Translation and Localization Project Manager Roles

Andrew Samkowski 10 May 2018
Translation and Localization Project Manager Roles

The vacancy of a translation and localization project manager can be either a huge opportunity or exhausting work depending on the ability of a person to implement innovative resources, techniques, and develop skills. The question of “what does a localization project manager do?” cannot be answered in one word though it would be safe to state that this professional is responsible for the entire final outcome.

Translation Project Manager And Assigned Role

Translation and localization project manager is responsible for many processes such as scheduling, budgeting, selecting, and assigning team members to different tasks, managing the entire team, and many other inseparable elements of the project. The concept of the project management itself became extremely relevant for the translation industry since clients often need translating and localizing complex things such as the entire websites, software and mobile applications which include translation of legal documents, instructions, descriptions, even non-textual elements. Usually, the required amount of work could not be completed by one specialist and requires a team

In this case, the assigned localization project manager maintains constant communication with the client and serves as the connecting factor between the team of translation specialists, reviewers or editors, client’s representatives, translation agency, and any other involved stakeholders.

Responsibilities Associated With Localization Project

Given the number of responsibilities and required roles, the reward is corresponding. Apart from being one of the most important professionals in the project team, one develops extremely important skills and gains knowledge that cannot be obtained in educational institutions. This is the real experience of managing a team of highly skilled experts and delivering quality products that will be offered on the global market. Here is the list of the major responsibilities that allow obtaining that knowledge for those who are already asking Google “how do you become a localization project manager”

  • Understanding requirements. High-quality localization requires a complete understanding of all client’s specific needs, preferences, and product’s peculiarities. Team members can provide the required work only when the project managers themselves fully understand the requirements, guidelines, and inform team members during all stages of completion.
  • Being a single contact between parts of the team. Truly polished content is ensured by efforts of multiple professionals and the best results can be achieved when there is an independent cross-checking. In this case, it is better to avoid communication between translators and editors in order to ensure a completely independent check of quality and absence of mutual influencing of the completed work.
  • Assembling a relevant team. Localization project managers communicate with the clients directly while starting the project so that these people are the only ones who realize all scope of required work and who can do it. Different professionals will be needed for technical document translation services and software localization. Thus, it is the translation project manager’s responsibility to assign the project’s tasks to people with relevant skills and manage them instead of the client, so that he or she receives a fully complete project in time. Clients should not dedicate their efforts to managing the team of hired translators as they need to work on developing and managing their actual products. Delegating responsibilities is one of the greatest principles in business and management.
  • Scheduling. Localization manager is the person who keeps timelines on track to make sure no deadlines would be missed. This is achieved by constantly checking the project’s process and obtaining completed portions of work according to internal deadlines set by the manager earlier. Additional time could not be the option in many cases so that the translation project manager should consider assigning more specialists to get the required work done by the agreed deadline in case any emergencies appear on any of the earlier stages
  • Managing the entire process. What is localization management without monitoring tools and documentation? In fact, this is not management at all. The workflow requires careful organization and constant monitoring along with documenting the entire project’s history. Developing and assigning tasks and checklists as well as ensuring their proper completion using various collaboration tools is the essence of project management.
  • Keeping documentation. Developing and maintaining glossaries and translation memory tools is one of the things that help high-quality and consistent projects in the future. It is especially important in the case of returning clients and long-term multiple projects. What is more, a qualified project manager will always follow up with clients and ask for feedback so that he or she will know what aspects of work require more attention. The manager’s work does not end with the project’s completion since there is a need to deliver assessment and feedback to group members, assisting them in improvement should the need arise.

What Makes A Good Translation Project Manager?

Adherence to all the above-mentioned principles would be the most obvious answer. There is one more thing that distinguishes a good project manager from a bad one and it is micromanagement handling. People who are merely forwarding files from one group of stakeholders to another and allow themselves to get stuck in completing only these menial tasks from project to project will not become a good project manager. As opposed to that, people who are not afraid of applying changes into their work, try something new, or refrain from using outdated strategies, will be able to focus on building assets, developing effective communication with all participants, or conducting market research to implement more useful tools or ideas. In other words, a good project manager creates a healthy collaboration ecosystem that adds value to both the translation agency and clients’ companies.

On the contrary, those who implement modern localization and cooperation technologies and tools rather than sticking to outdated methodologies could easily serve as the example of professionals whose salaries are on top of the list provided upon submitting a request “how much do localization project managers make”. Professional translation project managers adopt technologies and automation tools whenever possible and applicable, from organizing and managing the team to developing terminology databases and glossaries. This approach allows them to accept more complex and rewarding projects such as medical translations or software localization tasks and deliver high-quality content.

Overall, a good translation and localization project manager that is able to organize the team, ensure effective collaboration, and provide ideal deliverables is, first of all, a person who can organize his or her own time and tasks. People who achieve the highest levels to this position refrain from procrastinating, they are motivated, result-oriented, and always seek new knowledge. Even if you did not hone those skills yet, everything comes with time and practice.

Always Hire the Best Experts

Many clients stated that the value of qualified translation or localization project managers could not be overestimated. Otherwise, the clients would have ended up trying to coordinate efforts of multiple translation specialists instead of continuing to work on their own tasks. The good localization project manager also does everything possible to ensure the highest possible quality of delivered content, incorporating all initial requirements, and applying required changes upon feedback. 


Related Posts

Translation and Localization Project Manager Roles

4 Things I’ve Learned Working as TheWordPoint Translator

For several years, I worked as a freelance translator, as an entrepreneur actually, trying to market to clients and run a business at the same time. It didn’t really go that well, although I managed to eat.

Andrew Samkowski 01 Sep 2017