Aligning Localization Goals to Global Business Strategy

By Salvatore “Salvo” Giammarresi, Head of Globalization, PayPal

Salvo PayPalImplementing a localization strategy for an international company with a well-known global brand can be challenging. Due to the variety and volume of content, whether product, sales and marketing, technical, training, user information and social content, there is a wide range of people, skills, processes and technologies involved in the successful delivery of localized content to target global markets.

To ensure success, localization managers and product owners must align activities to the overall corporate objectives and goals that drive the whole organization. Expanding global reach and further penetrating existing markets is often a key business objective and it is important for localization teams to be fully aware and plugged into these corporate goals.

One of the key discussion sessions at the recent Welocalize LocLeaders Forum 2015, held at the Levi’s stadium in Santa Clara, focused on data and how data analysis can help inform and justify localization decisions. Companies produce massive volumes of data relating to market penetration, user engagement, product sales, end-user satisfaction and general feedback including, in some companies, even end-user feedback on translation quality. Mature localization teams also have access to and rely on a large amount of their own internal and vendor data relating to volume, turnaround time, translation quality, types of bugs, cost and other metrics.

Clearly, by collecting, monitoring and analyzing data, localization teams can implement better processes and improve quality. However, the key to achieving greater success is to cut through all this mountain of data, and correlate localization-level data analytics to corporate-level data analytics. This not only raises awareness of some of the activities of localization teams, it also provides information that will help develop future goals and strategies.

As many participants at the session on data emphasized, a good localization data dashboard helps. Localization professionals live and breathe translation activities. C-suite managers do not. Therefore it’s a localization manager’s job to provide C-level folks insights into localization activities in an understandable way. If data is presented through a simple hierarchical dashboard, then there are more chances that good decisions can be made and the localization function can be an important player in helping making corporate strategic decisions. This is so important when entering new and emerging markets. Localization teams often have access to information and knowledge on the needs of local markets that no other internal function has available to them.

Raising the profile of the globalization and localization function to internal stakeholders is also important for the success of a global brand. This is something that must be driven by each globalization and localization team. Quite often, the source content produced by global brands originates from separate teams. Product teams may be responsible for product content, design and software; marketing teams will be responsible for the company’s websites and advertising campaigns; customer support teams are usually responsible for the help content. Localization teams take in this variety of sources and then do their best to produce consistent content in each target language.

By promoting localization activities, localization teams can shine a light on their team’s expertise and knowledge, access to technology tools and can educate company divisions on best practices. Forming alliances across a global organization will raise the profile of the team. How can localization managers do this? Set up a team intranet, get presentation slots at key meetings, network, develop a promotional video and use data from ongoing localization programs to communicate your success and how your function can help the larger organization reach its goals.

PayPal logoAt PayPal, the world’s largest Internet payment company, we serve customers all over the world. The globalization team at PayPal is a centralized and horizontal team, responsible for globalizing and localizing all products, marketing campaigns, help content and initiatives. Globalization is critical to PayPal’s ongoing success. Everyone at PayPal understands the value and the important function that the globalization team plays and how it helps PayPal serve our customers, no matter where they live and what language they speak.

Thanks to the advocacy work we have done within the company, the Globalization function at PayPal today has a seat at the table in C-level roadmap, planning and strategy meetings.


Salvatore Giammarresi, Head of Globalization, PayPal