How to Build a Localization Team that Scales Your Business

Contents

Every business wants to grow bigger. Just take a look at McDonald’s. What started as a small burger and shakes joint in California is now the go-to fast food place of millions of people in almost every continent. Who made it happen? Localization teams.

They adapted their products, content, and marketing strategies to capture the tastes of different cultures around the world. No doubt, such a massive effort requires great expertise and collaboration.

If you’re building a localization team to expand your business globally, who do you need to make it a success? Here’s everything you need to know about the people you need, the roles they play, and the makings of a winning team.

Overview
  1. Why you need a localization team
  2. Who do you need on your localization team
  3. What to consider when building your localization team
  4. Best tools for your localization team
  5. How to measure your team's efforts: Localization KPIs
  6. Why make Redokun part of your localization team
  7. Summary

Why you need a localization team

Do you really need a whole team to start expanding… or do you only need to hire excellent translators?

Effective localization is more than just translating your website and content so that they’re more accessible to new markets.

You also need to pay close attention to:

  • Your target customers’ buying habits and preferences.
  • The culture and values of your target market.
  • Any design or copy adjustments you need to implement because of said culture and values.
  • The right platforms to promote your product or service locally.
  • Your competitors in the region (for example, in terms of product offerings or search rankings.)
  • Any feedback about your product or copy that you can obtain from the consumers themselves.

If there is a translator who can cover all of the above… that is surely one exhausted translator.

To grow your business in a new region, you need professionals from different fields to work together. Each person brings a special skill set to the table, ensuring the market can fully and continuously identify with your product or service.

Even in mid-sized companies that have to work within tight budgets, localization is the work of a small team where each person wears multiple hats. Not all of the hats at once, though.

Who do you need on your localization team

Who you need on your localization team

The size and nature of your business will affect the structure of your localization team. But here are the people you will generally need in a localization project:

  1. Project Manager
  2. Marketing Specialist
  3. Translator / Language Expert
  4. Content Writer
  5. Software Developer
  6. Designer
  7. Localization Quality Assurance Specialist

1. Project Manager

The project manager oversees and coordinates the entire localization process. They implement the localization management system your company has set in place so that the team can work smoothly.

Main responsibilities of a project manager:

  • Communicate with stakeholders about project updates or changes.
  • Assign roles to team members.
  • Determine essential deliverables.
  • Ensure that everyone is making progress to meet key milestones.
For additional information, here's a detailed guide on how to manage localization projects.

2. Marketing Specialist

Marketing specialists analyse the local market to identify which content or materials need to be localised in line with your company's marketing strategy. They will also guide your product or service promotion efforts by obtaining valuable data on the market specifics and preferences.

Main responsibilities of a marketing specialist:

  • Develop plans for marketing localization strategy.
  • Conduct market analysis for the locale.
  • Determining which channels to focus on (e.g. social media, search engines).
  • Creating marketing guidelines for content creators.

3. Translator / Language Expert

Translators and language experts and the major “fieldworkers” of localization. They translate the content that needs to be translated, making sure it sounds natural and relatable to native speakers.

While it isn't a requirement, it's helpful to find translators with expertise in the type of content you localize. Different translators specialize in different niches, such as scientific texts, technical documentation, marketing content, etc. So before hiring a translator, make sure it’s the right match by learning more about their skills and experience in past projects.

Main responsibilities of a translator:

  • Translate documents and marketing communications, paying close attention to the use of jargon, idioms, and slang.
  • Help with transcreation to maintain your brand voice and style, even in cases where a direct translation is not possible.

4. Content Writer

At times, you will need someone to create unique content in the target language, which you haven't created because there is simply no need for it in your existing markets.

This includes additional materials your marketing team deems necessary, such as social media posts, blog entries, and video scripts. This is where the work of a content writer comes in.

Now a translator may also play the role of a content writer - many of them do - but not all translators are good content writers.

Main responsibilities of a content writer:

  • Create new and original content in the target language. Ideally filling some kind of content gap that can help you attract more customers in the new market.
  • Help enrich the existing materials your company has to share with the new target audience

5. Software Developer

If you localize any type of software or a website, your developer plays a key role in your localization project's successs. Developers generally extract textual content for localization and then reintegrate the localised text back into the software product.

If you localize software of any type or a website, the developers’ role is key to the localization project's success. They extract content for localization from the code and then reintegrate the localized parts back into the product.

Main responsibilities of a software developer:

  • Develop and adjust the software to local preferences. For example, if you have an e-commerce app, the currency should be set to reflect the local currency.
  • Extract translatableand reintegrate translatable content to and from the software code.
  • Ensuring the localised product is bug free and runs correctly.

6. Designer

A designer maintains your company's design code and visual identity. As you know already, localizing your product or content goes beyond translating the words. You also want to ensure that the localized output has a clean and consistent look (so nothing looks like it was done hastily just to get it out there).

Design and layout adjustments are sometimes necessary when translating brochures, social media images, and other assets. Especially when the structure of the target language is significantly different from your original, such as taking up more space, different reading directions, etc.

Main responsibilities of a designer:

  • Maintain and adjust the design of the localized content or product.
  • If needed, create new designs to better attract local customers.
Pro-tip: Unexpected design changes and inconsistencies can become a major source of hidden localization costs? Every hour your designer spends fixing the design layout in the post-translation stage is a cost in time and money. That's why many localization teams handle their translation process using specialized translation software, which helps them maintain the design of the documents after translation.

As a result, their designers wouldn't need to rebuild the design for the translated documents. They only need to review and polish what the software has automatically generated, which cuts down on costs and your time to market.

7. Localization Quality Assurance (LQA) Specialist

Quality assurance experts review the localized product and ensure that it meets the target quality. Localization quality assurance is crucial for the success of your localization project, so don’t overlook this role in your team even if you trust your translators.

An LQA specialist will approach the localized product or content with a local perspective to identify any previously overlooked inaccuracies or inconsistencies.

Main responsibilities of a localization quality assurance specialist:

  • Test product or service and provide feedback for quality control.

What to consider when building your localization team

1. What is your localization strategy?

To know what kind of people your localization team requires, you need to build a localization strategy. Without a strategy guiding every decision the team will need to make, it's hard to keep everyone on the same page, let alone moving them towards the same goals.

When coming up with a localization strategy, you would want to address the following questions:

  • Where do you want to localize? Decide on your target locale: country, region, and target language.
  • What’s your potential reach? Use data such as population demographics to determine your audience size and profile.
  • What do you want to localize? Is it a website, separate web pages, specific products or services, your social media account, or a combination of those? (here's a detailed content localization strategy)

Once you identify these factors, you'll have an overview of the project scale and direction, as well as the size of the team needed to make it happen.

Factors to consider when building a localization team - Localization strategy

2. What will be your localization processes?

Then comes nailing down your localization process. You should have a clear idea of what steps and SOPs your team workflow will entail. That way, your team members will know where they come in and which processes they own in a project.

Depending on the scale and vision of your project, you might have more or less steps in your workflow. The most common steps are:

  1. Market analysis. First, you need to do some research on the target market and the habits of its consumers. This is a necessary step if you want to make sure your product or service actually has a demand in the region.
  2. Plan and prep. Now, you're laying out the project flow and equipping your team with localization tools that can make their jobs easier, such as a translation management system.
  3. Content extraction and management. Your textual content is extracted and collected for your translators to work on. This can also be done faster with the help of translation software (as opposed to manual extraction).
  4. Translation. This is the step where your text gets translated.
  5. Review and quality control. Next, the translation will need to be proofread and revised to fix mistakes or inconsistencies.
  6. Translated content reintegration. Once your translation has been checked thoroughly, the text must be placed back into its original file format so it can be published.
  7. Localized product testing and launch. Whether you localize a website, a document, or an app, you can conduct a pre-launch testing to avoid any undesirable results (such as culturally insensitive translations).
Factors to consider when building a localization team - localization process

Best tools for your localization team

Find people with the right skillset and then equip them with the right toolset. You'll be on the right track to complete your localization project smoothly.

Localization tools are any kind of software or platform that helps increase your team's productivity or optimize your resources throughout the process.

1. File storage and sharing tools

  • For seamless access to shared assets, you localization team should have an online space or digital drive to access important folders and documents.
  • Examples: Google Drive, Dropbox Business, Redokun

2. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools

  • Content translation can be time-consuming. CAT tools speeds up this process by leveraging machine translation to provide suggestions as you translate your text.
  • Examples: Redokun, or check out our compilation of the best CAT tools here.

3. Translation management systems

  • A translation management system is a software tool you can use to automate and streamline your entire localization workflow. It combines both of the tools mentioned above, and some even come with additional features, such as collaborative online platforms for team-based translations.
  • Example: Redokun

4. Bug tracking tools

  • Use bug tracking or testing tools to ensure your localized website and app localization works smoothly.
  • Examples: BugHerd, Jira, QA Wolf.
How to optimize localization workflow — Best tools for your localization team


How to measure your team's efforts: Localization KPIs

Once you've built your team, you want to make sure each member brings it in their respective roles. To know whether your localization efforts are working, you need to create a set of KPIs for the group, for individual team members, or both.

Here are some example of localization KPIs:

  • Translation speed, or volume of translations completed in a specific time period.
  • Percentage of translation accuracy (or percentage of translation errors).
  • Ratio of on-time deliveries to deadline extensions.
  • Translation cost per x number of words.
  • Customer acquisition rate for the new target market.
  • Total localization cost relative to revenue.
  • Engagement rates on social media.

You should determine which metrics are relevant to your localization project so you can increase its predictability and assess the localization progress for every member involved.

With the right localization tools and clearly established KPIs, your localization team is set up for success.

Why make Redokun part of your localization team

If your localization team is the driving force of global business, a good localization tool like Redokun is their vehicle.

Your team doesn't need complicated translation software to succeed in localization. They only need one that they can start using easily. Redokun is the right tool for translating a wide range of documents, including InDesign, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and XLIFF (just to name a few).

What your team gets from Redokun

Redokun helps improve different aspects of your localization workflow: file storage, team management, translation productivity, and design control.

  • Quick extraction of the text you need to translate. Whether you're translating an InDesign brochure or SRT video subtitles, just upload the file to Redokun and the translatable text will be automatically extracted for your translators.
  • Integrated CAT tools so your translator can get machine translation suggestions instantly. This feature is made even stronger with a built-in translation memories database, which suggests highly accurate translations based on the content you’ve already localized and approved.
  • An online collaboration space where both your in-house localization team and external vendors can work together, even remotely.
  • Secure cloud-based storage for your company's assets. The localization manager can control the access permissions of each member so they only have access to the documents they're assigned to.
  • Automatic formatting for translated documents. Once your translation is done, you can download the document in the same format and style as the original you uploaded.

Last but not least, Redokun is very easy to introduce to your existing workflow, even with all the powerful features included. Your team won’t need to undergo lengthy training or watch endless tutorials. After all, time efficiency is essential in any business.

Summary

A localization team is more than just a handful of translators working their linguistic magic on your content. It is a group of qualified professionals from different fields who bring the localization project to life and make it whole. To set them up for success, make sure not to skimp on the tools they need to feel motivated and be more productive.

And hey, if you feel like changes need to be made to your current workflow, your free trial of Redokun will be here and test it out with your entire team today.

Till next time,

Anastasia

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