Congratulations, you’re in charge of localization! …So now what?!
The good news
The bad news
So where do you start? I have three tips.
- Find a good vendor.
- Lead with your strengths.
- Get help with the rest.
Number one, you’re going to need a good vendor—or maybe several of them—no matter what you do. Localization is almost always outsourced, and for many good reasons. Vendor management is a whole discipline in itself, but if I had to get it down to one sentence, it would be this: “Don’t go by price, go by who understands your needs the best.” The best vendor is the one whose questions make sense, whose warnings ring true, and whose projections seem realistic. Trust your gut on this, because like Dr. Spock used to tell parents, “You know more than you think you do.”
Number two, lead with your strengths. If you know project management and development process, then take charge of the logistics, ride herd on your budgets and schedules, and be sure to under-promise and over-deliver. Do that and you’ll earn upper management’s confidence, and they’ll listen to you when you ask for resources. If you know the product or service inside and out, then share that knowledge with your translation team. Get involved in teaching it to them and answering their questions. Do that, and you’ll earn your team’s confidence, and they’ll have your back when challenges arise. If you’re a good people person, then put your energy into helping your group become a great team. Do that, and they’ll accomplish astonishing things.
Number three, get help. Nobody can learn it all, nobody can do it all, and faking it doesn’t work out as a strategy long term. To develop wise strategies and effective tactics in localization by yourself, you would need to become conversant in many or all of the following in addition to all the technical details of your product or service:
- Contract administration
- Project management
- Procurement and vendor management
- Local market requirements
- Global market research
- Global business practices and work cultures
- Terminology management
- Content management
- Product technology and development processes
- Desktop publishing technology and trends
- Quality assurance
- Translation memory, alignment, and leverage (reusability)
- Computer-assisted translation technology
- Virtual, distributed team leadership
- Facilitation and conflict resolution
- Translation workflow
- Localization best practices and industry trends
- Organizational politics
We’re here to help
GlobalPragmatica offers facilitative leadership with domain expertise in localization, internationalization, and project and program management. GlobalPragmatica provides pragmatic guidance to help a client-side organization develop and achieve its global vision through sustainable strategies, effective tactics, and committed teams. GlobalPragmatica also helps companies in the localization, translation, project management, and facilitation domains work better and smarter with their clients.
This article also appeared at GlobalPragmatica partner ENLASO’s Language Technology Center. For more information on how ENLASO can assist you with all of your localization needs, see http://www.translate.com.