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How to Become a Localization Project Manager

Zsófia Lelner
Zsófia Lelner - 23/05/2022

6 minute read

As we pointed out in our previous article, localization project managers are a crucial part of a business’ globalization and localization strategy. They participate in a myriad of steps when it comes to localization by creating a localization strategy, managing translators and stakeholders, overseeing localization projects, and keeping track of deadlines and the budget. 

More and more companies have started to recognize the importance of having a project manager for their translation/localization efforts, thus, more and more LPM jobs have appeared on the market. Also, since localization project managers can, in some cases, work remotely, more and more people are interested in these roles as project managers. 

In this blog post, we’d like to summarize what makes a good localization project manager and how you can become one if you’re interested in this career path. 

Skills to Master as a Localization Project Manager 

First, let’s see what skills you need if you want to work as an LPM. The following skills are taken from job descriptions of localization project managers from different companies. 

The ability to work in a team 

First of all, project managers need to maintain an open line of communication between members of the localization team as well as other stakeholders. This means that a localization project manager needs to have excellent people skills. You need someone who is a good listener to advocate for their team and also facilitate communication between team members outside of their immediate team. 

They also need to be aware of any conflict between team members so that they can respond with empathy and understanding to help solve any problems. 

Time management and organizational skills 

On your way to becoming a localization project manager, you will learn a great deal about managing localization projects. Sometimes you will need to juggle multiple projects with various deadlines, priorities, and stakeholders. Furthermore, you will also have to adhere to the standards of the company and the client you work for. 

This means that you always have to be on top of your game when it comes to organization. You must learn to think in terms of systems and concepts.  

A (technical) knowledge of localization 

When you’re contemplating whether and how to become a localization project manager, you need to be aware that it is as much about technology as it is about management. As an LPM, you must have a working knowledge of at least one translation management system (or interest and willingness to learn how to use it). You will work with multiple systems as well as a vast amount of data. Being technologically savvy will come in handy. 

Also, you must be aware of other aspects of localization once you decide to become a localization project manager. Localization is not only about taking the source text and simply translating it into another language. Localization also takes cultural aspects into account, and “translates” a whole experience into another language. 

Problem-solving and efficiency 

In the localization industry, you will often come across situations that simply cannot be predicted; therefore, a successful localization professional must always be prepared to solve whatever challenge might come their way. Last-minute tasks, changes in the documents or requirements, turnaround times, and team members — you’ll learn how to regroup, rearrange, and reprioritize in no time. 

In addition to all of this, it also helps if a project manager working in localization also has experience with a global team, and speaks multiple languages. 

How to Become a Localization Project Manager: Qualifications 

Although localization project managers do not carry out any translation or localization work themselves, they often come from the localization industry and have a background in translation. In our experience, it always helps if the PM has a degree and some working knowledge of the translation process. 

It also works the other way around. For recent graduates, who are not yet sure which part of the translation industry is most suited for them, this is a nice and easy way to dip their toes in the water and feel around the industry a bit. 

Important note: The requirements for localization project managers vary from company to company. Sometimes your employer will not only require a degree in translation, but also a working knowledge in a certain field, e.g., life sciences. Others will not require any qualifications. Luckily, project managers are always needed on all levels, so there are many options available, and you can surely find one that suits your qualifications and interests. 

If you are sure that you are interested in the management side of things and want to become a localization project manager right away, this is certainly also possible. There is a myriad of project management courses available. Some of them can be taken remotely, and others at universities. Some include localization project management specifically, and others that are broader. 

Which one to choose? That’s totally up to you and your goals and interests. If you know for sure that localization project management is the only option for you, go for it. If you enjoy the field but want to keep your options open, then take a course that allows you to dabble in more areas than just localization. The opportunities are endless! 

How to Get Started with Localization Project Management in memoQ 

It would be hard to list everything in memoQ TMS that makes the lives of localization project managers easier. We cherry-picked our favorites, so in a future post, we’re going to highlight our favorite features of memoQ project manager. 

In the meantime, we encourage you to head over to memoQ academy for our project management courses which will help you thrive as a localization PM from start to finish. Whether you’re a beginner or you have been doing localization project management for a couple of years, we’re sure we can teach you something new and make you more confident in your role. Give it a try! 

project management

Zsófia Lelner

Zsófia Lelner

Linguist turned content marketer, telling the story of memoQ.

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