Building an All-Star Localization Team (Webinar)

With Kunal Sarda, VP of Customer Success

Jennifer Chew

Jennifer Chew

Product Marketing ManagerSmartling

To run one central team or split the team into regional offices? Which roles do I need when I begin translating, and when I scale my translation efforts? And who should oversee all of this? Our VP of Customer Success, Kunal Sarda, covers the basics of how to build an all-star localization team to take your brand global.

Building an All-Star Localization Team - Summer School from Smartling on Vimeo.

To have or not to have a dedicated localization team

Having a dedicated localization team in your company may or may not make sense, depending on several conditions. About 40% of Smartling customers have dedicated localization manager(s). We'll dive into how the other 60% manage localization a little later, but for now, here are common themes in companies that have built a dedicated localization program.

  • High translation volumes - The sheer volume of work may be a reason to dedicate at least one internal resource to overseeing localization.
  • High complexity - The more moving pieces there are within an organization, the more challenging it can get to coordinate. Examples of high complexity are: multiple business units are translating, stakeholders are located in multiple regions, your organization utilizes multiple translation vendors, and/or your company utilizes multiple integrations to connect various content types with your platform.
  • Brand lies at the heart of go-to-market - Sustaining a strong global brand identity is a full-time job in itself. Typically a dedicated localization team would oversee global launches of new products
  • Further along in "localization maturity" - We'll cover what this is below.

Localization Maturity Model

When it comes to localization, there's always a next step to take to scale and further streamline your efforts. There are five levels in the model:

  1. Manual - Struggling with archaic processes (think Excel spreadsheets of strings)
  2. Automated - Beginning to integrate automation into content production (automating the pull/push of strings between your content source and your translation management system)
  3. Agile - Incorporating automated, scalable processes across multiple languages (incorporating things like automated workflows and use of translation memory)
  4. Centralized - Practicing strategic centralized translation management across multiple channels and languages (Keeping track of localization work all in one place)
  5. Expert - Benefiting from translation as a revenue center and using analytics for growth (Localization playing a central role in your company's overall business strategy)

Choosing the right model of your localization team

Companies typically structure their localization teams in one of three ways:

  1. In-house within the Content, Marketing or Product Team
  2. Outsourced to a translation partner
  3. In-house as a standalone department

No one model fits all. To choose, it's important to analyze your company's localization culture, i.e. your top priorities for managing localization and how localization fits within your company's business strategy.