Preparing for a Localization Career
6 min read
Whether you’re working with a localization manager to adapt your product or service, or are looking to become one, you might be curious about what it takes to make a person successful in this role. Read on to discover six things successful localization managers do.
A localization manager can sometimes feel like a translator at the United Nations (UN), working on high-stakes projects and responsible for translating important messages so that they are easily understood by speakers of the language around the globe. In addition to overseeing the successful adaptation of a product or content to fit a target location or market, the manager also must make sure the message resonates with the audience. And they’ve got to carry out all this while working in a large, distributed organization spread out over multiple time zones.
Localization managers create a smooth translation and localization process that meets the needs of a worldwide target audience and have the power to make or break a product. So, what does one need to do to be successful in this role?
Localization managers are no strangers to working across different time zones, which can mean a 24/7 workflow if you don’t manage your time expertly. No one wants to be caught working on the weekends trying to meet deadlines. What’s worse is that clients may conclude that you’re in over your head with the project workload if you are responding to emails and sending files at 2 am on a Saturday. Managing your schedule is not a one-fits-all solution, and what works for one manager may not work for another. However, successful localization managers have their daily routine down to a science. They manage their tasks throughout the day to make the most of business hours overlap among their distributed team members.
While it’s your duty to see the bigger picture and ensure all things are running smoothly, the money is in the details, and ignoring the small stuff while focusing only on the wider scale can be a straight path to a project’s failure. A localization manager’s responsibilities run the gamut, including managing client expectations, budgets, timelines, and accounts. Though the main goal is to preside over the process and set the team up to execute each stage of the project, a successful localization manager must divide themself between high-level strategy and working out the kinks in the details to best support their team. However, successful managers are wary of falling into the trap of micromanaging by delegating and trusting that their team has the necessary expertise to carry out their assigned tasks.
It’s easy to fall behind on emails, especially when they are pouring in at a mile a minute. Your first thought might be, ”I’ll respond to this later.” Success is synonymous with knowing which emails require more focus than others, yet still responding to clients promptly to eliminate backlogs and maintain a consistent flow of communication with all stakeholders. After all a cohesive team of translators, interpreters, data engineers, and localization specialists requires effective communication to get the job done.
It’s better to decide and run with a decision than to remain hesitant after an initial clarification and ask a multitude of questions. It’s not uncommon for clients to question your ability in the face of too many questions. However, it can be a fine line to walk, and the rule of thumb is to ‘always gauge your client’s expectations.’
All projects are not the same, and successful localization managers understand that clients shape the way a project is managed. Adapting to the needs and expectations of each client can mitigate challenges and help define the strategy for each project. While some clients prefer to be hands-on throughout the process, others prefer minimal explanations and delivered results. That’s not to say they forgo consistency for the sake of being flexible. On the contrary, localization managers know that consistency across the board fosters trust with their team and clients. However, they are flexible enough to navigate changes as they come.
A successful manager in any vertical or department understands that the actions of their team are what keep things running smoothly. To maintain high-quality output from their team, a localization manager makes it clear that they value the work their team is doing. They acknowledge and commend their efforts when they go the extra mile on a project. A team that is encouraged to think, to put forward their thoughts, and question the status quo is a team designed for success.
Successful localization of your product or service can make all the difference in increasing your market share, growing your business, and winning out over your competitors. Want to ensure your localization project is in capable hands? Reach out.
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