Founder and Lead Developer of Macrotone Consulting Ltd.

Test email in foreign languages

We have been working with the emailing of problem reports to our Issue Tracker component recently in particular with the specific problem of languages using ISO-8859-2 character sets.

Having made some code changes to handle this, we were thinking of how it might be possible to test out other languages, with other character sets such as Chinese, Korean etc.

The little grey cells starting thinking about the various translation sites upon the web, and whether there might be any that could not only perform a translation of some specific text but also complete the task by emailing the translation to a specific address.

After some searching it seems that this is not an unusual requirement and we found several that could possibly do what we required. A lot only handled the translation part of the requirement, but the sending of the email was not that common. It was important that the email was sent from the third party since if we used a local email client the details in the message header and body did not accurately reflect the correct character set in use, and this was the one thing we wanted to test.

A number of sites imposed limitations such as the number of characters in the message, the number of messages that could be sent etc., which is generally reasonable since they are endeavouring to make a living from providing a service and would prefer to charge.  However these limitations were not of a major concern to us, especially as the text content could be anything at all, as long as the character sets were represented.

We obviously will not list all of the sites we investigated but the one which we found suitable for our needs was WorldLingo and though it insisted in creating accounts for both our sender and receiver of the generated emails, this was something we could easily live with. There is a vast range of possible languages to choose from, certainly more than we will ever use or test I suspect, and the machine translations were more than adequate for our purposes.

Our requirements were not all that unusual at all, and I suspect others might have the same sort of need, in which case hopefully this may act as a pointer.

Update: One interesting side effect we noticed was that, when we sent the email (via WorldLingo) it was 'processed' by our component and automatically send a reply acknowleging receipt. Since the emails from WorldLingo are all sent out with individual identifers in the email address the reply was sent to the named worldlingo address which then forwarded it to use (the sender). The interesting aspect was that the text was 'translated' on the reply and didn't quite match what was the 'original' text in English. One of the interesting aspects of translating in this case from English->Japanese->English. Not a concern to use but just goes to show how things can get confusing in translation.

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