Seven Tips to Help Evangelize Localization at Your Company

By Steve Maule, Welocalize Business Development Manager and LocWorld28 Presenter

It was a busy week in Berlin June 1-5 with two Welocalize events, LocLeaders Forum 2015 and Localization World! LocWorld28 took place at the Maritim Hotel where companies of all shapes and sizes in our industry got together to have conversations and share ideas.

Before LocWorld started, Welocalize hosted our own exclusive event, LocLeaders Forum 2015: Elevate Results. Following a fascinating tour of Berlin and dinner at a really cool place on Bergstraße, we ran an all-day session with localization leaders from around the world based on a theme of elevating localization results.

We discussed how different localization leaders can promote their ideas internally to managers, finance, and to other stakeholders in their organizations. How do they get others excited about their localization journey? How do they get the right level of buy-in, support, and executive sponsorship? How do they make it easy for their internal customers to use their services? Basically, how they sell their services within their own companies.  

So it seems we are all in the business or selling our services, not just sales professionals like myself. Whether a client or vendor, you have to be a salesperson to be successful in localization. You have to build influence.

Here are my top takeaways from the conversations in Berlin on how to increase awareness of the localization function at your company and elevate results:

  1. Get a brand identity for your services. Some localization managers have seen more success once they are known as the “Globalization Center of Excellence” versus just the translation department.  Some have even devised their own logo and brand identity.  One suggestion was to ask your own marketing department to run a branding campaign for you – not only will you be re-branded by experts within your organization; you will build closer ties with an important internal customer too!
  2. Regular communications. You are spending company dollars, so you should be accountable and transparent in what you do.  Some localization managers have email newsletters they send out about their services and successes.  Some localization leaders get time in their regular “town hall” meetings to highlight results and programs.
  3. Keep talking and listening.  Don’t be shy and expect customers to come to you!  Some localization managers set up their own sites on their company intranet.  One manager prepared a single-slide presentation to be shown on all the monitors and TVs in all their global offices.
  4. Educate your customers. Some customers will never be interested in what you do; however, you would be surprised by how many are very interested in what you do for the company.  Some localization leaders hold webinars to talk about localisation topics.  Some localization leaders host open-invite “lunch and learn” sessions on campus.  Several suggested it is valuable to provide an overview of localization within the employee onboarding and training programs.
  5. Make friends with procurement. Most localization leaders know that procurement cannot mandate that different countries and functions have to use your team. At least they can make it easy and if you get a good relationship with them it’s easier to know where the leaks and obstacles exist at the company  In global companies, some translation spend will always be hidden.  One localization manager who attended LocLeaders shared that “getting 85% is good for us.”
  6. Go high and go deep. Sponsorship and credibility from the C-Suite can get you a wider audience and accelerate your success.  A client shared that the most effective five minutes of her career was when she was invited by the CEO to speak about their localization program to an all-company audience during a global conference call.
  7. Shake hands and network. Get out there and meet your customers and stakeholders.  Listen to their requirements and concerns.  Explain your ideas.  It’s proven time and again that where there is communication, there is quality!

What do you think? What is missing from this list? How was LocWorld for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. See you at the next LocWorld!


Based in the UK, Steve Maule is Business Development Director at Welocalize. At this year’s LocWorld28 in Berlin, Steve delivered a joint presentation with Karen Loughrey from Optimizely, “Structuring Localization at a Tech Start-up”.  

Contact Steve if you would like highlights or to discuss this presentation.