Taking your business to a global level is no easy task. When you want to grow a business, the task list seems endless: you need to consider financial and legal aspects, hire the best candidates for all positions, and, of course, take care of localization.
Localization can be a powerful tool when taking your business to the next level. Translating and localizing your content can not only provide consistency in terminology across languages and strengthen your brand, but it also appeals to potential customers around the world by increasing trust and making them more likely to be interested in your services.
Okay, you’ve decided to go global and localize your content. Now what?
First, create your localization strategy by deciding which markets you want to tackle as well as in which languages and countries you want your services to be available. Then you can approach the actual localization part.
Localizing a whole business includes a myriad of tasks: translating the material, managing the resources and the translation outputs, managing the localization team, reporting on their performance and project status... the list goes on and on.
This is where the role of your localization team and your localization project manager comes in.
Why do you need a localization project manager?
However small or large an organization, it is always crucial for different tasks and processes to have an owner who oversees and coordinates said tasks from every possible angle (i.e., subtasks, deadlines, stakeholders, etc.).
This is no different in the case of localization. You need a project manager who has the necessary resources and tools to ensure that there is a single source of truth within the project and that everyone understands their role and performs their tasks on time.
The characteristics of a localization project manager
Based on the description above, there are certain qualities that a localization project manager must possess to be successful. Let’s see what they are.
First and foremost, a localization project manager must be able to effectively work in the translation management system of your choosing. The knowledge of the ins and outs of the chosen software from both a PM and a translator point of view prevents any surprises.
In localization project management there are many stakeholders to communicate with daily to maintain deadlines, stay on top of projects, and track and report on progress. This means that the PM must keep an open line of communication with everyone involved in the projects.
A localization project also involves many moving parts and a multitude of tasks. A PM must be able to assess and prioritize these tasks so that everything is delivered on time.
A born leader
The owner of localization projects always needs to know who is doing what within the project. They must be able to lead and coordinate a team and even train those team members on various methodologies or the use of a TMS.
When building the localization strategy for a new country or part of the world, a localization project manager not only has to make sure that the translations themselves are accurate, but they also need to take cultural and local aspects into account. They should be aware and open to the different cultures of the world.
What does a localization project manager do?
The exact role and daily tasks of a localization project manager may vary from country to country, or business to business. But in general, the project manager is the one who oversees the entire localization process.
Here’s for example, the job description of a localization project manager at TikTok:
- Manage each step of the localization process: initiating, executing, and closing projects
- Communicate effectively and proactively with stakeholders to ensure effective cross-team collaboration
- Coordinate with internal requestors and external LSPs to guarantee on-time, high-quality delivery of written content
- Analyze source files to identify potential challenges and establish preventative measures
- Keep a running record of financial data for each project to ensure expenditure does not exceed the budget
- Organize training sessions for LSPs to review feedback and troubleshoot all project-related issues
- Propose suggestions to the team for process improvement and tool and system optimization”
It is hard to define a beginning and an end to the job of a localization PM - it is rather one continuous task. However, we have tried to gather the most important steps in a localization project manager’s role (please note that these too can vary based on where you work as a PM).
- Take part in building the localization strategy
- Create/Manage the localization team, including translators, QA engineers, content managers, and others in departments who may be involved in the projects
- Manage the budget of each localization project
- Run/organize QA processes
- Be an expert on the translation management system the team uses for localization projects, and manage the stakeholders and projects in the software
- Prioritize individual tasks within the localization project
- Be on top of new translation technology trends, and continuously improve internal processes
- Create status updates and report to major stakeholders about localization projects
As you can see, there is a myriad of tasks to tackle as a localization project manager. One of these tasks is to be an expert user of the TMS of the organization’s choice. memoQ TMS was built for localization teams. This means that we also have a PM dashboard (memoQ project manager) and all functions needed for project management.
How to get started with localization project management in memoQ
It would be hard to list everything in memoQ TMS that makes the lives easier for localization project managers. We cherry-picked our favorites, so in a future post, we’re going to highlight our favorite features in 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.
Linguist turned content marketer, telling the story of memoQ.