Teams face many questions when it comes to localization. Once you decide to scale your product internationally, you have a lot of work to do. Besides deciding on the target market, languages, and budget, you’ll need to find software, prepare your code, upload the files, find translators, ensure they won’t crush the code, have all the resources to provide high-quality translations, and more.
In most cases, coordinating all of these efforts is the job of a dedicated person with management skills, understanding how to automate content updates and set up a continuous translation process.
Businesses looking to expand internationally typically have an in-house team member in charge of localization or outsource this role. To free up your teams from handling new extra tasks and for those who don’t have a lot of content and updates to hire an in-house employee, Crowdin offers to hire a virtual localization manager to handle the role of your localization lead.
Why the job of a localization project manager is so crucial for a product to succeed internationally? Who should hire a virtual localization manager? Keep reading to find the answers.
Why Do You Need a Localization Manager
Every tech product requires a project manager to deal with stuff like directing people, gathering resources, creating budgets, and prioritizing tasks. Among these aspects, the localization project manager takes care of uploading content, maintaining style guides and translation memories, QA testing, communication with translators, and syncing translations back.
Localization management platforms and Crowdin, in particular, can streamline the localization process, reduce its duration through automation of simple tasks, and help its members perform localization efficiently. However, in order to get the most from the software, you need someone who has more expertise in this area, not just someone who did some research (like developers, marketers or other team members you choose to burden with localization).
Obviously, having a localization manager is important. Still not sure? Let’s see.
Put your finger down if:
- You want to localize your product
- You don’t have a dedicated localization team
- You have regular content updates (more than once a year)
- You need someone to manage translators
- You need to create/maintain style guides and glossaries
- You need to set up the workflow (configure machine translation, integrations)
- You want to ensure translation quality and need an easy way to provide translators with context
We spoke to managers with extensive localization experience about the impact of a localization manager on a project. And here are their thoughts.
A localization manager should be data-driven and detail-orientated to deliver the best results
“Localization managers must have data at their fingertips, and be able to use the data to tell a story that has an impact on the running localization program and overall product development and goals, as well as be able to use insights to tweak the processes towards achieving the right goals.”
A manager needs to know how each part of the localization project should run to monitor for potential issues and achieve a smooth translation process
“Managing localization well takes knowing how each part of the project should run so that you can help monitor for difficulties. But when you ask about impact, it’s true that a localization manager can make or break projects, because they may be called in to get a project back on track from scope creep (time and cost can creep up because of unnecessary or low priority tasks, that kind of thing), or make sure all details are progressing smoothly including file preparation, translation processes, QA and delivery despite complex files and large amounts of content or languages.”
Localization managers should collaborate with other team members and develop plans to improve the company’s international reach
“Localization managers not only run the localization strategy on a tactical level, but they’re also the key business partners that influence the international strategy while making it come to life. They collaborate, evaluate, consult, and implement plans with team members across an organization to optimize projects or products for international access and growth.”
The localization managers should always ask the right questions while making realistic and attainable projections
“A Localization Manager should aim to remove friction from project execution. They should be masters in using the best resources for the right projects addressing the defined requirements. With their knowledge and understanding of their organization they should be guardians of their own Team against unrealistic expectations and uncommunicated changes.”
The Profile of a Localization Manager
Localization managers ensure that the entire process runs smoothly, sticks to deadlines, and meets quality standards. Quite a challenge for those who have no experience and required skills.
“The localization manager should be the connector and the communicator, and always be looking for areas of the most efficient impact on growth, whatever growth means in any context the manager is working in. One other important skill is to be actively listening and intuitively re-engineer processes. Tools and technologies will come naturally into the picture to only serve really well polished processes.”
If you are new to localization, you might have a lot of questions and doubts when hiring localization managers. What tasks do they need to perform, and what skills do they need to succeed?
We prepared a list of experience and skills employers often mention on their job descriptions when searching for a localization manager. (based on Netflix, TikTok, Amazon, and other job descriptions)
Required Experience and Skills:
- Working knowledge of industry-standard localization tools
- Strong analytical problem-solving skills
- Strong attention to details
- Full professional fluency English (additional languages are a plus)
- Proven track record of managing language localization projects and previous experience collaborating with LSPs
- BA/BS degree or equivalent practical experience
- Detail-oriented, quality-focused with the ability to manage multiple tasks effectively
- Excellent organizational, time management, and communication skills
- Cross-functional collaboration experience working with stakeholders from product, marketing, or technology teams is a plus
- Manage localization projects and requirements across internal and external vendors
- Oversee end to end localization workflow using our translation management tools and systems
- Identify and manage project risk through prioritization, bug management, and more
- Drive high-quality output from localization vendors & freelancers
- Oversee the localization budget for your projects by gathering data on the cost, timeliness and quality of your projects
- Manage each step of the localization process: initiating, executing, and closing projects
- 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
Here is what Donato Giuliano, Director of Localization at HubSpot, thinks about the successful candidate’s skills.
“In my opinion, the top three are:
a. Stakeholders Management: a successful LM must excel at the discovery of stakeholders, they need to understand their needs and stay in sync. Failure to do so can easily lead to escalations and misunderstandings.
b. Requirements definition: pushing forward language quality at all costs when your stakeholders are asking for speed, and continuous deployments can easily lead to existential threats for Localization Teams.
c. Timing: an LM should be very grounded in the organisation’s reality. You can’t push for Localization best practices immediately in an organisation that has spent several years working only with the NA market. Well timed baby steps and a network of delighted stakeholders are key for a successful Localization Team.”
Virtual Localization Manager as a Service
Not sure if you need a dedicated role to manage localization? If you’re not ready or don’t have a workload big enough to hire a full-time localization expert, hiring a virtual localization manager might be the right choice for you.
You can hire a localization manager who works remotely, follows a flexible schedule, and coordinates all communication between project members.
Aside from this, the tasks of a Localization Manager include:
- Finding and communicating with translators
- Maintains timely updates of sources and sync of translations
- Overseeing the quality and consistency of translations
- Creating and maintaining a Glossary
- Managing the Translation Memory
- Ensures accuracy and relevance of translations by communicating with translators, configuring context features (screenshots management and in-context set up)
- Setting up all the apps and integrations
Delegate the localization tasks to an experienced localization manager, who helps your product reach a wider audience and frees up your engineering and operations teams.