Did you know that both iOS and Android have easy ways to build your apps for localization testing?
As someone who loves languages, I’m used to just switching a test device into another language for testing and dogfooding over a longer period of time. But even I get a little scared that one day I’m going to switch my iPhone’s device language to Arabic and never find my way back to the language settings. And for teammates who don’t speak another language, it can be even more intimidating. Here’s where iOS and Android come to the rescue with build options for localization testing.
In Xcode you can select a pseudolanguage in your build scheme. For regular localization testing you can choose
Double-Length Pseudolanguage to see how your app works in languages with longer strings. (My teammate Eduardo also suggests using the iOS text size settings as another way to test this on the fly.) But for RTL testing it’s especially handy — choose either
Right-to-Left Pseudolanguage to get an RTL layout with regular English strings or
Right-to-Left Pseudolanguage with Right-to-Left Strings to see the English strings backwards in the RTL layout. Build your app and you can test out the RTL experience, no language classes required!
For Android, you can enable pseudolocales in your
build.gradle file. Then, on your device or emulator, go to the device language settings and select
English (XA) or
Arabic (XB). (If you don’t see those languages, make sure developer options are enabled.) The first language gives you lengthened strings and all kinds of exciting accented characters, but the second is where RTL testing kicks in — you get English strings backward with an RTL layout.
Now, off to file some GitHub issues for the localization bugs I just noticed … 😉