What is Pseudo Translation?

A dummy translation to test your translation process.

Pseudo translation is the process of mimicking the process of translating a file into another language. It is a dummy translation used to test if an application will function correctly in another language.

So in plain English, it’s a pretend translation used to test a process before the real translation begins. Typically pseudo translation would be used for software or IT-related applications. It can also be called “mock translation”.

Why would you use a pseudo translation on a file?

There are a few good reasons why someone would want to pseudo translate a file or application.

Translation can be costly and pseudo translation is virtually free so you get to test if your product will work in the new language before you translate it.

Before you start the real translation process, there are two things you need to know:

  • Can the translators see, access and translate every word in your application or file?
  • Can your application process the translated text after your application is translated?

After translation, your application will still function correctly; however, layout bugs/issues can now be found easily. Sometimes translated text can be longer than English so translation can cause dialog box clipping. Some strings that might be concatenated or hardcoded in the code might cause a program to crash when translated. This testing process is known as internationalization testing (i18N).

How do you pseudo translate a file?

The process of pseudo translation is relatively straightforward:

  1. Firstly, replace all the vowels in the application or file with accented versions; replace the following: a=á e=é i=í o=ó u=ú or other similar combination depending on the language, of course
  2. In some cases you might double the characters to test string expansion. So ‘Hello’ would become ‘Hééllóó’

The advantage of this is that after translation…

  • your English speaking team can still test your product – the words will just look a bit strange
  • you can see quickly if every string in your product is visible to the translation team
  • you can check your application will work after you translate it (adding foreign characters)
Pseudo translation


A sample pseudo translation

The following is an English sentence used as a pseudo translation for testing purposes.

Thíís íís áán ÉÉnglíísh séentééncéé tháát wéé wííll úúséé áá psééúúdóó tráánsláátííóón óón fóór tééstííng púúrpóóséés.

Sometimes for customers using Web content management systems (CMS), we recommend doing a pseudo translation. It allows you to run a test, extracting all your text. Then have us translate it and finally re-import everything again. It’s a very fast and effective method of checking that everything works perfectly before translating your entire application, website or database.

A Diagram of the Pseudo Translation Process

Diagram of the pseudo translation process at STAR Translation

Diagram of the pseudo translation process.

Diagram of the pseudo translation process.

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