Effective Strategies for Internationalization and Localization Testing in Automation

Effective Strategies for Internationalization and Localization Testing in Automation

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

When starting with test automation for a product that will be available in multiple languages, it’s crucial to consider the implications of internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) on your test scripts. This article provides a comprehensive guide to streamline your approach, ensuring that your tests remain maintainable and efficient across different locales.

Challenges with Hard-Coded Strings

One common challenge is dealing with hard-coded strings, such as app titles or alert messages, in test scripts. These strings must be adapted based on the locale, which can become cumbersome if managed improperly. A typical approach might involve using conditional statements to select the appropriate strings and data files for each locale:

public void myAweSomeMethodWorkingInAllLocales() { 
    if (locale is fr) {
      testDataFile = privateLocation/frTestDataForThisLocale;
      testStringFile = privateLocation/frAPPStringForThisLocale;
    } else if (locale is in) {
      testDataFile = privateLocation/inTestDataForThisLocale;
      testStringFile = privateLocation/inAPPStringForThisLocale;
    // Carry out my super tests here

While this method works, it’s not scalable and can lead to maintenance headaches as the number of supported locales increases.

Improving the Approach

A more efficient strategy involves removing hard-coded locale references from your test suite altogether. Instead, you can configure the test suite to test against a single locale specified via a command-line argument, property file, or environment variable:

testDataFile = getTestDataForThisLocale(theLocaleWeAreTestingThisTime);
  testStringFile = getAppStringsForThisLocale(theLocaleWeAreTestingThisTime);

This approach eliminates the need for embedding locale-dependent if-statements throughout your test suite. If you need to test multiple locales, simply run the test suite multiple times, each time specifying a different locale. This method is not only cleaner but also more adaptable to changes in locale requirements.

Best Practices for Test Data Management

Another key consideration is how to manage your test data effectively. Avoid hard-coding strings and instead use unique, static identifiers for UI elements. For instance, HTML-based UIs can utilize the ‘id’ attribute, while Win32 controls can be assigned identifiers. This practice ensures that your automation scripts remain robust even if the UI changes.

Maintaining separate string files for each locale can also be problematic, especially if strings change frequently due to updates or bug fixes. Instead, consider using a random string generator that can produce locale-specific test data dynamically. This approach can save time and reduce the need for constant updates to string files.

Example Implementation

Here is an example of how you can dynamically load locale-specific test data files based on the current locale:

string testDataFileName = "testdata.txt";
  CultureInfo ci = CultureInfo.CurrentCulture;
  string isoLanguage = ci.ThreeLetterISOLanguageName;

  string path = Path.GetFullPath(Environment.GetFolderPath(Environment.SpecialFolder.Desktop));
  try {
    using (StreamReader readFile = new StreamReader(Path.Combine(path, string.Concat(isoLanguage, testDataFileName)))) {
      // Do stuff
  } catch (FileNotFoundException) {
    // Handle file not found exceptions

This method leverages the system’s current locale to determine the appropriate test data file, thus eliminating the need for passing command-line arguments or manually managing multiple string files.


By adopting these strategies, you can significantly improve the maintainability and efficiency of your test automation suite for internationalized applications. For more detailed guides on related topics, you can explore our documentation on virtual test devices and running test batches.

To further streamline your testing process, consider using a no-code test automation tool like Repeato. Repeato allows you to create, run, and maintain automated tests for your iOS and Android applications effortlessly. Its computer vision and AI-based approach make it particularly fast to edit and run tests, ensuring high-quality assurance without the complexity of traditional coding methods.

For more information on how Repeato can enhance your testing workflow, visit our getting started page.

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