What constitutes a basic translation verification test?
For best results, your product should be tested in all translated languages using the operating system NL version and representative hardware for the target region. But if you must choose a subset, here are some guidelines on what and how to test your product's NL enablement:
For single-byte character set testing (SBCS): use the German language, as this language is lengthy compared to English. Besides verifying the proper replacement of the original language, you can check for buffer overflow, message truncation at display time, non-Latin-1 character data entry (for example, é, á, ä, etc.), and page layout problems.
For double-byte character set testing (DBCS): use the Japanese language, as this language covers a broad range of the DBCS testing problems you might find.
For bi-directional character set testing (BIDI): use the Hebrew or Arabic languages. They are representative of the BIDI languages.
TVT concentrates on detecting:
Failure to use locale-sensitive functions
New code problems introduced by the translation
Text expansion problems
Inadvertently translated strings
Font changes, encoding/codepage problems
Out-of-context translation errors
Note that the scope of this article does not permit the treatment of each of these points in depth, but will cover in detail those that are less apparent.
A few words of wisdom from the TVT trenches
It is very tempting to concentrate all testing efforts on the NL-enabled version of the product in order to get it shipped with the minimum delay. But corrections introduced into the NL version could impact the domestic version. When deciding whether or not to apply a code correction, determine how crucial it is to the finished product. Your translation testers are aware of the relative negative impact of a translation defect in the context of their culture; use them to help prioritize reported problems. Do not push for a correction that could destabilize the domestic edition, however, do not postpone those that make part of the translated product unusable. Trust your judgment and come up with an "absolutely must fix" list of problems.