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How to undertake effective user testing in multiple languages

5 min read
Louise Taylor

Written by Louise Taylor

24 April, 2023

Regular, thorough user testing is essential to ensuring that your users have the best possible experience of your website, app, or other product. But how do you approach user testing when your audience is based in several different countries and speaks different languages? Read on to find out.

A quick introduction to user testing

User testing is all about creating a seamless user experience for your website, app, or other product. As the name implies, it involves real users undertaking the testing. This is an invaluable part of ensuring you deliver the best possible user experience (UX). Trying to understand the user journey with synthetic data can only take you so far. It is user testing that will provide real insights into the challenges that people are likely to face when using your product.

You can undertake user testing on anything that has a UX – it can be an entire app or a single registration form on a website.

How do I undertake user testing?

Good question. User testing is a complex discipline in its own right. Specialist staffing and software solutions are available to enable you to get the best out of the user testing experience. However, several common principles apply when undertaking the testing. First and foremost, don’t assume anything! The purpose of user testing is to experience your product through your users’ eyes, minus your preconceptions.

While your particular approach to user testing will depend on the nature of your product, there are four key steps involved in the process. First is to prepare your website or app so that it is ready for testing, making sure everything works as you want it to.

Next, you will need to recruit users to test your product. You can do this through social media, using your email lists or whatever way best suits your business.

Once you have recruited a sufficient number of users, the testing process can begin. You can either let your users experience the product freely in their own way or start them off on guided journeys, asking them to undertake certain actions to see how they get on. 

The final step in the user testing journey is key to getting the most out of the experience. It is data analysis of the users’ experience. This is the information which will help to improve your UX, based on the user testing process.

Of course, once you have made improvements based on the data gathered during user testing, it is time to test the UX all over again. User testing is not merely a tick-box exercise to be undertaken once.

User testing with international audiences

All of the above has assumed you are undertaking user testing with people who speak your language. But how do you approach the task when your users speak different languages to you? This is where a variety of software and language service solutions come into play.

Let’s say, for example, that you plan to launch your website, which you have built in English, in Italy. The vast majority of Italians (93% of them) speak Italian as their primary tongue. For many, it is the only language that they speak. As such, you need to deliver your website in Italian and undertake user testing with native Italian speakers.

In order to produce your website in Italian in the first place, you will likely have used an Italian translation service in the design process and delivery phase. The English to Italian translation of your website is fundamental to engaging successfully with your new international audience. It needs to be high quality, in terms of the Italian translation, but also suitably localized in terms of everything from currency formats to layout expectations.

This is where awareness of the Italian UX comes into play. A user experience specialist with knowledge of the Italian market can help to guide any changes your website may need in order to deliver the best possible UX in Italy. Speak to your Italian translator about accessing such specialist skills. Many Italian translation services have an in-house team that includes UX specialization, as they are well used to localizing products for international audiences.

What is the best translator for Italian? When you need to deliver a product such as a website or app in Italy and you care about the UX (as you most certainly should!), then it’s important to work with an English to Italian translation provider with extensive experience of everything from the design process to user testing. Be proactive in seeking out a service that can provide such expertise, including finding Italian-speaking users and project managing the user testing process for you.

What is the average cost for translation services? It’s hard to provide an average cost for Italian translation, as the cost can vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and any specialist language that’s required (such as legal or medical terminology). The best approach is to get quotes from multiple translation services and compare them based not just on cost but on their user testing experience, project management skills and so on.

Software solutions

You can also opt for a software solution. With Loop11, for example, you can run user testing projects in up to 40 different languages, all through one easy-to-use platform. If you plan to launch your product not just Italy but in multiple countries, this is an excellent way to reduce the administrative hassle of delivering the user testing experience, while getting the best out of the data that results from that process.

Successful, regular user testing can level up your product and ensure that you deliver a better UX than your competitors. Though carrying out user testing in a language you don’t speak may at first seem daunting, remember that the fundamental principles of the testing remain the same, no matter which language you are working with. It’s simply a question of getting your product ready, finding suitable testers, carrying out the testing and using the resulting data wisely.

Louise Taylor

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