Our Guide To 7 Essential Roles For Building A Localization Team

by | Nov 22, 2023 | Recruitment

Building a localization team is an enormous and crucial step for companies that are scaling. Hiring dedicated and knowledgeable resources will provide focused, knowledgeable, and strategic stewardship of your localization program.

What often starts as one professional taking on the responsibilities of many can gradually develop into a multi-layered department comprised of localization personnel at the top of their game.

In this article, we explore the key roles to be filled within a localization team, shedding light on the diverse skillset necessary to create a powerful impact, as well as the role played by each individual.


7 Essential Roles For Building A Localization Team - Infographic - SM - International Achievers Group


What are the key skills for everyone on a localization team?


There are a few competencies that everyone on a localization team should have.


Cultural and linguistic expertise; multiculturalism


Team members with a deep understanding of global languages and customs are essential. Also, having diverse team members who are multilingual or multicultural can significantly enhance the quality of work produced.


Technological proficiency


With technology now changing the landscape of localization, the team must be knowledgeable of various localization tools, software and systems to streamline the process and ensure accuracy. A strong familiarity with the principles of i18n is also important in this context.


Understanding linguistic quality


There is a significant difference between simply translating content and understanding the linguistic quality of what has been translated. The latter refers to the process of reading the content through the eyes of the market it is intended for, looking out for cultural accuracy, familiar terminology, adherence to dialectal differentiation, and other quality markers.


Remote collaboration and communication


Efficient collaboration within a remote team, as well as with other departments and external stakeholders, is vital. Clear communication channels and a shared understanding of goals are key ingredients for success.


What are the most essential roles to be filled when building a localization team?


When forming a localization team, there are specific roles to be filled to ensure all bases are covered. At first, many of these responsibilities may be taken on by one or two experienced candidates, but the aim would be to grow the function to a point where an entire localization department could be created with highly skilled professionals taking on dedicated and specialized roles. The most essential roles include:


-Director of Localization-


What the role entails:


  • Developing and implementing the overarching localization strategy
  • Managing the entire localization team and ensuring their alignment with company objectives
  • Overseeing the evolution of the localization program as the team matures, adapting to changing needs, and optimizing processes for enhanced efficiency and quality


Key skills required:


  • Strong leadership skills to oversee and guide the entire localization team
  • Experience in formulating long-term strategies that align with the objectives of the company
  • The ability to manage budgets and resources efficiently


-Localization Project Manager-


What the role entails:


  • Planning and coordination of localization projects, setting timelines, and managing resources
  • Managing team coordination through collaboration with translators, linguists, and other team members to ensure smooth workflow throughout the project
  • Maintaining quality assurance by continuously overseeing quality control and ensuring the final product aligns with the company’s standards and requirements
  • The main advocate for localization and point of contact for internal departments seeking localization


Key skills required:


  • Strong organizational and leadership skills to oversee and manage the end-to-end localization process
  • The ability to effectively communicate and liaise with various teams, manage stakeholders, and ensure the project’s progress
  • The ability to troubleshoot issues and find suitable solutions quickly


-Localization Coordinator-


What the role entails:


  • Assisting the project manager in coordinating tasks, managing schedules and providing administrative support
  • Ensuring the availability of resources for translation and localization tasks
  • Maintaining records and generating reports to track project progress


Key skills required:


  • Meticulous attention to detail when managing multiple tasks
  • The ability to juggle various projects simultaneously
  • Efficient time management skills to meet project deadlines


-Language Lead-


What the role entails:


  • Overseeing translation tasks, reviewing translated content, and ensuring accuracy and cultural relevance
  • Ensuring consistent style and tone across all translated materials


Key skills required:


  • Native proficiency in the target language
  • An in-depth knowledge of cultural nuances and context relating to the target market
  • Proficiency in translation, as well as a high level of competency with localization technologies


Our Guide To 7 Essential Roles For Building A Localization Team - International Achievers Group (2)


-Quality Lead-


What the role entails:


  • Implementing and monitoring quality control procedures
  • Developing human and automatic processes to ensure quality
  • Providing feedback to translators and linguists for continuous improvement


Key skills required:


  • A strong understanding of industry quality standards
  • The ability to analyze and identify issues in translated content
  • The ability to find solutions that will improve quality and streamline processes


-Technology Lead-


What the role entails:


  • Managing and optimizing the use of various localization tools such as TMS, CAT, MT or AI translation, and quality tools
  • Identifying opportunities for automation and integration of new technologies to improve processes
  • Staying on top of technical advancements in the industry


Key skills required:


  • A strong understanding of localization tools and software
  • The ability to troubleshoot technical issues
  • The experience and expertise needed to implement and adapt to new technologies and trends when required


-Vendor Manager-


What the role entails:


  • Identifying, selecting, onboarding and managing vendors for specific localization tasks
  • Overseeing contracts, payments, and the quality of work delivered by vendors


Key skills required:


  • Experience in negotiating contracts and agreements with vendors
  • The ability to confidently assess and select suitable vendors
  • Strong communication skills to aid in the building and maintaining of relationships with external vendors


Building a localization team – stage by stage


In the initial stages, when a company begins its global expansion or localization efforts, hiring roles like Project Managers and Localization Coordinators is crucial. Individuals who fill these positions are often adept and experienced in many areas, from ensuring linguistic accuracy to implementing essential technology solutions, and are well-placed to carry and propel the entire strategy until more team members are needed to handle the scope.

As the company’s program matures, hiring qualified professionals to fill the Language Lead, Quality Lead, Technology Lead and Vendor Manager roles becomes imperative.

Companies should consider a Director of Localization position as the program reaches an intermediate to advanced stage. This individual would steer and oversee the strategic direction, team alignment and long-term planning for the company’s ongoing localization efforts.

By hiring at levels appropriate to the maturity of your program a company can ensure that its team’s composition meets the evolving needs of the business.

Also, given the rise in popularity of fractional contracts, the practice of hiring for localization roles has begun to shift. While all of the above roles were traditionally on a full-time basis, changing priorities of both employers and candidates have led to an increase in hiring professionals as contractors (often on retainer), as opposed to full-time employees.


Our Guide To 7 Essential Roles For Building A Localization Team - International Achievers Group (3)


Find the best talent when building a localization team with the help of International Achievers Group


For HR departments and decision-makers on a mission to boost their localization efforts, and large companies lacking a structured localization department, outsourcing localization recruiting can be a game changer. Putting your hiring requirements in the hands of an expert team can significantly impact your ability to grow globally.

The team at International Achievers Group understand the critical importance of having proficient and skilled localization experts handling your program, and our localization recruitment service specializes in identifying individuals with the right expertise and experience to fill these crucial roles.

By reaching out to us, expanding companies can tap into a network of talented professionals with the skills needed to elevate localization efforts. Our main aim is to help companies bridge the gap between the need for specialized talent and the successful establishment of a powerful localization team.

Contact us today and let’s build your localization team together.


7 Essential Roles For Building A Localization Team - Infographic - SM - International Achievers Group