Language Managers: Your Local Guides & Brand Guardians
Language managers, language ambassadors, brand guardians – there are a few different terms out there to describe the native gatekeepers for localized content. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll refer to them as language managers (LMs) throughout this piece. Broadly speaking, the role of an LM is to own all content in a particular language for a particular brand. They are market-based, eagle-eyed, linguistic gurus who are fully embedded in the brand’s identity, and are there to ensure consistency across comms, bolster brand voice, and bring local market expertise.
A Day in the Life
So, what exactly does an LM do? Well, depending on the brand they’re supporting, responsibilities can vary, but the bread and butter of an LM’s duties include: reviewing, editing, and translating content, creating and maintaining brand glossaries and style guides, making decisions about approved terminology, managing a network of linguists, offering up cultural counsel, advising on brand strategy, and providing language supervision for voiceover. Phew! In essence, LMs are the last line of defense against any off-brand content that might be trying to make its way to consumers.
When To Welcome an LM?
If you don’t currently have LMs within your organization, you may be wondering if there is an ideal time to introduce this function to your business. And although you could argue that LMs bring value all year round, below are a handful of key touchpoints to consider:
When your brand is in its infancy, it’s a great time to lay down a solid foundation for localization. LMs not only bring local market expertise, but a ton of experience when it comes to translation management systems (TMS) and best practices for localization. Adding more structure to your localization set-up can be particularly helpful when you’re operating a global business with teams spread out all over the world. LMs act as unifiers – not only helping to harmonize your brand voice, but to build bridges between teams when it comes to internal comms too.
Another prime time to check in on your localization efforts is when big growth is taking place. Perhaps you’re expanding your product range or looking to launch in a new market. At times like these, you’re likely to be introducing new faces and new ways of working. And this can cause chaos for consistency. Having LMs on board will help safeguard your tone of voice (TOV) and ensure brand identity doesn’t become diluted during times of turbulent change.
Perhaps your localization team is currently made up of lots of different local parties, and you’re experiencing some speed bumps when it comes to communication and consistency. At this point, many brands decide it’s time to tie up the loose ends and centralize their localization efforts instead. But with teams all over the globe, this can feel like a daunting task. Enter: LMs. LMs can act as brilliant mediators between local marketing teams and your central organization – helping to ensure local entities still have a voice in the conversation, whilst keeping localization processes streamlined.
You’re having a bit of a re-brand. You’re revamping your brand image and with it your style and TOV. Now is a great time to consider bringing an LM into the mix. LMs know exactly what will fly and what will fall flat, and can provide invaluable on-the-ground insight into what resonates most with the audience you’re aiming at. So, before investing in a one-size-fits-all approach, consult a local expert to better understand the nuances of your target market(s), so you can be sure your messaging is on the money.
Starting Your Search
There’s a whole world of information out there, and it can be tricky to know where to begin your quest for an LM and how to be sure you’ve found the right fit for your brand. After all, LMs should be thought of as an extension of your branding team, and will be representing your brand all over the globe, so it’s key that they’re fully on board with your brand vision and its mission.
Here at Mother Tongue, we have a wonderful team of diverse talent with a wide range of linguistic and cultural expertise. Get in touch for a no-strings-attached chat about how we can help bring your brand voice to life in local markets.