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Systematic validation of localization across all languages By Martin Ørsted, Microsoft Ireland For the LRC XIII Conference October 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Systematic validation of localization across all languages By Martin Ørsted, Microsoft Ireland For the LRC XIII Conference October 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Systematic validation of localization across all languages By Martin Ørsted, Microsoft Ireland For the LRC XIII Conference October 2008

2 Content The upstream effort Downstream bullet-proofing The single resource approach Generic rules across a group of resources Adding the languages Conclusion Questions? Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

3 The upstream effort Nothing beats fixing at dev time – use of newer programming languages with more built-in error checking – Use of pseudo localization upstream – Educating developers – The use of controlled English – Source reuse systems Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

4 The upstream effort The upstream effort wont be perfect, due to: – Deadlines – Tradeoffs – The inadequacy of the development languages – Certain issues are difficult to bullet proof (law of diminishing returns) – Choose your own favourite Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

5 Downstream bullet-proofing Downstream bullet-proofing addresses shortcomings of upstream bullet-proofing But it also adds further benefits As the number of languages increase, the more it makes sense to invest What benefit can we realize from doing many languages? Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

6 Single resource issues Over-localization: The string should not have been translated. Buffer limitation: The translation of the resource should not be more than a given amount of characters, generally referred to as a string length limitation. Illegal characters: Certain characters may not be allowed in the string Dependency: Two resources may have to be translated the same, in effect one resource is dependent on the other, references the other. Backward compatibility: It is a special case of the dependency, basically, changing a string from one version to another could cause a loss of backward compatibility. Uniqueness: The string belongs to a group of strings that all have to have unique names(translations), could be a list of commands for example. Placeholder over-localized: Some localizable strings have placeholders in them. If the placeholder gets localized the program can not drop the information into the placeholder and display it. Needed string decoration: Some strings may have control characters in the beginning or end of the string that should not be localized Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

7 Examples of single resource issues RuleUS stringExample locIssue description Over-localizationCommon Files Might refer to a registry string. Rather than localizing the string the program will look up the localized name in the registry Placeholder The file %1 could not be opened because %2 %1 and %2 are placeholders Decoration\n\nOpen\n\n \n is a new-line character, sometimes used in dos style applications PlaceholderThe file %s was last opened on %d %d On %d%d the file %s was last opened %s and %d are positional placeholders, their position has to be maintained, changing them as shown will cause an intermittent memory protection fault Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

8 The LocVer rule Thought up example: String in Excel: Current Accounts Localized string causes bug, we realize that translation has to be 30 char or less We create a rule: MaxLength=30 We apply the rule to all languages If other languages break the rule we will know Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

9 The approach Identify issue through bug or review Create rule that systematically prevents issue Automatically run rule against all languages, issue gone! Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

10 Benefit and cost + Find once, fix everywhere + Enables reduced test, no need for regression against other languages - Management overhead, review new strings, edit rules for changed strings - Only viable with a good few languages - Manual effort, either inspect strings as added or add as bugs occur Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

11 Last words on single resource Very valuable approach But least preferred due to overhead Much used Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

12 Verification across a group of resources One generic placeholder rule with no associated ID ID 3: Placeholder rule ID 2: Placeholder rule ID 1: Placeholder rule Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

13 Groups of resources Look for patterns, for example: – Placeholders, %1, %2, %3 – Commands, might be identifiable by resource name Apply a generic rule to them – The rule will automatically cover new resources that match pattern, and will automatically change if the resource change Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

14 Groups of resources Positive – Less management overhead – Automatically adjusts to changes – Can become quite advanced Limits – Only work if you can identify a pattern – But much preferred in those cases – Fall back is individual resource rules Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

15 SQL queries across a pool of resources Same way LocVer fixes Functional (almost) Query for things like: – US contains 2007, localized doesn’t – US contains Microsoft, localized doesn’t – Localized contains Xdocs (which was the code name for the first version of InfoPath until late in development) Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

16 SQL queries Queries run once or twice Loads of false positives But may be worthwhile to review Gets smarter with the added language dimension Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

17 Adding the languages The more languages added, the more intelligence can be applied Idea: Break the linear cost dependency between #Languages and eng and test costs Several possibilities Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

18 Patterns across languages With 10 languages or more, you can look for patterns per resource like: – If 9 out 10 languages start with \n, should #10 also? – If 9 out 10 languages contain “Microsoft”, should #10 also? – If 9 out 10 languages localize two resources the same, should #10 also? – So both linguistic and functional issues will be caught Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

19 Benefits across languages Examples – DAL, Dynamic Auto Layout – Hotkey fixer, a way of programmatically assigning hotkeys per language – Grouping on code pages, and only testing across one – Make pseudo loc understand LocVer, and test on pseudo, reduce test on the languages – Controlled English becomes viable – Transliteration, MT – Test case versus test design specifications, the introduction of randomness Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

20 The end result Single resource Rules Generic rules, sql queries Patterns across languages, controlled English Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

21 Conclusion The linear dependency between cost of test + engineering versus number of languages can be broken At the same time the quality can be systematically improved The trick is to design solutions where the work effort and hence cost does not linearly grow with added languages Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

22 Conclusion continued DAL, SQL Queries, Generic rules, Single rules, Hotkey fixer all scale to extra languages with no extra effort But they come with various degrees of overhead Learnings across languages can introduce further efficiencies Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

23 Questions? Thank you for your time! Microsoft Ireland, Martin Ørsted

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