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Localization Project Manager vs DIY Translation

Does this sound familiar? Your company is planning to expand globally and you are now incharge of getting the company website translated. You’re the HR manager, and a large segment of the workforce in a new division are not native English speakers; you need to provide your HR materials in their native language to improve employee relations and performance.

Where do you start? What do you need to do? How will you afford it?

Localization Project Manager - GPI Translation

Easy they say, use online translation or ask your bilingual co-worker to do it.
Your best answer? If your company is not as large as Google, Amazon, or Netflix which have dedicated in-house translation teams, hire a Localization Project Manager, your subject matter expert in all things localization.

What is a Localization PM? The person who knows what questions to ask to determine the full scope of your language needs, plans the best process to achieve your organization’s language goals, and facilitates the process regardless of the communication channel.


Common reason why some companies choose DIY – Budget

As it is with everything, budget is the key factor in what and how things get done. Translation is no different. As a result, a company will look to internal resources or online translation tools for their translation needs. Here are some reasons why partnering with a Localization PM can save you money (and your sanity).


DIY Options

Online Translation Tools

We have all seen the option to translate online, and it works – to a point. While machine translation is making great strides, it is not the ideal solution for many types of materials such as marketing. You still need a professional translator to edit the translation. Some websites use Google translate as an option for global users. While it will convey the message of the site, if your goal is to attract global clients, it will be obvious that the translations were not professionally done and may detract from your efforts.

According to a 2020 CSA Research Survey of almost 9,000 consumers in 29 Countries, 76% of those surveyed prefer purchasing products with information in their own language. That is a lot of potential customers that you want to make a great first impression of.


In-House Resources

The biggest factor here is time. Your bilingual coworker already has a full-time job. Adding translations to their to-do list may cause schedule delays in the translations you need because it is not their priority. Additionally, do you want an engineer translating marketing material or your marketing person translating technical material? Probably not the best fit.

However, your internal resources can be a valuable asset during the translation process. Your Localization PM can coordinate with them to review translations (often referred to as an in-country review) to get invaluable feedback on the terms your company uses daily.


Hiring translators yourself

Of course, you can hire a translator from a variety of online resources, however, how will you know if they are qualified aside from the fact they say they are? How will you verify that the translations are accurate? Does it matter if your translator is a native speaker of the target language? Yes. Does it matter where they live? Yes. Oh, and did you know there are imposter translators? They hijack a translator’s profile, and they get paid, but you do not get your translation.

By working with a Localization PM at a language service provider (LSP), the hard work in identifying and qualifying translators has already been done. Additionally, your PM will assign the right translator for the type of project, handle all the communications, clearly explain the directives, and if the translator has any questions about the material they are working on, the PM will communicate with you to determine the best course of action.

Translation Process - GPI Translation


Why a Localization Project Manager makes sense

The bottom line is, a localization project manager is an expert in the how, what, and whys of translation – let them be your language expert and have them manage the process allowing you to focus on your job. They know all the questions to ask you and your team and will determine how they can best support your language efforts now and in the future.

While translation is often an after-thought, thinking about translation at the start of an initiative can save you money. The translation of software and websites is more involved than just the translation of the text. A Localization PM can guide your team through the process which in the end, will help save time and money.

A good translation provider will assign your company a dedicated project manager (Primary Point of Contact – POC). This will provide all members of your organization with a dedicated point of contact who will be knowledgeable about all the translation work your company is doing. Most of the clients I have worked with preferred a dedicated PM as it streamlined the communication channel, and they felt the quality of service was better.

Your PM will manage the process, the schedule, the translation team(s), in-country review, field questions, and every facet of the project they will handle. There are a lot of moving parts and your Localization PM will manage them allowing you to focus on your job.

Additionally, your PM will manage the tools (translation memories) that will maintain consistency through all translations, but also, will help save your company money during future translations and updates.



The fact of the matter is, providing your information or product in different languages is not as simple as just translating the copy. As we have moved to a digital world, the complexities in what needs to be translated and how information needs to be set up in order to display multilingual content have increased dramatically in the past 15 years.

Additionally, you need an expert who can guide you on the cultural differences that can impact your project. A dedicated Localization PM should be your partner and provide you and your organization the peace of mind that their multilingual projects are being managed by an expert.

At Globalization Partners International, you will have a dedicated Localization Project Manager that will be your organization’s point of contact (POC). Additionally, GPI has developed processes and tools that will streamline your translation project and can save you money on your translation expenditures, providing a better ROI than if you handled your translations through a DIY method.

Reference: CSA Research