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May 09, 2022localization

Localization manager - understanding the role

Improve business processes, productivity and expansion to new markets with one key role - role of localization manager.

Localization is a booming industry. The market size of language services represents a $53 billion market. It is expected to grow to $73.6 billion by 2025. The translation services market accounts for more than half of the market.

Take a look at this - Can't Read, Won't Buy research, which is telling you that people prefer to buy products in their native language.

A localization project manager oversees the whole process of a company entering new markets. Localization managers are responsible for creating, implementing, and executing the localization strategy of a company, and managing translation projects from beginning to end.Β 

In this article, we will describe the role of a localization project manager, how it can benefit a localization project, business growth, and which tools they use in the process.

Let's dive into it.

What does the Localization manager do?

A localization manager is a person you turn to for organizing the localization of your product.

Under localization, we mean making your company, and its products and services accessible in other languages, and not only in English.

There are different types of localization - for example, power sockets are different in the UK than in other parts of the world, so for this kind of product you need to do specific localization.

Software localization is more than translating because you need to focus on different currencies, and time zones, resize your design, and have cultural differences in mind.

The localization manager is the one who leads the team of people responsible for localization.

In big companies, you have a localization manager position and a team that he/she is leading.

Smaller companies typically have a 'one-person fits all' approach, where a localization manager or specialist deals with all departments (developers, marketers, designers, translators, etc.).

Another option for small companies is to outsource this localization manager's duties. It's possible that they don't have enough work for a full-time job for a longer period of time. It all depends on the size of your project, your budget, and how much potential you see in the new market.

In each case, you would need some specific set of skills for the localization manager position.

Localization manager researches, coordinates and sets up the environment for translation to happen

It is important to be aware of the challenges you should overcome to enter the new market - a research analysis should be performed to develop your strategy and requirements for a localization manager.

Choosing the target market and language that offers the greatest return on investment will need a budget and software that will assist in the entire process.

Developers should prepare code, localization managers should find translators, ensure they will do a high-quality job, and that code is safe.

Coordination of those processes requires project management skills as well as knowledge of translation management systems. At the very least, knowing those systems exist and further researching the system that best suits your needs.

The biggest achievement for localization managers is to automate content updates and set up a continuous translation process.

Because localization is a continuous process, you need to use a localization technology that will smoothen the process. This will improve the speed and quality of a big website localization project.

Having localized content that carries the brand message across cultures while attracting customers globally is some of the biggest accomplishments of a localization manager.

Localization manager salary

The role of the localization project manager

We will split day-to-day responsibilities from strategic ones.

Day-to-day tasks usually include things like:

  • establishing internal communications
  • leading status update meetings or sprint planning
  • preparing files for translation (together with the developer)
  • reporting
  • language services organization

From a broader perspective for localization manager role:

  • research the market to determine which language is the right one for the given moment and company growth, and expansion plans. Use google statistics for this or have a look at the most spoken languages in the world
  • measure performance on existing languages, like cost per customer acquisition, revenue
  • put in place the localization strategy from beginning to end
  • coordinate and select translators, freelancers
  • cooperate with designers, content specialists, developers
  • organize internal training
  • ensuring high-quality output
  • reporting of progress to internal stakeholders
  • estimate project risks and project scope, and doing the prioritization
  • research and implement the best localization technology available for your business needs to improve efficiency
  • budget forecast for entering a new market
  • monitoring statistics on return on investment for the company
  • follows timely updates of the source text and syncs with translations
  • leading briefs
  • building regional guidelines with the specifics of a new market
  • creating, maintaining, and managing glossaries and translation memory to provide brand consistency, and translation consistency
  • setting up the environment in a translation management system with other apps the company is already working with
  • ensures accuracy of translations by screenshots management for better context and by supporting communication

If you are outsourcing part of the localization process, the role of a localization manager is to ensure that the person with the correct expertise is selected. Also, your outsourcing partner needs to understand your product, the market you target, and your brand message.

When outsourcing localization, managers must be sure that partners are using the best and most suitable software and technology solutions for better tracking, reviewing, and overseeing the localized content.

Profile and competencies

Excellent project management and communication skills are required for this job.

A localization project manager is a highly cross-functional person, who overcomes cultural differences through detailed research of the local market.

Attention to detail is another great asset for being a localization manager.

Required experience and skills set for the localization project manager role:

  • Working knowledge of industry-standard localization tools - tech-savvy
  • Strong analytical problem-solving skills
  • Strong attention to details
  • Full professional fluency in English (additional languages are a plus)
  • Proven track record of managing language localization projects and previous experience collaborating with Language System Protocols
  • BA/BS degree or equal practical experience
  • Excellent organizational, time management, and communication skills
  • Cross-functional collaboration experience

A plus: Multilingual: it is an advantage to be fluent in multiple languages.

Anyway, localization managers are globally minded, culturally aware people and comfortable working remotely or across time zones and cultures.

How to become a localization manager?

Job titles may be more specific, such as Localization Manager, or more general, such as Project Manager II.

Before you can specialize in localization specifics like translation, it is desirable to have:

  1. Project management experience or certifications like Project Management Professional, or
  2. E-learning course well-respected in the project management community (covers stakeholder management, how to create a project plan, hiring the right project team for your organization, and more).

It is a big advantage if you have a Project Management Professional certification. There are also translator certifications that can help you to be considered for the position of localization manager.

If this is a role that you are interested in, learn and work on project management skills. You can also take initiative in your current company in organizational roles. In this way you can start small and end big while realizing in practice is this the thing you actually want ο»ΏπŸ™‚ο»Ώ

How to be one of the best

The most successful localization experts (as well as any expert) always ask the right questions, while making realistic and attainable projections.

They have good prioritization, output (visual, linguistic, technical), organization, and remain within budget for the project.

Having a thorough understanding of the local market and habits will make you one of the most reputable. This can be researched or gained by experience (tip: a mix of both would be the most effective).

Many localization project managers can speak multiple foreign languages.

That helps establish correct communication with translators and do a better estimate of the time frame for the project.

Localization managers should also understand the translation services market. So, they can negotiate better terms and understand which requirements are realistic.

Proper certification, as we already mentioned, can play a significant and distinctive role in making you an expert.

Why your business needs a localization manager?

If you are planning to grow your business, you would like to enter new markets.

How to enter new markets with a higher percent of ROI?

Reach your new audience in their native language! People are 75% more likely to buy from a brand that speaks their language. It is critical to keep cultural differences in mind. In some cultures, something can be offensive while in others it is completely normal.

For organizing this process, it would be ideal to have a person from that specific country.

The localization manager makes sure that users get their desired product in their native language. Having a localization manager will reduce the burden on your engineering and operations team.

They collaborate with other team members and develop a localization strategy depending on the company's goals. The end goal is to expand the company's international reach, thus improving profit.

Localization manager benefits

Before any of this can be done, your localization strategy must determine which markets you are entering and why.

What tools your localization manager must use?

Localization project managers need to find a way to create a single system where all the data would be synced, reviewed, and have the necessary consistency and quality.

For this, they need a translation management system.

In translation management systems they can develop their own environment, which is going to be consistent. Those systems have features like Translation Memory and Glossaries.

Whenever you decide to integrate some software solution, it should save you time, streamline your tasks, ensure better collaboration, and help you to focus on personal interaction and creative work.

Before TMS teams used spreadsheets and excel tables for this kind of localization stuff.

That does the work when you have a very small project, but over time with updates and bigger projects, those lists look kind of scary πŸ™‚

How Localizely helps localization managers?

Improves your time to market

Localizely is a translation management system that enables workflow planning, that helps end costly delays and errors.

Localizely enables you to build translation memory, and glossaries, use integrated machine translation and document the entire process. You can find what you need in a few clicks and translate it.

Here is a glance at what happens at each step:

  1. Your developers create the translation keys and store the code in a repository like GitHub, or GitLab, (which integrates with Localizely). You upload localization files to your translation management system - Localizely.
  2. Collaboration: connect translators, editors, and proofreaders to the project and assign tasks to them. Role assignments will give them the access they need. Use chat to comment together on the specific string that needs to be translated. Attach screenshots to a specific translation key (string) for a better understanding.
  3. Translate: do it in-house, outsource, or use machine translation.
  4. Review it. See how much is done in Reports and Statistics, and estimate the time to finish.
  5. Manage the entire localization process from a single dashboard.

Localization manager jobs

A simple search on Linkedin will give you a lot of information up to date about the Localization manager role. Also, you can check Glassdoor.

Take the initiative and lead your next translation project in your company!

Good luck!

Conclusion

The key to growing your business internationally is to enter new markets. To enter new markets you need to prepare your product for the brand-new launch. This preparation is coordinated by the localization manager.

Statistics show that localization manager jobs are in high demand.

If you are looking to streamline your workflow, maximize productivity, and collaboration, ensure quality, and have all in one place regarding localization - you are ready for a new role in your company or for a new partner - localization manager.

They will speed up expansion to other markets with software solutions like Localizely.

Next steps

Further reading - translation management system and 13 functionalities. This article will help you understand the possibilities of translation management systems and what is important to look for.Β 

Try now Localizely with 15 days free trial, no card is needed.

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