Your company has decided to go global and expand its website to target international markets. This an exciting opportunity to increase business revenue and localize your branding. But with website localization’s many moving parts, it can be a complex process. That’s why it’s important to manage the process correctly—starting with the right people.
Most often, large-scale localization projects are driven by cross-functional localization teams, which include IT, product and services management, procurement, web groups, in-country staff, and in-house localization departments. Your global business plan should incorporate a website localization strategy that includes such a team, as well as well-defined workflows, processes, and a reputable localization partner that can help you execute your localization strategy. What’s key here is the localization team, which comprises fully invested stakeholders who can lighten the workload, share their expertise, and work with your language service provider (LSP) to ensure project success.
So who are these localization stakeholders? According to the Lionbridge-sponsored 2015 State of Website Localization Survey report, more than 53% of global companies say that marketing is most often responsible for website localization. But that doesn’t mean that the marketing department has to localize your website on its own. We’ve outlined the 7 stakeholders you’ll need for your localization team—each with a different role, range of expertise, and requirements—in no particular order:
Procurement makes translation possible by selecting an LSP
As a first step in the overall translation process, your procurement stakeholder is critical to helping you select an LSP. Your selected LSP must be able to assist you with workflow and technology options that fit your unique business goals and requirements. Choosing the right LSP is a vital for the success of your website translation project. So it’s essential for procurement to have expertise in:
- Service fees/pricing
- Knowledge of competitors
Procurement must be able to provide a meaningful understanding and articulation of your needed services, such as excellent customer service and translation quality to conduct a comprehensive comparison of potential LSPs—thus selecting the best-fit provider.
Marketing identifies and defines your target markets
Your marketing (or product/services management) stakeholders are key contributors when it comes to prioritizing content, messaging, and target audiences. This is vital for localization, since before the process can begin, you must determine which content you want localized.
If your business is going global, you need locally-consumable websites and content. In fact, 93% of global companies translate product and service pages*. But how well do they do it? Successful localization relies on marketing stakeholders who help you:
- Target the right audience and strategic markets
- Develop appropriate, relevant global messaging
- Define the company portfolio using market knowledge
- Monitor local campaigns and content, and performance analysis
Like your other stakeholders, marketing works closely with IT, project management, and others to maintain and predict revenue. They determine market relevance by understanding the complexity of marketing localization and making data-driven decisions (using tools based on IT input) about the value of localizing content.
Project management maintains a smooth, efficient process
Think of your project manager (PM) as “command central”—a key role in localization. Your project manager’s main role is to coordinate and centralize communication with all stakeholders, including your LSP, while making sure the localization project is on time and on budget. The project manager coordinates with your LSP’s project manager to create a plan and initial timeline to share with all stakeholders. It’s crucial for the PM to have multidisciplinary skills, including:
- Multitasking abilities
The PM oversees day-to-day project tasks and performance, communicates with all stakeholders, and controls scheduling and costs. Your PM must have an overall understanding of the customer side—including goals, resources, time constraints, and budgets—as well as your LSP’s needs, which include resources, limitations, costs, and technology. All of these skills enable your PM to identify potential issues and drive your project successfully.
IT ensures secure technical systems
Your IT department is essential to providing a seamless experience for all website users, both internal and external. Is your website global-ready? The IT staff must ensure your websites, systems, and solutions deliver on customer needs and also meet all guidelines and policies. Is your IT infrastructure stable enough to handle current and future technology demands? What about your CMS—is it global-ready?
Most likely, you’ll be managing several international websites through one CMS, so your CMS needs to have multilingual functionality and workflows. IT will work closely with your LSP and PM to determine how to transfer content—whether it’s via CMS integration, translation proxy, or manual file transfer. Therefore, to be able to work effectively with other stakeholders, it’s important for IT to have:
- Deep technology expertise
- Strong communication skills
- Knowledge of resource and budget constraints
Localization provides linguistic expertise for high-quality translation
If your company has its own in-house localization department, then it goes without saying that this stakeholder is one of the most essential members of a cross-functional localization team. Responsible for ensuring your company’s message is localized—and that localizations hit all intended markets, your localization stakeholder plays a vital role in setting up linguistic assets and localization resources to help implement target-market strategies.
To strengthen your global brand, your localization specialist builds global customer and audience trust and:
- Understands the linguistic and cultural context of target markets
- Takes into account the inherent diversity that exists in international markets
- Caters to local needs and cultural preferences
- Adapts products and services for specific locales
Localization expertise also requires a strong knowledge of localization technology, applications, and web analytics in order to help streamline processes, shorten time-to-market, improve content quality, and cut costs. If you don’t have an in-house department with these necessary skills, rely on your selected LSP to manage these responsibilities and expertise.
Web groups make sure all localized web applications run smoothly
Other important team members to engage are your web groups. Your website may have separate areas such as products, services, user assistance, customer spaces, intranet, etc. Your web group is responsible for the company website, eCommerce sites, the intranet, applications—and anything else website related. Some of these areas may belong to different teams with various needs and localization approaches.
Each area may rely on different glossaries, tone, or voice, have varied technical requirements—or even use services such as machine translation for very technical content. So it’s important that your project manager brings all these aspects together and properly communicate them to your LSP. Web groups rely heavily on skilled staff and stable systems, and they work closely with IT and marketing/sales to ensure all aspects of the website(s) are localized.
In-country review controls final translation quality and global brand
Your in-country reviewers provide local subject-matter expertise and guidance for all content localization efforts. This stakeholder validates the localized content from the local point of view— checking style and tone to ensure that content matches company guidelines and meets country standards.
As the final step in translation, your in-country reviewers should collaborate with your LSP at the get-go to establish and review your multilingual glossaries and style guides. Together they can more readily address stylistic and subjective issues to help accelerate localization and improve translated content quality. This can be achieved with the help of your LSP’s technology and the sales/marketing staff who strategize with them.
Set your company—and your global strategy—up for success
Localization can be a seamless process when you establish a cross-functional team to execute your global strategy. Remember, localization is not just a translation project. You must take into account the entire localization ecosystem, from your SEO strategy to project management, to cost-monitoring and KPI evaluations, brand experience—and global team awareness. Combine these elements with your knowledgeable cross-functional localization team, and you’ll not only simplify your global project, but you’ll also obtain executive buy in and ensure global success.
> For more website localization tips and best practices, download the free ebook, The Definitive Guide to Website Translation.
About the author
With almost two decades of experience, Marcos Mora is a localization industry veteran. Throughout his career, he’s worked in multimedia management, project management, and solution architecture. In his various roles, Marcos has built and deployed successful solutions for industry-leading companies in the travel and hospitality, manufacturing, energy, and banking industries.
His key interests include helping customers deliver messages that resonate globally, and ensuring that content is culturally appropriate for all target markets. Currently, as part of the Digital Marketing Services Solutions team, Marcos focuses on strengthening Lionbridge’s digital media capabilities. He’s based in Lionbridge’s Madrid office.
*From the “2015 State of Website Localization Report,” sponsored by Lionbridge Technologies.