Building a localization team in a startup

Building a localization team in a large global company is difficult enough. But when you’re doing it in an international start-up like Slack or SurveyMonkey, you’ll need to plan to scale your program and team.

Localizing in startup culture requires more than just deep knowledge of localization. It requires a level of awareness about the company’s landscape, a willingness to evangelize, and the ability to make your team useful to all parts of the company.

As more and more businesses start up or adopt start-up culture, it’s important that localization professionals know how to build and advocate for their teams. We’ve put together an eBook for localization teams within start-ups to help them navigate this world. The book offers concrete strategies for evangelizing your team’s importance and shares insights of localization experts at Slack, SurveyMonkey, and Eventbrite.

Some of the tips you’ll find inside include:

Evangelize localization within your company

No team works in isolation, especially in a start-up. And so a key way of building your sphere of influence is by learning what other teams do and engaging with their work. Educate yourself about the core objectives and goals of other departments. Once you know their goals, you can demonstrate your value by helping them deliver on their objectives.

You can also start talking about your work in connection to other people’s metrics. This positions you as part of a team, linking your work to a division or company’s larger work, rather than siloing out your results. And when non-localization employees help your team achieve something, recognize their work! These strategies will help you build strong internal relations and cultivate allies who can help you evangelize your team’s value.

Demonstrate how your work contributes to company ROI

Getting buy-in from departments across the department will enable a localization team to get involved in decision-making from the beginning. When that happens, you are better positioned to show how your work helps your company achieve its goals and stick to its budget.

To demonstrate how your team contributes to the company’s ROI, document everything. Keep track of what you did for each department and the results, and stay in regular contact with the Finance department so they know that budget is a priority for you.

And you can take ownership of budgeting in your own team by demonstrating that you’re using technology and workflow optimization wherever possible. The company likely won’t be scrutinizing your operating costs, but it’s useful to be able to have budget reductions to point to as evidence of how your goals align with the company’s.

Enable the company’s go-to-market strategy

You might not be directly responsible for a market launch, but launching in a new market requires a deft localization hand, so your team should be involved in the process.

Localization teams can research the existing in-country market to see how users interact with similar technology, or help clarify the problem you’re trying to solve. You can also do SEO research to find out if users can search for you, and user experience studies to see if they’ll be able to use your product.

This data can be of use to other teams as they prepare for a market launch in another country. By providing it, you’re simultaneously evangelizing for your team’s value and building relations by helping other teams achieve their goals.

For more best practices on localizing in a start-up plus advice from localization experts at Slack, SurveyMonkey, Eventbrite, and Yewser download our new eBookStart-up to Enterprise Localization” on the Venga Global website.

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