevent at least 90% of technical problems that can go wrong in a project.

Here are 6 reasons why you should not skip pseudo localization testing at the start of your next project:

Read the rest of this column in the October 2017 issue of MultiLingual: