The three-axis strategy for building your translation team: People, processes and technology

Carlos la Orden Tovar 23 Mar 2022 5 mins read
Is your global business growing at a fast pace? Is your regional marketing strategy fostering further investment on local markets in their own language? Would you like to gain more control over the localization process of your products and services?
If the answer to any of the questions above is YES, you are likely considering setting up an in-house translation team to handle localization internally and increase control over the process; however, setting up a specialized team can be a daunting task if not planned properly.
Keep reading if you want to learn about the three axes around which you should build a winning strategy to handle your localization process in your own terms: people, processes and technology.
The right people, doing the right job
Localization can be a rather complex process involving multiple steps, roles, tools, and constraints. If your organization has decided to manage things in-house, setting up the basic aspects of your strategy with all players involved becomes a key prerequisite to ensure success. A universal truth in localization goes (well, it should go):
“Never trust that things will simply work out: the more careful the planning, the more solid the outcome.”
Once your organization has defined the scope of its translation team and the expected outcomes in terms of language combinations, average volumes, and rough compliance requirements, an important question pops up: who will do what?
Most translation companies (also known as LSPs or language service providers) provide their services adopting a black-box approach: clients send their assets and receive ready-to-use translated versions in the requested languages; however, there is no visibility about either what is going on inside or who is taking care of the different steps in the translation process.
Therefore, defining roles and responsibilities becomes a crucial stage in your translation team-building strategy: managing communications, finding specialized translators and proofreaders, defining style guides to comply with your organizational communication guidelines, setting up terminology… The list will probably look much longer than what you initially thought.
In this related ebook, you will find further information about the different roles and tasks involved in the translation process: this will certainly help you figure out the core structure and the key roles you should start to build your team upon.
Working out your internal localization process
Setting up each of the three aspects being discussed here (people, processes, technology) cannot be devised without considering the other two, as they are so tightly intertwined.
When it comes to assessing your localization process and the steps involved, specific roles, skills, and tools will be required. Here are the core ingredients you should consider:
  • Defining the languages in scope for your projects, including regional variants
  • Setting up workflows based on the size, type, and deadlines set for your translation projects
  • Managing a schedule where project managers have visibility over each person within the defined workflow
  • Keeping a repository of all the translations completed by your team (i.e., a translation memory and a terminology database) in each language combination to ensure consistency and leverage over time
  • Adopting a CAT tool for translators to handle the linguistic part of the process and allow exchanging project information between the different roles while ensuring quality and consistency of the output
Your organization will assess project specs and assign tasks to your team members while applying automation where required and providing tools to maximize the productivity of each role, all this to ensure that your team features the right size and expertise to take care of the whole localization process.
Supporting your workflow with translation technology
Nowadays, growing project requirements can hardly be met without the aid of specialized technology.
The number of constraints, not to mention the diversity of reference materials and workflows required to complete your translations, all lead to adopting a translation management system (TMS) as the best available solution to cover all your organisational needs and improve your visibility over the entire process while ensuring that the relevant team members have access to the right resources at the right moment.
Ideally, a TMS provides a set of automated steps, tools, and dashboards that allow project managers to free up time in their busy days to take care of communication with providers and customers, troubleshooting issues and keeping tabs on the overall process. Besides, the TMS should be able to integrate with the desktop tools used by translators (CAT tools) to further improve information exchange and the smoothness of the workflow.
A cloud-based TMS will ensure that every person involved in the localization project has 24/7 access to the relevant information and assets from any location, and unexpected changes in the process – which will inevitably happen sooner or later for a variety of reasons – can be handled in the most efficient fashion with a minimum impact on the overall schedule.
Besides the leading industry CAT tool, Trados Studio, RWS also offers scalable translation management systems, Trados Team, Trados Accelerate and Trados Enterprise that will provide your organization with a thorough, yet easy-to-deploy and easy-to-use toolset that will help you define and implement your in-house localization strategy for your global projects. If your business requires a more enterprise-focused approach to complex translation projects, Trados Enterprise can be the answer.
As a final word, setting up a translation strategy requires a lot of trial and error, so be ready to step in and tweak your steps along the way. Nevertheless, defining the three axes discussed in this post, people, processes, and technology, before entering production will undoubtedly improve your results since day one. 
Carlos la Orden Tovar

Carlos la Orden Tovar

Language Technology Trainer
Carlos has worked with dozens of international clients and loves sharing knowledge to build a better, more human, yet tech-oriented industry led by happy people. He is the owner of InsideLoc, and has been providing professional language services since 2001.
All from Carlos la Orden Tovar