Managing Your Far-Flung Localization Team, Part 1: Asking the Right Questions

Category: Translation Services

So, you’re ready to staff up your localization team. It’s time to consider the challenges of managing a group that may be spread far and wide across the globe.

Since the solution for each organization is completely unique, it’s important to ask yourself a few critical questions so you can start out on the right path. These questions may address what seem like small issues, but taken altogether, they can mean the difference between an efficient, effective, successful team, and a chaotic and inefficient one.

Here’s your first question: Is there someone on your internal staff who can be the designated manager of your localization crew?

Let’s say that you do have the perfect person in-house — Jane Smith — who’s got the experience and bandwidth to handle the job.

Next question: Where will Ms. Smith be located? Your headquarters may be the right place — but she may need to be more centrally situated in a time zone that works best for the majority of your localization staff.

Communication is key, and working out smooth solutions to the issue of team members working in different time zones can make a big difference to the efficiency of your worldwide team.

It is important for your team to work together often and closely? Then you may want to find employees who are all in the same area – or at least in the same time zone. If you do have a fairly large team all overseas working remotely, it’s especially critical that they have a way to meet regularly, even if it’s on Skype.

While a team that works remotely can be less expensive to run, other costs may come into play. For instance, if your localization resources are based in China, the cost to your company will be lower. Yet off-site employees raise other questions of logistics. Do you provide these workers with computer equipment? If so, what software and other apps will they need on that company laptop?

And how do you get around the issue of your corporate firewall? If you’re hiring contract translators in country, for example, you may not want to give them remote logins to protect your corporate servers from security breaches.

Complicated, right? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions — the responses will depend on your company, your work or product, and your objectives.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be outlining three different models of localization staff management.

We invite you to check back in and learn more, so you can determine which of the three paths is right for your organization. And if you have more immediate localization staffing needs, we invite you to contact Acclaro directly — we’re here to help.