Top Tips For Localization Project Management

Top Tips For Localization Project Management

Localization project managers have a lot on their plate as they try to make sure every stage of the process runs smoothly.

While employing an experienced localization service provider will undoubtedly take some of the pressure off, it’s a good idea to have a checklist yourself so you are always on top of your duties.

The last thing you want to happen is for the project to fall apart because you forgot to plan enough time for the internal review. This could be especially costly if it causes a delay in going to market. 

Bearing that in mind, let’s have a look at some top tips for effective project management:

Jargon busting 
Ok, we get it – localization isn’t the sexiest of topics! There is a lot of jargon associated with the profession, and it is unlikely to be the hottest topic at a dinner party. However, a successful localization project manager will take time out to learn what the key terms mean. Translation memory (TM), translation management system (TMS), computer aided translation (CAT) tools, fuzzy match, source files, source and target languages, and translation, editing and proofreading (TEP) are among the jargon you should know and be comfortable using. 

Choose the right target language
This might seem quite obvious, as you are probably going to have a language in mind, particularly if you are targeting a specific country. However, some nations have different dialects, such as China, while others will have different flavors. For example, there are several variations of Spanish – including European and many flavors of Latin American Spanish (too many to mention) – so it is important to make sure you know exactly which market you are targeting, particularly if you are also doing voice work, where accent also becomes a key consideration.

Translation asset management
Keeping overheads to a minimum is important for any project manager, especially if you work for a small firm. Companies frequently find it difficult to properly audit their expenditure on translations and localizations, and this is why translation asset management is so important. Re-using previous translation is obviously a sensible option, as it saves on both time and money. A translation asset management system can operate as both a resource and a tool, while it means all existing translation assets can be held in one easy to access location. Website localization, professional translations and quality systems are among the items that can be stored.

Terminology management
Efficiency is at the heart of all good localization projects and glossary management can aid this. A terminology glossary is a bilingual file (.xls, .csv) consisting of a list of terms in one language, defined and translated in a second language. They are typically used in technical subject domains to ensure correct use of terminology and specific company terms and cut down on review time. The glossary is developed prior to commencing a project, and usually the client will be asked to approve it before work starts.

Be sensible with time planning
All good things come to those who wait. A top quality translation is going to take time, so make sure you schedule in enough of it for each stage of the process. As a rough guide, you can expect between 1,500 and 2,000 new words per translator per working day, while a reviewer will get through 5,000 – 6,000 words per day. If at all possible, you shouldn’t assign too many translators to the one project in an effort to rush the job through.

Don’t forget about subjectivity
You have to remember that even though there is a definite technology element, you are still dealing with other human beings, so there is always going to be a degree of subjectivity in all finished work. Having a lot of mark-up after the quality assurance stage doesn’t necessarily mean the translation was bad. This illustrates just how important it is to set out clear guidelines at the start of the project, build a good knowledge-base and with this in hand, trust linguists to choose the appropriate translation when there is more than one correct option. If the linguist doesn’t opt for your preferred term of phrase, discuss proactively and constructively, document the case, and update in the translation memory, glossary and style guide.      

Employ native language reviewers
Employ your own language reviewers for each language with the appropriate language skills as well as subject-matter expertise, and allow sufficient time for review stages, both early on (for large projects, or in the initial stages of a relationship) and at the end of the project. Reviewers could come from inside or outside of your organization, be dual-role, sub-contracted or full-time employee, but the most important trait of a language reviewer, aside from their linguistic ability and knowledge of your brand, is their willingness to provide constructive feedback so that preferences can be discussed and documented to reduce any learning curve and to reach the desired quality output as quickly as possible (thus speeding up future projects). In the same way glossaries are the key to controlling terminology, it is usually a prudent move to create multilingual corporate style guides for each target market to ensure stylistic elements of language are also covered.

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