There comes a time when a company reaches the right moment for expanding into other markets. This can be a small step, such as accessing the neighboring market, or it can be a real internationalization effort planned for some time.
In any case, the company is then faced with a tricky situation. They need to localize their marketing content, website, and/or technical documentation, but they don’t have anyone who could take on such a task on a company level. After all, they never needed a localization manager, not even mentioning a translation leader. How to find the best candidate? In this blog, we will try to find out.
Translation leader #1: an influencer that keeps everything together
Chances are that you will not have a company localization strategy before finding your localization manager. This means that the localization manager will have the complex task of tying everything together on the go and working with many different departments to find common ground with all of them.
Keeping everyone happy may mean different things for different people. For example, the marketing department may be most concerned about how to translate a certain type of files, or with a certain workflow. The IT department, on the other hand, will be probably looking for a specific integration option, while the management team will be all about the numbers and the increase in profit.
A localization manager needs to spark the interest of all the stakeholders and communicate the long-term benefits for everyone involved. Sometimes, the results will not be visible the same month, and it might take a week to handle the requests coming from different departments, but the main thing is that all the parties understand what will happen once everything is in place.
If colleagues and departments do not see the benefits, the localization manager will fight an uphill battle. This is why it would be useful to have someone from one of the departments involved in the localization process, preferably a manager, who can ease the transition for at least one of the departments, bringing the rest along on the ride. As with the implementation of any idea, if there isn’t sufficient support, it will be a cumbersome process plagued with delays and inefficiencies.
Translation leader #2: a special someone with a global approach
Managing people is one thing, but managing the content is as important. It would be very tricky to have a localization manager who has no linguistic background, as this would mean that validating the content would always fall on other people. It’s possible, of course, it’s just not very efficient.
This is why companies often choose someone who has at least some knowledge of the written word, as this enables the localization manager to deliver constructive feedback. There’s an added bonus if the person has lived in multiple countries, having at least some basic grasp of various markets and their audiences. If the person checks all the boxes, it is probably the right fit for the position at your company.
Translation leader #3: the manager of the month
Last but not least, we get to the more general traits, like management skills. Besides managing people, a translation leader should be able to manage their own time. Since there is usually no company strategy to fall back to, the localization manager needs to define the priorities and implement them. Without this, all the soft skills in the world will not save you from a disaster.
This is especially true in the beginning when the localization manager lacks support from other people and probably doesn’t have a large team to help him with all the tasks that need to be completed. Managing the priorities can be a challenging thing, so you need the right person to keep everything running smoothly.
…but whoever you choose, you need to know that there are people who will have your back in difficult situations.
Our team of experienced managers can help your localization manager and translation team define next steps and implement the strategy one step at a time. Feel free to reach out to us to learn even more!