A girl reading the best practices in localization project management
A girl reading the best practices in localization project management

The localization industry is critical to the success of multilingual businesses, especially in this global economy. However, there is still a lack of awareness of the importance of localizing content for all audiences. Localization project management is the process of managing the translation, transcreation and adaptation of UI/UX, marketing, legal, documentation and audiovisual content through the use of project management methodologies.

As companies go global, localization project management has become a critical element in ensuring success in international markets. Smartling refers to the localization project manager job as the glue of the localization process, but it’s hard to achieve success when the key factor is a little-known position. In this article, discover the best practices in localization.

Define the project scope early on

It goes without saying that flexibility is key when dealing with complex projects, but in order to ensure that certain goals are met within a given timeframe, defining a realistic project scope and listing the main desired objectives will help you determine the next steps and the time needed to complete the project.

Get involved in the project from the beginning as a localization professional

A common problem for localization professionals is that stakeholders often treat localization as an afterthought, so make sure your involvement starts in the early stages of development; a common practice would be to attend sprint kick-off meetings, strategy meetings, or the creation of a content calendar that includes localization timelines, as well as defining localization in the design phase if you are working on product localization.

Create reference materials for linguists

When working with multiple translators, reviewers, and localizers, it’s critical to create reference materials that serve as a “source of truth”; the most common materials in the industry are known as style guides, tone of voice, and terminology.

Your style guides should include your rules for standard writing, formatting, clarity, and a set of “do’s” and “don’ts” for better understanding, as tone of voice determines how your brand will communicate to your customers; tone of voice isn’t about what you say, but how you say it.

Monitor the progress of the project

Along the way, some tasks may get stuck at a certain stage, and it’s critical to investigate the causes of such issues to mitigate any potential delays. Depending on the length of time it takes to complete the tasks, you could get into the habit of reviewing the status of each task on a weekly or monthly basis. Over time, these reviews would become less time consuming, but the benefits would be well known.

Continuous improvement

Sometimes it can be confusing to have workflows, processes, or rituals that work very well, as the comfort zone of questioning every process could be exhausting, but is undoubtedly a must in project management, don’t be afraid to review your ways of working as there is always room for improvement.

In conclusion, follow these best practices, keep up with the latest project management trends and methodologies, apply them to your localization work, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask!


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