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Outstaffing Project Management in Localization
Recent years have seen a new concept take hold in the service market—outstaffing, also known as employee leasing. Outstaffing lets you hire employees from third-party companies. It’s pretty similar to outsourcing, but there are some differences. In outsourcing, the client company and the contractor interact directly, while outstaffing entails a relationship between two companies, where one is hiring the other’s employee. We also see outstaffing used in game development, including localization.
Employee Leasing in Localization
What do game localization specialists do? Their main job is to make sure the client receives a high-quality translation on time. To do so, game localization specialists plan out the project, perform pre-translation analysis of the text, assign tasks to translators and editors, and manage the completion deadlines.
It’s no secret that a good localization is essential not just for entering new markets, but also for ensuring that you get your return on investment. We’ve written so much on this topic, you’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in localization just by reading it all (just kidding). For better or worse, localization is the kind of thing you never really understand until after you’ve jumped headfirst into it. This is probably why many developers make a bunch of mistakes when trying to crank out localization for their product by assigning it to an in-house employee who lacks the right skills. Like giving it to an analyst or a programmer. Localization, like writing code, should be done by a professional. What if you need localization but don’t have the right specialist on the payroll? There are two options: hire a localization manager or “rent” one. “Renting” a specialist (i.e. outstaffing one) is a great choice if:
You have a dynamic turnaround cycle, meaning that the need for localization arises a couple times a year. An example of this would be updates for a large game that you’ve already localized. Or you release smaller games once every four to six months. There is no point in bringing on a permanent localization manager, only to give them work during peak, pre-release periods.
You are based in an “expensive” city and want to save some money. Let’s say your company is headquartered in Moscow, and a full-time manager costs about USD 15 per hour (this is wage only, not including insurance or other compensation packages). “Renting” a qualified professional from another area would cost much less. Plus, this isn’t the same as working remotely, where it’s just the employee and their computer. All the benefits of working in the company remain: training courses, instant communication and industry news, the mentor’s direct control.
Localization is not your specialty or you simply don’t want to do it (but have to). Okay, one day, after watching a motivating presentation on the advantages of localizing games, you decide that your game or app deserves localization too. Where to start? Who do you ask for help? Where to find training? Upon googling, you determine there are too many questions and even more answers. So you need someone who can create a plan and a list of localization tasks for you. And this is exactly when it is best to outstaff the localization and, in the process, use this partnership to train yourself or your own employees. Adopt best practices, learn how to use CAT tools, and develop ways to control quality. This collaboration might be the motivation you need to form your own localization department.
Let’s say you decided to “rent” a manager and agreed on the terms with the “supplier”. What’s next? Next you have to bring your newest employee up to speed. The issue here might be the assumption that a localization manager deals only with the localization and shouldn’t meddle in other areas. This is a dangerous conflict of interests, so the first thing you should do is give your new employee a tour of goings-on. Seeing as you are in different parts of the world, then, aside from the inevitable Skype conferences you’ll have, a task tracker will help you. It is essential that they understand the purpose, source, and lifecycle of the tasks. Give them access to track this. Only then will the new employee understand how best to incorporate the localization process with minimal losses.
Chances are you and your newest hire will live in different time zones, which is something else to remember. Here at Allcorrect, we have several different time zone clocks hanging right in the office, each one with the time in our key zones. Most likely, you will have to use some sort of converter, like Time Buddy, and connect it to Outlook or Google Calendar.
Rather recently, while chatting with one of our clients, we discovered that they don’t have any KPI standards for localization in their company. Maybe because they don’t have a separate functional unit responsible for localization. But they do localize! How they do that? No one knows for sure. It shouldn’t be this way. Use indicators, even the most basic ones. Otherwise, the product of your collaboration may be the feeling that you’ve been deceived. Indicators let you see the link between the finished work and users’ response. You can track positive and negative feedback, translated words per unit of time, localization bugs (if you have testing), finished tasks, and much more. The only thing is that you should agree on which indicators you will use from the start, so that both sides know what the other’s expectations are.
Outstaffing Services Rendered
And here we approach the end of the collaboration and services rendered. If you understood the purpose of “renting” an employee from the very beginning, it will be easy for you to see how productive the collaboration was. All that’s left to do is provide honest feedback to the supplier and check off the next finished task on your project’s to-do list. And in a couple of months, you can do it all over again! :)
Allcorrect game localization studio
Localizing a game into the main languages increases its revenue by a factor of 1.9 (based on data from Google Europe and Allcorrect’s research).
Allcorrect is an ROI-based localization company. Our approach is based on finding profitable markets for developers and publishers and adapting games for target audiences, taking particular cultural aspects into account. Our goal is to make your games popular and your players happy.
We’ve been translating games since 2008, and we’ve localized over 968 projects during that time. Our portfolio includes localizations of large-scale AAA projects as well as indie games that have dominated the international market.
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