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We are not an Island: 4 Steps to Increase Management Buy-in for Localization

Whether we are offering advice to clients or supporting localization efforts for other departments in our organization, I think there is one thing we should bear in mind: we are not an island.

In the last twenty years, translation and localization has been gaining attention across all industries. More and more companies have a dedicated localization department or budget and it’s paramount that we, as localization experts, join the business discussion to make a real impact on growth.

But how can we turn localization from a reactive, secluded cost center to a proactive, comprehensible value creator?

Here are 4 ideas to help management on board localization and set sail to success.

  1. Understand business goals

How to get underway? A good starting point could be learning more about the organization, talking to our localization buyers to understand their business goals, attending other departments’ meetings or webinars, and, most importantly, asking the right questions to the right people: quick online surveys may be a great tool for this.

  1. Reach out to key stakeholders

How to get all stakeholders’ hands on deck? Again, observing the organization, listening to senior managers’ presentations in meetings or public speeches, looking online for information on regional markets growth plans and collaborating with those in the organization who have a keen interest in globalization can turn key stakeholders into ambassadors for our localization cause.

  1. Align localization strategy to business goals

Now that we understand the business goals and we know who we are talking to, it will be much easier to plan a strategy or shape localization advice that truly supports the company.

If we know, for example, that the business is struggling with a specific region where content is already localized and there is no plan to invest more in localization for that region, we might want to analyze the causes and come up with a plan to reduce costs or optimize effectiveness.

Now the hard part: it’s time to use data to demonstrate the impact of localization on business goals. I think we all appreciate that this can be tricky for those of us with a purely linguistic background.

How can we learn the ropes? Fortunately, we can count on innumerable online training opportunities and communities of peers who might have come across similar challenges and are keen to share their experience. LinkedIn is my favorite learning playground but I’m sure each of us has a different preferred source of information to find and share knowledge.

  1. Deliver and feed it back

We managed to get the right data to the right stakeholders, so it’s time to make it clear and concise to facilitate sailing to understanding. Infographics can be a great tool for that. Whatever format we want to use, it’s best to avoid long presentations with too much detail that are not tailored to our stakeholders.

Last step? Asking for honest feedback and using it to build on whatever we have planned. Or changing the route if we realize we didn’t quite understand the business goals in the first place.

Have you tried any of the above to get management buy-in for localization? Share your tips, ideas and learning resources with Women in Localization Community on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.