Localization Management: 6 Ways to Get It Wrong

by | Jul 2, 2021

Localization managers have challenging jobs that require knowledge in several fields: linguistics, IT, finance, and human resources. They handle projects, workflows, budgets, client communications, and collaboration with international professionals. Effective localization management necessitates a clear understanding of the company’s or client’s target audiences in order to deliver the best localized translations.

localization management

Good localization managers require the bold planning of an army general and the organizational skills of a librarian. However, even the best localization professional can run into trouble without proper planning, tools, communication practices, and reporting. Let’s take a look at what may undermine effective localization management.

1. Over-Promising and Unassertiveness

Localization managers tend to come under pressure to take on more tasks and meet — or move up — deadlines for multiple projects. This is why being assertive concerning the feasibility of a task is essential. If you automatically answer “Maybe” or “I’ll see what I can do” to requests, you could be setting yourself up for months of stress.

What to Do: First, consider the scope of the project. As a localization manager, you should have a good idea of how long a project should take. To know this, make a habit of keeping track of the hours spent for each type of task you work on. After estimating the project duration, try not to offer a specific date. Instead, provide a range that provides a safety buffer for both the delivery date and your budget. 

  • Example: If you add two weeks or an additional $500, you’ll save yourself from the stress of taking too much time or overspending. Moreover, the primary stakeholder will be happy with the speed or the money “saved.”

2. Planning Alone and in Your Head

Many people are prone to planning things in their heads and believing they’ll be able to remember them later. However, this becomes increasingly difficult if you’ve got several tasks with different prioritization levels.

What to Do: A written plan that includes a workflow is crucial to achieving a successful and on-time project. Such a plan enables you to show your team what you expect from them, provides an overview for your manager, and can act as a presentation to sell your localization management services to potential clients. A top translation and localization platform such as Localize includes organizational tools with real-time, actionable workflows that you can customize to meet your specific needs.

3. Not Consulting Your Team

You may be quite a smart cookie, but you can’t possibly be familiar with all the ins and outs of everyone’s job. Getting your team members involved in the planning will increase your success rate. Effective localization management requires listening to the experiences and opinions of other professionals. And, after all, they’ll be the ones doing the work. Considering their input will make them more likely to buy into the project and gain a sense of ownership.

What to Do: You don’t necessarily need an in-house team of translators to consult with. Get in touch with translation freelancers via online communities for the information you seek. Many engaged professionals are more than eager to swap ideas.

4. Not Communicating Properly

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw

If you provide little to no instructions to your translators, you should not be surprised if you get something back that’s different from what you were expecting. Assuming your translators can read your mind just increases the amount of work that will have to be redone.

What to Do: As a localization manager, the more instructions you provide, the better. The clearer you make your wishes and intentions, the more precise the deliverables will be.

5. Providing Insufficient Resources

Effective localization management requires that you provide language specialists with as many resources as possible, including:

  • Style guides.
  • Glossaries, including technical terms, branded terms, and spelling variations.
  • Target audience description (customer persona). Who is the translator writing for, and how can they shape the text to be most effective?
  • Company branding documentation, including company culture, mission, values, etc.

Localize gives you the option to add style guides, reference materials, and comments for task-specific instructions. 

5. Lack of Review

It’s vital to review your finished tasks to help you and your team grow and improve future projects. Don’t miss this step in a project life cycle because you think you don’t have the time. 

What to Do: Conduct a team-wide retrospective — or at least one with all the team heads. This is a great way to fix past mistakes and prevent the same ones going forward. 

Localize allows you to evaluate various project measurables, e.g., quality, productivity, speed, and cost. 

6. Not Making Technology Your Best Friend

You don’t want to be a digital paper-pusher spending too much tedious time clicking, uploading, downloading, filing, and doing other boring and time-consuming tasks. Effective localization management requires you to use technology to the fullest. 

What to Do: Using a quality translation management system (TMS) such as Localize can significantly reduce the time spent on necessary but repetitive tasks. Write down a list of your biggest issues and test the software in a free trial. Check off your list as you proceed and see How the TMS measures up. You may even find some useful functions you never knew you needed!

Effective Localization Management: Final Thoughts

Using the right tools to reduce the number of repetitive tasks, monitor the progress of your projects, and assess results, enables you to get back to the enjoyable parts of your job, such as localization and quality optimization. After all, that’s why you became a localization manager in the first place! Isn’t this something to strive for? See for yourself with no strings attached — try Localize today