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AFAIK you can't separate tnsnames.ora and sqlnet.ora. But as you say you can create a local copy of the centralized one for your test system even overwrite TNS_ADMIN in your application shell/environment only.
Sqlnet.ora parameters are picked up from more than one location;
Depending on the nature of this "application", perhaps you could try this: in the client program's directory (where the .exe lives), create a sqlnet.ora file with your tracing parameters.