What Is Localization Management And How to Make It Work at Scale
Efficient localization management is crucial when expanding internationally. It simplifies your translation processes, clarifies localization strategies, and gives you superior control over your localization process. Best part? It leaves your competitors struggling to catch up.
In this article, we’ll answer “What is localization management?” and explain how it can be effectively implemented with the right tool.
Pro tip: Manual localization management is tedious and time-wasting. Use Centus to automate and streamline your localization management process. Learn more.
In this article, we’ll cover:
Localization management is the systematic process of coordinating, supervising, and enhancing the adaptation of a product, service, or content to the cultural, linguistic, and technical needs of a certain market or locality.
Localization management can you help with:
Project strategy: Defining the scope, objectives, timelines, and budget for the localization project.
Translation and adaptation: Translating the original content into the target languages while maintaining context and cultural sensitivity.
Technical localization: Adapting software or website to align with the local user preferences and technical requirements.
Quality assurance: Reviewing and testing localized content or products for accuracy, consistency, and usability.
Resource management: Coordinating with internal teams, external agencies, or freelance translators.
Risk management: Identifying potential legal compliance issues or bottlenecks in the process and developing contingency plans.
Timeline management: Ensuring all localization activities are completed within the stipulated deadlines.
Localization optimization: Analyzing project outcomes and feedback to improve the localization project.
As businesses expand into more markets, the activities involved in localization proportionately increase, and so do the problems. The way you handle this process can make or break your growth. Hence, it's essential you map out a solid marketing localization strategy and pick the best localization management technology to assist you in exploring new markets.
When done right, localization management is a substantial driver of business growth. The benefits it provides are transformative, both for the company's operations and its bottom line.
Some of the advantages of localization management include:
1. Enhanced user experience
Effective localization management ensures a tailored and localized user experience, which can dramatically enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Localization management helps improve the user experience by:
Coordinating important tasks like translation and cultural adaptation.
Ensuring a high-quality and consistent user experience across different markets.
Helping businesses understand and navigate cultural nuances and language subtleties.
Making customers feel understood and valued by providing avenues to gather feedback and act on them.
2. Increased market penetration
Proper localization management allows companies to better meet local needs, increasing their reach and acceptance in new markets. With a good localization management system, businesses can:
Conduct market research to understand local preferences and expectations.
Research and comply with local regulations.
Plan the adaptation of products or services for each specific market.
Pro tip: A professional localization suite like Centus can help you effectively plan and manage all steps of your localization strategy. Learn how.
3. Competitive advantage
Your localization management plan can help you outperform local competitors who rely more on cultural advantage than any type of localization management.
Localization management also ensures that your clients receive a high-quality and locally relevant user experience, causing them to choose your brand over competitors.
4. Improved collaboration
Effective localization management improves communication and collaboration among all stakeholders involved in the localization process. This can range from internal teams and departments to external partners and agencies. When everyone collaborates effortlessly, you can achieve smoother execution, higher quality outcomes, and a more consistent brand message across markets.
Imagine having a direct line of communication with your team, where everyone is aware of their roles and how they contribute to the success of the project.
You can minimize uncertainty, cut down on mistakes, and improve responsibility with such clarity. Basically, efficient localization management can transform teamwork from a theoretical construct into a practical reality, enabling your project to progress smoothly and effectively.
5. Faster turnaround time
Effective localization management involves well-structured workflows and the use of advanced tools, which can significantly speed up the completion of localization tasks.
By eliminating duplicate activities and optimizing workflows, localization management enhances each stage of your translation and adaptation process. This, in turn, allows you quicker entry into new markets and helps you respond promptly to changes in your current market.
6. Cost-effective process
If not handled properly, localization can be an expensive business. From poor translations to misinterpreted cultural concepts that result in backlash, the financial ramifications can be significant.
This is where localization management comes in.
An efficient localization management process involves strategic planning, resource allocation, and quality control, all of which contribute to reducing your expenditure. Furthermore, by making efficient use of resources (such as translation memories), firms can reduce translation expenses and ensure tasks are done right the first time.
Ultimately, good localization management keeps your budget in check and maximizes your localization ROI.
7. Easier tracking
Keeping track of the localization process can be difficult, but good localization management makes it much simpler. With good management, you can easily measure progress, check quality, identify bottlenecks, and ensure deadlines are met. You can also keep track of your team's KPIs and the overall goals for your project.
Basically, translation and localization management is a plan for your localization process It details where you are, where you need to go, and how to get there. This transparency not only ensures flawless execution but also allows for proactive problem-solving, making the entire process less stressful and more successful.
8. Efficient workflows
Localization has multiple moving parts, and keeping them operating smoothly is the crucial role of localization management. With proper localization management, you can make sure that each process is carried out effectively, from translation and review to launch.
It can also help you increase workflow efficiency by identifying redundant processes, automating tedious operations, and allocating resources to solve any challenges you may meet.
An efficient workflow = a smooth localization, a satisfied team, and a great product.
9. Error-free localization
Consider the diverse range of tasks involved in localization, such as translating, editing, and proofreading. Every stage requires a high level of precision and quality control, which is precisely what efficient localization management provides.
Localization management is your safety net for preventing errors that may hurt your localization process. It involves bringing in skilled linguists, using powerful tools for accuracy, and putting tight localization quality controls in place to ensure consistency.
Ultimately, proper localization management can considerably accelerate a company's expansion efforts. It allows companies to succeed in a variety of marketplaces by improving both internal processes and consumer experience.
To comprehend the importance of efficient localization management, it is necessary to first understand the six phases involved in the localization management process.
Read on to view a breakdown of each stage:
Stage 1 — Gathering and sorting all content that needs to be translated for a smooth and efficient localization process.
Stage 2 — Creating translation glossaries and style guides, and considering cultural nuances to make translations consistent and culturally appropriate.
Stage 3 — Dispatching content for machine or human translation, depending on its nature and complexity.
Stage 4 — Incorporating the translated content back into the product or platform.
Stage 5 — Examining the translated content to ensure it maintains high quality and relevance.
Stage 6 — Launching the fully adapted product in the target market and continuously updating it.
Stage 1. Organizing files for translation
The starting point of any localization management process is organizing and sorting all the files that are slated for translation.
This step involves collecting all materials for translation: website copy, product descriptions, user manuals, software strings, and more. It’s essential to ensure these materials are well-organized and in an easily translatable format. This preparation helps reduce time, minimize errors, and streamline the following stages of the process.
Stage 2. Preparing translation elements
Once all files have been assembled and categorized, the next step is to prepare the elements required for translation. This includes generating and maintaining translation glossaries and style guides, which are critical tools for ensuring consistency across all translations.
This stage involves spotting cultural nuances and factoring them into the translation process. It will mean researching the target market's local conventions, traditions, slang, and other cultural specifics. Such thorough planning assists translators in producing content that is not only linguistically correct but also culturally appropriate.
Stage 3. Sending content to be translated
The prepared content is then translated. However, depending on the content, it may be machine or human translated. Advanced artificial intelligence-powered machine translation can handle general and straightforward information.
Human translation, on the other hand, is preferred for sensitive or complex subjects that require expert knowledge of the language, subject, and culture.
Stage 4. Receiving localized content
The next stage is to receive and compile the localized content after the content has been translated.
This phase entails adding the translated material back to the platform, software, or product. Care must be taken here to verify that all localized material is accurately incorporated and that the product performs correctly in the new language.
Stage 5. Reviewing (Post-Translation Quality Evaluation - PTQE)
The next phase is a review, commonly referred to as post-translation quality evaluation (PTQE). This important phase involves carefully reviewing the translated text for grammatical mistakes, contradictions, or improper cultural references. PTQE is necessary to guarantee that the localized material upholds a high degree of quality and is suitable and relevant for the target audience.
Stage 6. Releasing the localized product
Finally, once the material has been reviewed and all necessary adjustments have been made, it is time to release the localized product into the wild. The product is now fully adapted to its new cultural settings and is about to be launched in the target market. It's now ready to be discovered, used, and loved by a new set of clients.
In a business where localization management is done manually, it can take a considerable amount of time to finish the process, sometimes stretching into months. Every step requires dedicated effort, and the collective process could require significant resources.
However, adding a translation management system into the mix introduces efficiency, ease, and affordability into the process. The right system won’t just help manage your localization process. It can substantially improve it, helping your business expand into new markets with greater speed and precision. Learn more.
Here are best practices to help you navigate common localization management challenges:
1. Plan for localization early: Planning for localization from the inception of product development is crucial. It can save businesses time and resources in the long run. Companies that plan for localization early on can reduce their time-to-market significantly.
2. Create products that are easy to localize: Building products with localization in mind can greatly simplify the localization management process. This approach is called internationalization and includes:
Using clear and simple language in your original content
Coding your site in Unicode(UTF-8)
Separating text from images
Avoiding hardcoded dates and time formats
Designing your product in a way that can easily adapt to different cultures and languages.
Learn the difference between localization and internationalization here.
3. Test, test, test: Once your product is localized, testing it in the local market is vital.
Testing must be done to ascertain your product’s usability, accessibility, translation accuracy, and adherence to cultural norms.
This could include running focus groups, conducting beta tests, or using local market consultants to ensure your product resonates with your target audience.
4. Build the right localization team: Assembling a team with the right skills and knowledge is another critical success factor. A team of experienced translators, localization engineers, and localization project managers can significantly enhance your localization workflow.
5. Follow industry trends: Make sure to stay abreast with the latest industry developments and trends. The best way to keep up with the rapidly changing field of project management is by following its trendsetters. To get started, check our review of the best product management blogs.
6. Make room for automation: A big chunk of the localization process involves repetitive tasks that can be automated using industry-standard localization tools, freeing up your team’s time for tasks that require human judgment and expertise.
A translation management system (localization management software) helps you automate numerous manual tasks that clog up your workflow and eat into your time. These include organizing files for translation, managing translation memory databases, conducting initial quality checks, and even some aspects of the actual translation. Such a system can also facilitate real-time collaboration among team members, further improving project efficiency.
A Localization Management System (LMS), also known as translation management software, is designed to streamline localization processes and save you time, resources, and a whole lot of manual effort.
But what should a good LMS offer?
A robust LMS should provide:
Efficiency: It should automate repetitive tasks and facilitate faster project turnaround times.
Quality control: It should have built-in features for maintaining high translation quality, like translation memory and glossaries.
Collaboration: It should enable real-time collaboration among team members, making it easy to manage projects, even with multiple stakeholders.
Scalability: It should allow you to manage multiple projects simultaneously without crashing.
Integration: It should easily integrate with your existing systems and tools, ensuring a smooth workflow.
Centus ticks all these boxes and offers even more.
Our platform not only automates repetitive tasks but also offers suggestions and improves workflow efficiency.
Centus has robust quality control features, including extensive translation memory and glossaries to ensure consistent, high-quality translations. We've also made collaboration easy on our platform. Team members can work together in real-time, send async messages and share files in a variety of file formats. Centus is also designed to seamlessly integrate with your existing systems and tools.
Whether you're a small business venturing into localization for the first time or a large enterprise looking to optimize your existing localization efforts, with Centus, you can manage localization projects, scale them, and expand into multiple markets.
Ready to see how Centus can revolutionize your localization process? Get a free demo now!
To Sum Up
Juggling localization activities can be challenging, especially when you don’t have the software to help you keep the process in line. Tasks as simple as retrieving and incorporating translations become a chore — and an excruciatingly manual one too.
To circumvent the localization challenges, use localization management software. With its help, you can collect all your localization assets in one convenient place where you and your team can have full control over the project. The right tool can also automate repetitive processes and keep everyone on the same page.
Ultimately, effective localization management means using the right tools and setting clear goals, which can translate into a more motivated team, faster time-to-market, and better outcomes.
What does a localization manager do?
A localization manager is responsible for overseeing the process of adapting a product or content to suit different languages, cultures, and regions. Their responsibilities typically involve coordinating with translators, editors, and other stakeholders to ensure accurate translation and cultural appropriateness.
They may also handle the management of localization projects, budgeting, quality control, and troubleshooting issues that arise during the localization process.
What skills do you need to be a localization project manager?
Localization managers need a strong understanding of languages and cultures, excellent project management skills, good communication abilities, and a knack for problem-solving.
They should also be familiar with localization management tools and technology. Besides, they need to be adaptable, as they often need to coordinate with localization teams across different time zones and handle projects targeting multiple locales.
What does localization mean in project management?
In project management, localization refers to the process of adapting a product, service, or content to cater to a specific local market.
Localization project management involves coordinating all the different tasks and team members involved in the localization process, ensuring projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. It often involves using localization project management tools to automate and streamline the process.