The first step in initiating a successful localization project is to establish a cohesive and unified vision for all stakeholders: an understanding of the scope; a target audience; what content will be localized; clear definition of the expected results; and how you are going to measure success. This will help ensure a successful outcome to your project, while at the same time defining your KPI’s with measurable and repeatable processes. Here are 4 steps to establishing your vision:
Identify the stakeholders in the project
Establish specific communication protocols
Clearly define the scope (what content, target audience, and timeline)
Know your expected results and how to measure success
Identify the Stakeholders
When you begin a localization project it is important to understand who your stakeholders are. A localization project can include stakeholders ranging from the CEO to a third-party client. A clear and well-established list of individuals or groups who may be involved throughout the project’s lifecycles, will be essential to ensure you all maintain a cohesive vision. There is no generic list of stakeholders for localization projects. However, make sure you have considered everyone who may be involved or associated with your localization project by:
1. Determining who initiated the project:
- C-Level Suite
- Management Groups
- Marketing Teams
- Product Development
2. Defining the content to be localized and who is involved in the process of creating and developing content.
Some of those stakeholders may include:
- Websites – Marketing, Development Teams, IT, Management Groups
- Software – Product Development, Marketing, R&D, Management, Training
- Documentation – Engineering, Product Development, Marketing, Training, Management
- Third Party Vendors
3. Identifying stakeholders in the targeted markets or audiences:
- Professionals – B2B, Technical User, Subject Matter Experts (SME)
- Marketing – B2C, Advertising, White Papers, Blog
- Third Party Vendors
Establish a Communication Plan
After compiling the list of stakeholders, the most important aspect in establishing a vision comes next, in my opinion, with team communication. Timely and consistent communication between all stakeholders involved allows for a cohesive and unified vision. This enables you to be agile and nimble within the framework of the project. This also prevents you from being caught unaware by changing circumstances or scope creep. Here are a few suggestions to help draft your communication protocols and ensure effective exchanges between all stakeholders:
Regular meetings- These can range from extensive initial planning meetings with all key stakeholders, to short updates for specific individuals or groups. They can be in-person, video, or conference calls.
Meeting minutes- Whether you have a five-minute phone call or an hour-long meeting, recap your communication for all involved. This will prevent miscommunication and ensure a cohesive vision.
Consistent email updates – having an email update go out regularly, preferably on a set schedule, allows you to establish expectations. This would be for those you are accountable to, and those to whom you hold accountable. It also provides you with an opportunity to send your deliverables to the stakeholders on a regular basis.
Have a Clearly Defined Project Scope
As a part of your vision, it is essential to have the scope of the project identified, defined, and well documented. This will help prevent scope creep, establish project parameters, and define timelines. Localization projects can require an entire website to be localized or just a few pages. A software suite may only need a few of the applications localized versus the entire suite. So, consider and verify which content types may be associated with the primary content, and if there are any auxiliary assets that will need to be included in the project.
Know Your Expected Results and
How to Measure Success
Localization projects tend to become ambiguous without a clear and well-defined understanding of the expected results. To establish those results, you must know what you will be held accountable for and what the final expectation is for the project stakeholders. This is crucial in devising and implementing a vision.
For example; if you are required to localize your product pages on a website, make sure that your vision is clear enough for stakeholders to know if the required content is only the product pages, or if there are additional expectations surrounding the website. The expectation may be that you include the related content of taxonomies, string lines, navigation menu, home page, splash pages, and any possible custom fields located in the required product pages. The same goes for e-learning, documentation, software localization, and any other localization project.
Understanding your content, both the required and related content, will help you establish and set attainable expected results. Defining those results will ensure all stakeholders agree about your responsibilities and can clearly define the expected deliverables. This understanding gives you the opportunity to now measure your success. With the ability to measure and report on the success of your project comes the opportunity to calculate the impact or factor that localization may have on the overall Return On Investment (ROI) for the entirety of the project.
Having identified all stakeholders; established a communication plan; defined the scope; set the expectations; and determined how to measure your success; you now have a cohesive and unified vision for your localization project.