Localization Management: What it is and Why it’s Needed

When it comes to localization, it’s important to have a plan - and someone to lead the way. Even the best localization teams won’t excel without strong management. From building the initial team, to choosing the right software, there’s a lot involved.

We’ll look at what localization management involves, some common challenges, and provide some insights on how to succeed.

What helps businesses connect with customers in different cultures and languages? The answer lies in localization management, which allows companies to adapt their content and products for seamless experiences across global markets.

What exactly is localization management?

Localization is the process of adapting a product, website, marketing campaign, etc - to a different region. Localization management covers how exactly you organize that process.


It wraps everything from finding the right people and right localization tools to deciding on the correct project scope. It also considers the ongoing monitoring and improvement of the process.

Why do you need a localization manager?

A localization manager bridges language and culture, ensuring that products and content resonate with diverse global audiences. Their role goes beyond translation. They manage the entire localization process, from adapting content and visuals to addressing technical requirements and local regulations.

Key responsibilities of a localization manager include:

  • Managing each project phase, from planning to execution and quality assurance.
  • Maintaining high standards in language accuracy, cultural relevance, and technical functionality.
  • Overseeing language experts and other professionals to deliver top-quality multilingual content.
  • Planning and managing budgets to ensure cost-effective projects without compromising quality.
  • Tailoring products and messages to specific regional norms and expectations.

Ideally, a manager should be experienced in both localization and project management or have access to consultants or other staff members who are.

Understanding i18n vs l10n: Key differences

Internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) are essential for global market success:

  • Internationalization (i18n) focuses on designing products or content that can easily adapt to various languages and regions without major engineering changes. It's like creating a template that can be reused across different markets.
  • Localization (l10n) builds on internationalization by customizing products or content for specific audiences, addressing language translation, cultural nuances, local regulations, and technical needs. Localization managers are key in ensuring linguistic accuracy while maintaining brand voice.



Building a localization management function in-house

One way to build a localization management function is in-house. This is useful if you plan on targeting a variety of regions and are likely to repeat the process multiple times. However, you need to find the right people to do this.

Anatomy of a traditional localization team

While these roles will vary depending on the size of your project (and your business), what technology you have available, and the budget you're provided, some key roles include:

  • Localization project manager - This person is key to keeping projects on course, within budget, and on time. They act as the main point of contact for all other team members and company leadership.
  • Translators - You can hire internally, outsource translation to third-party companies, or use freelancers on an ad-hoc basis. Which option you choose will depend on the volume of content and range of languages required.
  • Designers - Different regions will have different UX, color, and layout preferences. Additionally, translated content will likely take up different amounts of space. That's why you need at least one design team member involved in the localization process.
  • Marketing team - Marketing research, whether done internally or with an agency's help, is key to understanding which markets will benefit from what localizations. Once the project is well underway, this team will be responsible for getting it to market.
  • Developers - Technical skills are a must, whether applying localizations to websites and applications or helping manage custom software solutions.
  • Quality assurance testers - Localization testing is vital to a successful project. A dedicated QA role or an ongoing contract with a QA agency ensures everything goes smoothly.

What decisions will your localization team member face?

One of the critical aspects of localization management is planning the project. Some significant decisions you'll need to consider include: 
Which markets/countries/languages are you targeting?
What content should be localized first?
How big is the budget?
Which - if any - parts of the process should be outsourced?
Is there any technological help available?

Localization management services – when to use them

The alternative to building an in-house team is to use localization management services. These can be a great solution for the entire process or part of it if you understand how best to use them. The best use cases include if you:

  • have no localization experience and need some expert input
  • are a small business and don't have the necessary skill sets within your team
    are a global enterprise and are targeting multiple markets at once
  • don't have access to any native speakers of the language you're localizing in
  • are on a tight schedule and need a lot of resources very quickly
  • work on a one-off project, and you don't want to invest in new staff or tools long-term

The advantages of localization

Localization is a game-changer for companies looking to conquer new global markets. By adapting products and content to resonate with different cultures and languages, businesses can make a lasting impact on diverse audiences.

1. Accelerating successful business launches

Localization can supercharge your market entry by amplifying your reach and customer satisfaction. Delivering culturally relevant content gives you a strategic edge over regional and international competitors.

If you want to learn more from industry experts, check out our Alignment webinar series, which is all about global product growth.

2. Maintaining consistent marketing messages

Localization lets you achieve consistency in messaging across markets while honoring local nuances. This can enhance your marketing impact and drive success in foreign markets.

Example of consistent marketing messages through localization:

A global sportswear company is set to introduce a new line of running shoes across different international markets. To maintain consistent marketing messages while respecting local nuances, the company crafts a unified campaign theme centered around the idea of "Run Your World."

  • Core message: The central message remains uniform worldwide, promoting the concept that the new running shoes empower wearers to explore and dominate their environments.
  • Localized messaging: The company adapts the slogan and advertisements to each region. In Italy, the slogan is translated to "Corri il tuo mondo," and the visuals feature well-known Italian landscapes and cityscapes, such as Rome's Colosseum and Venice's canals. The advertising campaign highlights Italian runners in vibrant settings, celebrating the country's rich culture and history.
  • Cultural sensitivity: The company ensures that the language, images, and overall campaign aesthetics align with Italian cultural norms and values. For example, the ads might emphasize the joy of running through Italy's picturesque countryside or bustling city streets, resonating with the Italian passion for art, architecture, and outdoor activities.

3. Increased revenue and sales

Top companies have expanded their global reach through smart localization strategies. 
IKEA's iconic flat-pack furniture model is a hit worldwide, but assembling your own furniture in China isn't a status symbol. To tap into this massive market, IKEA partnered with local firms to offer assembly services at checkout for online orders.

The company also made strategic moves, opening smaller stores in central urban locations and offering regional foods like dim sum alongside its famous meatballs. These tailored approaches have paid off: IKEA now earns over $2 billion a year in China from 37 stores and a strong online presence, making up 4.8% of its global sales.

Another great example is Netflix. Since 2010, Netflix has focused on a content localization strategy that includes culturally adapting existing content and creating new content tailored to local audiences.
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Key challenges in localization project management

As with any project, there are challenges. Some are specific, while others are more general, but they can all cause delays and setbacks.

1. Scope creep

It's easy for localization projects to get out of hand. What starts as simply translating a landing page can result in a complete overhaul if you're not careful. It can also be tempting to see successes happen in one market and want to jump into the next one without taking a step back to consider.


Decide exactly which content, services, or products will be localized based on market research, which can ensure you focus on high-impact aspects.

2. Lack of clear goals

It isn't easy to assess if you're succeeding if you don't have specific goals in mind. This can also contribute to scope creep, as it's hard to know when you're finished if you don't know what you're aiming for.  


Highlight some specific KPIs to monitor. Additionally, if there are specific points you want to hit - for instance, 'have five pages of content localized by the end of the week' - these should be communicated clearly.

3. Communication issues

With so many roles involved, communication can be tricky. A localization manager needs to ensure translators, QA, developers, marketers, and others are all on the same page. This gets even more complicated if you add a third party.


Invest in communication solutions to facilitate collaboration, and agree on a meeting schedule with the localization manager to stay up to date. When it comes to localization vendor management, ensure there is a single point of contact on both sides to avoid any miscommunication.

4. Limited budget

Localization can get expensive fast. There are many potential expenses, such as hiring new staff, investing in new software, or hiring a native speaker for QA. Having a limited budget can make localization harder, as you might not have the resources to achieve your desired goals.



Have realistic expectations about what's achievable. That might mean only targeting one new region or choosing a country that shares a language you already use. Remember, while outsourcing can seem expensive upfront, it does mean you can budget accurately in advance.

5. Insufficient skill set

Localization needs talent across a wide range of skill sets. While it'd be great if a developer were fluent in the language of a target territory, it's unlikely - and not useful when you move on to the next region. Localization managers may find there's simply not the talent available internally.


This is where outsourcing to localization services really shines. Agencies will already have the right skills available, so rather than go through a lengthy hiring process, it's worth considering a third party instead.

6. No risk management

What happens if things don't go exactly to plan? There are many potential risks, whether it's workers leaving, technology failing, or a global event making a market inaccessible. If the puzzle pieces don't fall into place, delays and budget inflation are inevitable.


A competent project manager is key here - they should be able to come up with solutions on the fly. More importantly, you need a process with built-in contingencies. During the planning stages, ensure you have plans for all common risks.

How localization management software can help?

Localization management software has evolved, and it's crucial to optimize and streamline the process of adapting content for global audiences. Here's how modern software can help:


Example: A global e-commerce brand expanding to Spain

An international e-commerce brand selling fashion and home goods wants to expand its reach into Spain. To efficiently adapt its content and products for the Spanish market, the company uses localization management software.

  • Automated Translation Management: Translations from English to Spanish are assigned to native speakers for accuracy and cultural relevance.
  • Quality Assurance: Built-in quality checks flag potential translation errors and ensure the content aligns with Spanish language standards and the brand's style.
  • Collaboration tools: Seamless communication between the localization manager, translators, and editors allows real-time feedback and adjustments.
  • Content management integration: The software integrates with the brand's CMS, streamlining updates and ensuring consistent content across platforms.
  • Scalability: The software handles increased translation workloads as the brand's presence in Spain grows, including localizing marketing and customer support materials.
  • Cost and time efficiency: Automating workflows saves the brand time and money on localization projects.
  • Terminology management: Provides glossaries and style guides for consistent terminology and brand voice across content.
  • Project Tracking and Reporting: The localization manager can track Spanish translation projects and generate performance reports.
  • Centralized asset storage: Stores all Spanish localization assets, such as translation memories and glossaries, in one central location.
  • Continuous localization: Enables ongoing localization efforts for new products and updates, ensuring the Spanish market receives up-to-date content.

Work with the best partner for localization project managers

Localization management can be challenging, but there are many ways to succeed. One of these methods is to pick the right partner. At Global App Testing, we can provide expert insight, access to QA teams worldwide, and more—helping you create the best localization project possible.


How do we do localization at Global App Testing?

GAT simplifies and accelerates localization efforts, helping businesses ensure quality and compliance in international markets. Here are some key benefits:

  • Rapid local testing: Obtain feedback within 48 hours to validate software and content quality and ensure efficient adaptation to different markets.
  • Localization issue detection: Identify and address translation errors, design flaws, and functional or integration problems to improve the user experience.
  • Compliance assurance: Test features related to payroll, payments, gambling, and other industry-specific needs to verify that your product meets local laws and regulations.
  • Targeted testing: Conduct on-location tests in 190+ countries, focusing on specific regions and using network conditions and devices that reflect your user base.
  • Thorough QA and reporting: Perform functional, design, and translation checks and gather local UX surveys for actionable insights. Access video/images, severity filters, and reproducibility for effective analysis.
  • Flexible testing options: Run tests in staging or production environments, with the ability to conduct tests overnight and on weekends for faster results.

Enhance your localization strategy and ensure your global success with GAT. Speak with our experts today and discover how our solutions can keep your plans on track and tailor your products to international markets!

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