A wide variety of professionals, resources, timelines and technologies come together to make a localization program successful — often across continents and time zones. But directing all of these moving pieces requires special talent, and it has a title: the localization project manager. As the gateway to solving just about any localization-related problem, they are one of a client’s most important assets.
Meet the localization project manager
So, who are these unsung heroes of the localization world? Project managers collaborate with you to understand project requirements, prepare budgets, facilitate projects and work proactively to solve problems.
They bring together linguists, developers, localization engineers, multimedia professionals and quality assurance specialists, among others to deliver a successful program.
But what do they actually do? Let’s go behind the scenes to understand this important role.
What does a localization project manager do?
The role of a localization project manager is both people-oriented and strategic. Here at Acclaro, our project managers are the face of the company — the people you interact with on a daily basis. They also contribute to and implement tactical plans to ensure your localization project runs smoothly and is successful.
Overseeing the process from a to z
Our project managers oversee each phase of a localization initiative from exploration and quote to delivery. Their typical workflow often includes:
- Fielding requests from prospective clients
- Gathering technical input necessary to put together a quote
- Breaking down the program into concrete tasks, then sorting and prioritizing them
- Assembling the best team for your needs
- Establishing and enforcing requirements and best practices
- Ensuring brand and style consistency
- Creating a schedule and setting deadlines
- Keeping the project running on budget
- Coordinating linguists, editors and other language professionals
- Scheduling and implementing testing, multimedia components and quality control
- Managing post-processing steps and translation review as needed
Day-to-day management & problem solving
What a project manager’s activities look like day-to-day depends on the scale and scope of each localization program, notes Jacquelyn Landry, one of Acclaro’s veteran project managers.
“There are many steps involved in the process, and it may look different depending on the type of project, what the client’s end goal is for their content, and many other factors,” Landry said.
That said, there are a few constants. They assemble a team of linguists with the necessary subject matter expertise, and bring in any additional specialists needed for the program’s success. They then coordinate reception of the source files and direct the translation process. Once the translation is ready, they oversee quality assurance before delivering the final product.
In between, they share key information between vendors, experts and stakeholders, answer queries and make sure the bills are processed. If one phase of a project is in danger of going over budget or coming in behind schedule, it’s the project manager who works to keep things on track. They will nip potential problems in the bud or switch gears to avoid them altogether.
What makes a great project manager?
Great localization project managers are worth their weight in gold. But what exactly makes a project manager great? We asked our own project managers to lay it out for us.
Daniel Rondon, one of Acclaro’s experienced project managers, notes that excellent project management brings together seemingly opposite characteristics. So, “while project managers have to be strict and methodical about, for example, deadlines, they must also be flexible enough to deal with unexpected obstacles.”
So, according to the pros themselves, here are the top six traits that great project managers share.
1. They are highly organized multitaskers
Since a project manager’s day-to-day tasks vary and are sometimes unpredictable, the ability to plan, prioritize and pivot if necessary is key.
2. They are outside-the-box problem solvers
Nothing ever goes entirely as planned. A skilled troubleshooter can ensure surprises won’t derail your program.
3. They are tech savvy
Machine translation and artificial intelligence are here to stay. A practiced project manager can harness the latest technology to increase efficiency and cut costs while maintaining top quality.
4. They are skilled, cross-cultural communicators
With strong communication skills, a project manager will ask a client the right question to fully understand their goals. They will then clearly communicate those goals to their team to execute a comprehensive localization strategy. And, of course, the essence of localization is cross-cultural. Project managers are comfortable communicating across linguistic and cultural differences.
5. They know the translation and localization industry
They know that linguists aren’t interchangeable. A great project manager will select a linguist for a program based on their education, background and experience in that field to make sure they receive a high-quality translation.
6. They have a positive attitude
Project management can be a stressful job. The best project managers enjoy the challenge and keep a positive attitude amid the ever-changing demands of the day.
A client’s most important asset
Acclaro’s professional project managers play a vital role in the success of your localization initiatives. They help make sure that each and every project delivers high-quality, accurate translations consistent with your brand’s unique voice.
Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about what our experienced project managers can do for your localization efforts. And if you’re looking for a partner to help run your localization initiatives, ask us how our more comprehensive program management services can help advise on a strategic approach and implement process initiatives.