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Understanding the language of ecommerce & software testing

Posted by bugfinders on Thursday 23 February 2017

Are you aware you can obtain customer feedback through software testing before going live with your e-commerce site? Recently, there have been some amazing innovations in online translation, claiming that Smartphone users are now able to translate most of the language they come across into English, or whatever language they happen to need.

The Google Translate app, for example, can now be used not only to type in phrases for instant translation, but also as a ‘visual translator’ – that is, it can be used in conjunction with a Smartphone camera to translate language found in the physical world (on road signs, for instance).

Another app examined is the ‘verbal translator’ iTranslate Voice 3, which can translate languages in both their written and spoken forms.

Apps such as these are undoubtedly incredibly useful, and will contribute to breaking down linguistic barriers all over the world. And for eCommerce companies selling into foreign markets, it’s tempting to think that these advances will help to increase sales internationally.

After all, if a site has been poorly translated into Spanish, or is only available in English, won’t Spanish customers simply use an app like Google Translate to take pictures of web pages and, by doing so, translate them?

However, it is unlikely that online shoppers will use translation apps in this way. This is not primarily because to do so would require extra effort (although that would certainly play a part), but because language in eCommerce plays a bigger role than simply communicating what a site has to offer. It is also fundamental to building trust between retailers and customers.

Translating sites into the languages that customers speak (and using the correct spelling and grammar of those languages) is an indispensable way for retailers to assure those customers that they are purchasing from a reputable company. Incorrect language use always sets off alarm bells in the minds of online shoppers, as demonstrated by research into how spelling mistakes can harm conversions.

No amount of new translation apps, therefore, will lead to higher online sales for international eCommerce companies whose sites haven’t been correctly translated into the languages used by their customers. However, conversions certainly will be maximised for retailers who ensure that their translations are accurate.

Undoubtedly, the best way to check the correctness of translated text on a website is to ask users of that site who speak the language. However, given that such an exercise would be difficult to coordinate and involve launching a site before having checked it for errors, soliciting feedback from customers in this way isn’t entirely desirable.

The next best thing, then, would be to acquire feedback from people who are very much like a site’s intended customers, prior to going live. There are a number of ways of doing this, but one of the fastest and most effective is to partner with a Crowdsourced Testing company.

Software testing companies maintain international communities of thousands of professional software testers and users, which are drawn from a large number of countries (in BugFinders’ case, 134). This means that software testers and users who speak certain languages can be deployed to rapidly test the spelling and grammar of translated sites, and provide detailed feedback on what needs correcting.

The size of Crowdsourced test teams also ensures that such feedback is of exceptional quality. Because, for example, 50 testers can be deployed to test a site’s language simultaneously, every single error (no matter how apparently minor) can be identified, a thoroughness that is difficult to achieve when using a team of only 2 or 3 testers.

Translating language online may be getting easier for all of us, but in an eCommerce context, using the correct language is still crucial to building trust. In order not to lose sales through clumsy translations, retailers need to ensure their sites can be read by all of their customers, no matter where they live.

To learn more on Software Testing please get in touch with our Solutions Consultants.