The tasks of project managers in charge of localization projects include a wide range of activities, all of which have one ultimate goal – the timely, cost-effective, and high quality execution of a localization project.
To achieve these goals, LPMs need to handle many diverse and seemingly disconnected phases, from technical and linguistic aspects and requirements to smooth communication among the stakeholders and the assurance of technical and linguistic quality of the final delivery. The things can easily go wrong during any of these steps for a variety of reasons and quickly bring a disaster, and that is why good localization project managers need to follow a dedicated workflow and develop the skills necessary to recognize potential issues as early as possible.
Project Scope and Timeline
The first necessary step is to determine the scope of the project – type, size, required CAT and QA tools, language pairs, additional requirements (such as particular expertise, expert review, DTP) and the timeline – the project start, the realistic projection of the time needed for translation, proofreading, and QA – as well as any additional linguistic or technical steps required by the project.
Each phase of the project should be clearly defined in its initial stages, as virtually anything left undetermined can seriously affect the project, its timeline, and its budget, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. The best practices include equal dedication to every project, regardless of its size, careful examination of all aspects of the project, clear and transparent communication with all parties involved, and the timely and precise entry of all data into the project management system.
This will help isolate and eliminate any possible issues that might affect the project.
The budget should be determined before the project execution, and should remain tightly controlled throughout the process. Every cent counts, and the only possible way not to cause financial losses to any party is to maintain honest and clear communication throughout the project.
Localization projects are complex and require extreme versatility from project managers. An LPM must be involved in all stages and keep his or her eyes out for potential issues.
Risk Management and Quality Control
If there is one skill that separates a good project manager from a mediocre or downright bad one, it is the ability to recognize potential problems before they occur. However, this is one of those skills that no one is born with, but is instead developed over time. Keeping communication clear and records neat (as well as a clear idea of the place of language solutions in a greater scheme of things) will greatly help detect and avoid potential risks.
Quality control should be implemented both during and after the project. During the project, quality control is achieved through constant monitoring as to whether the technical and linguistic requirements of the project are being met throughout the process, and this includes everything from file formats and the software being used to translating and localizing in accordance with TMs and glossaries. Once the process has been completed, quality control is achieved by thorough QA checking.
Localization projects are complex and sometimes require extreme levels of versatility and agility from project managers. To complete projects successfully, an LPM must be involved in all stages, understand the essence of each step, and keep his or her eyes out for potential issues. Smooth and transparent communication is at the core of all of this, and remains the most essential resource for completing all localization project tasks in a timely and successful manner.