There are certain challenges that you’ll likely face during your localization career. In this article, we give you the keys to overcoming these challenges and making your localization project successful. So, if you are interested in localization project management or another position in the localization field, keep reading! 

Upstream preparation: provide product knowledge!

If you have ever worked as a translator, you probably know that it is extremely difficult to provide good quality translations without context. Product development and product localization are handled by different teams who often work for different companies. Without proper preparation and communication, this can lead to challenges in the localization process. For example, how can translators get the necessary context and product information to produce an accurate and suitable translation?

First, during the preparation of the product, developers should provide explanations for any text that will be displayed. These explanations inform translators about the purpose and the meaning of the text. Developers should also provide information on character limits, which is essential in order to adapt text to user interfaces as well as to other content types. A button displayed on a mobile interface, for instance, might have a very short character limit. If this isn’t communicated to the translators, it can result in truncation and spending extra time and money on correcting it. Supplying translators with all the information they need greatly minimizes the risk of potential errors.

Project preparation is also an important stage that should not be overlooked. During this stage, the localization project manager should create a localization kit that includes:

  • the content to be translated in an appropriate format
  • a glossary for each target language with specific terms and their definitions. If no glossary is provided, it must be created. 
  • translation memories (files containing similar past translations that can be used as reference for current translations and save translators a considerable amount of time)
  • a style guide that explains, for example, the tone that should be used, the parts of text that should not be translated, or the audience that the text is intended for. This ensures that the text’s style will be consistent, even if many translators are working on it
  • reference materials, such as screenshots and demo versions, which give translators context and a deeper understanding of the product 

The job of a localization project manager is to make sure that the product and project preparations have been done correctly. One of the keys to a project’s success is facilitating communication and information sharing between the teams involved. Another important aspect to consider is staying within budget and time limitations.

CAT Tools: deal with tight deadlines and a limited budget 

Respecting deadlines while meeting the budget can be a really tough job. You are often going to work with clients who are on a very tight schedule for their product launches. A good localization project manager knows that organization is key in these cases, and always uses the best-performing tools. When used the right way, CAT tools can help save a considerable amount of time and money.

For example, if there are existing translation memories, CAT tools can automatically translate parts of the text, which saves a lot of time since the previously translated text is recycled and translators won’t have to translate everything from scratch. It also helps reduce costs as translators are paid by the word and the sentences that have already been translated in previous projects are paid at a lower rate. The similarity (called translation memory matches) varies between 50% and 100% and these words are only paid a percentage of the full word rate. The grid feature of certain CAT tools can help localization managers estimate discounted rates to make sure the project stays within the budget.

The success of localization project management

Productivity and turnaround of localization projects depend on the project manager being aware of these and other challenges as well as possible solutions. CAT tools can enhance profitability if they are used correctly in the project. There are plenty of other tools that can also be used in this field, such as localization project management tools, terminology management tools, and translation memory management tools. We highly recommended taking advantage of these to ensure the success of your localization projects.

What tools do you recommend? Do you have other tips to add? Let us know in the comments!

Also, interested in localization courses? Have a look at the TCLoc master’s program