Role of the Localization Managers in Business
A business that grows globally and enters new markets focuses much attention on the localization processes. Elaborated strategy, high-level experts, calculated KPI, and tons of work are the constant companions of product adaptation. How to reach the targeted goals? Who will manage the entire process and be responsible for the final result?
In this article, we will talk about such people - Localization Managers and their role in business. Let's go!
Who is a localization manager?
In a few words - the localization manager is an expert responsible for controlling the localization process from start to finish. This role's complexity is coordinating the localization team, building roadmaps, communicating with clients, hiring linguists, and providing timely qualitative results. Localization managers have a list of parallel flows and should skillfully combine them. For example, before designers create a new landing page, translators should prepare the first draft of text content to clearly understand the size of the different blocks (title, buttons, etc.) Otherwise, the team will have to redraw ready-made concepts and spend extra time on this. Or if the team planned the release of a feature - translators should prepare the adapted text in time. A smooth localization process and accurate team management are indicators of professionalism for a localization manager.
Daily, the localization manager keeps track of multiple things - how many words are translated/edited, how are the translation requirements met, are all the texts consistent, does the team get answers to questions, etc.? But that is not all. He should not only control the processes but bring expertise into them. So we come to one of the most critical tasks of this role - control of the correct content adaptation and unification. Let's look at the following case. Arabic culture is not widely familiar with the concept of "dark elf." The literal translation can confuse users about what is at stake. But we have another character perceived as negative for Arabians - "genie," that may fit much better.
The localization manager's task is to find such controversial terms, approve them with customers and linguists, and provide the team with the correct termbases.
What skills should the localization manager have?
Besides traditional skills like leadership, communication, organization, planning etc., the localization manager should have the following competencies:
- Negotiation. A localization manager who is a crucial process circuit should have the skill to convey his thoughts and convince the team and customers. With a complete overview of the process state, he can better understand reality and approve of the decisions' rationality. The ability to defend the point of view will help correctly set the expectations of all participants of the process and be confident in the result.
- Change management. Localization is a flexible process requiring modifications and constant searches for better solutions. Each change request must be assessed for its potential influence on the project (scope, schedule, risks, etc.) The task of the localization manager is not only to implement new strategies or tools but control the entire process, support people to adapt, and create the actual documentation.
- Workload management. With proper workload scheduling, the localization manager will produce the best results for the company by minimizing spending, increasing ROI, fostering high productivity, and making the most of your most precious asset — your employees. With achievable work plans, the delays and disruptions are lessened, and the team members are productive but not overworked.
- Free from stereotypes. Getting to know a new culture can be surprising or sometimes shocking. As a person who makes decisions and approves the work, the localization manager must discard his stereotypes and be closer to the user toward whom the product is oriented.
- Understanding of localization standards and tools. The localization process manager should be free to use the company's tools, such as Jira, the selected TMS system, etc. It also includes a basic understanding of the main file formats for translations (TMX, TBX, etc.)
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What does the localization manager bring to the business?
Single point for the contact. Communication can become challenging, given the number of people participating in any adaptation or localization process. Thousands of questions both from the team and stakeholders sides, critical issues that require fast replies, cornerstones that stop the process - a localization manager is a person who should cover all of this. Exactly he/she is the person responsible for the correct transfer of information and resolving issues between teams. Thanks to this, each team member knows from whom it is possible to obtain comprehensive replies to any localization question.
Project unification. The localization manager sees the process much broader than other participants. He understands steps A and B (where we started and are going) and C (where we will go next.) Together with the teams, he composes and approves glossaries, visual elements, style guides, and much more. As one of the sources of knowledge about the project, the manager can offer a better solution that will fit into the overall strategy and look.
Time and budget saving. Which localization tool is the most beneficial for a particular project? How to avoid mistakes and not waste time correcting them? How many people still need to be hired to complete everything on time? The localization manager answers all these and other questions. Thanks to his planning and strategic thinking, the team achieves the goal with maximum speed and without unnecessary costs.
The cherry on top!
Localization never ends. Sure, you'll get to a particular milestone, but an ever-growing business requires you to create new promotional materials, make updates, write releases, expand into new markets, whatever. Well-built localization processes will allow you to use them for a long time. A well-chosen translation management tool will contain the basic linguistic and technical information, and a well-executed command will become your mainstay. The localization manager does not just create and manage the process - this person provides the foundation for your further steps in this direction.