LSP Who’s Who: Localization Roles Supporting Complex Programs
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LSP Who’s Who: Localization Roles Supporting Complex Programs

LSP Who’s Who: Localization Roles Supporting Complex Programs


Successful localization programs always get more complicated: More content volumes, content types, and target languages. More distinctions among corporate and individual product brands. More client-side stakeholders and reviewers. Increasingly aggressive turnaround times.

Managing a larger, more complex program is not simply a matter of increasing the number of resources — it’s about augmenting your core localization vendor team with support from specialized localization professionals. In part two of my LSP Who’s Who blog series, let’s review four of the localization roles tasked with supporting complex programs.

Program Manager

When an account grows in size and complexity, a senior level program manager drives collaboration among internal and client stakeholders to create the overall strategy for the program. This may include identifying process improvements, cost efficiencies, growth plans, and quality initiatives.

The Program Manager is customer-focused, strategic, and an excellent facilitator, bringing teams together to resolve big-picture problems creatively. Usually promoted from sales or project management, this role has 7+ years’ experience in localization and a deep understanding of the business needs of large accounts — and how specific globalization initiatives can resolve those challenges.

Language Lead

As content volumes, types, and target languages expand, you’re likely to need multiple language leads, each managing the operational “health” of a set group of languages. For each language, this role coordinates a group of same-language resources including providing linguistic support, training, directions, and answering daily questions. The language lead serves as a bridge between translators and client stakeholders, maintains daily contact with linguists about deliveries, and manages linguistic quality assurance, including automatic and manual checks.

This professional is extremely detail-oriented and experienced in team management, with at least 5 years’ experience in the linguistic side of localization — usually as a translator or vendor manager.

Vendor Manager

Quickly scaling up teams to handle large projects with short turnaround — i.e. managing burst capacity — requires an excellent pipeline of qualified linguistic resources who can step in to handle variable-length assignments.

A dynamic localization program’s vendor manager will recruit, onboard, and assign all linguistic resources to meet the program’s specific requirements for language skills and other specializations. This role creates job descriptions, recruits, hires, negotiates contracts, and provides first-level support to newly onboarded resources. The vendor manager also maintains a database of linguists, including areas of expertise and performance data, to streamline the process of identifying qualified resources to engage for upcoming projects. As such, the vendor manager is involved in assessing, tracking, and resolving resource performance issues — logging performance notes in the database for future reference.

The vendor manager has several years of experience as a localization project manager, a vendor coordinator or linguist. This role loves language and is great at uncovering and articulating client requirements to find best-fit resources.


As enterprises grow in localization maturity, technology plays a larger role in accelerating workflows, managing linguistic assets and resources, and mitigating potential for human error. A technologist is responsible for continually identifying and implementing the right tech solutions to optimize your program. 

This role is a technophile and knows all major categories of tools in the industry such as Content Management Systems (CMS), Translation Management Systems (TMS). Translation Memory (TM) and termbase tools. Using this in-depth technical knowledge, your techie will assess processes to find efficiency gaps, recommend workflow adjustments to speed turnaround and reduce costs, build new technology or workflow solutions, and facilitate tool selection and deployment.

This person has 10+ years’ localization experience as a localization engineer or solution architect, with a deep passion for technology and the hands-on work of implementations, customizations and building automations.

Part three of our blog series will cover a few more roles you may encounter in a large and complex program. (In fact, let us know in comments if you have any special requests!)