Below is an example email to a client explaining the localization process.

Hi Maren,

I am the International Project Manager here at Ashbury Designs. Scott mentioned you would be contacting me. I worked with Scott on the globalization of the Windows Kinect product.

Below is a brief explanation to help you get an idea of the process and deliverables from a broad perspective or what Americans sometimes call the “10,000 ft view”. Much of this is project management information that you are already familiar with, but what will be new to you is the aspect relating to globalization. I don’t want to bore you so I have focused on how the globalization project will differ from a single language product launch. I will also send you my MS Project doc from the project that Scott and I worked on to give you an idea of the timeline and the milestones that get added to a globalization project.

I hear that the product is nearing the GUI freeze stage. I am really glad that you have contacted me while the application is still in development. This will give us a chance to catch any globalization bugs that might be in the code before we start in on the translations of the application.

Scott and some other teams at Microsoft really appreciated our flexibility in accommodating the different project management styles at Microsoft (agile, just-in-time, waterfall). We have been in the localization business for more than 10 years and have developed a network of top-notch vendors that we work with. This network is here for us to leverage, to make sure your application puts its best foot forward in each regional market that it enters. The additional advantage is the lessons we learned from working on previous Microsoft projects.


I would like to get together with you in person to introduce you to the world I live and breathe, the world of localization. I can answer more in depth any questions you have. In preparation, think about how involved you would like to be, how you prefer to communicate in terms of frequency, and forms of communication (emails, standing meetings, virtual meetings, Sharepoint, Dropbox, etc).

User Experience

And last but not least, I would like to learn more about your product, the users and your competitors. It would be great to find out who your core target users are and how much you know about them. This will help us to stay focussed on the customer and to identify things we can do in localization that will reinforce our commitment to a quality customer experience. For example, understanding your users in each region will help us to determine which style of translators we should work with and whether or not your existing imagery will be an issue for any of the target regions.

Next Steps

The most immediate action items would be:

1) For your localization engineer or one of your lead engineers to send me a sample build of the app. and a test case scenario if you have one. This will give us a chance to analyze the localizability of the source files.

2) For both International Project Managers (that would be you and I) to go over where you are in your schedule, talk about budget, file formats, tools and how you would like to communicate with our team.

Once we get our schedule, process and structure set up it would be great to have a kickoff meeting with our teams, including all stakeholders and people that might be impacted by the project.

We look forward to working with you!



Starting the Project….. the Initiation Phase

Charter: This is part of our required documents and will give us the authority to begin work.  A brief project charter is essential and does not have to be lengthy. This will document your business needs, current understanding of the customer’s needs, and the new product, service, or result that the project is intended to satisfy.

Organizing and Preparing…..the Planning Phase

Scope Statement: The inputs we look for in a scope statement are:

Project’s Product – a summary of the Product Description or Specification.

Project Objectives – the quantifiable criteria that must be met for the project to be considered successful.

Project Deliverables – a list of deliverables whose delivery marks completion of an activity or project.

Project Driver – identify what is the single most important factor for management of this project (cost, quality, time)

Assumptions and Constraints

You will want to include a product analysis, a cost/benefit analysis, and an alternative analysis. For cost benefit, you might want to look at the cost of localizing your product, entering a new market and supporting it long term. Look at the country’s GDP and the size of the opportunity for going into that market. This may lead you to consider a joint venture for customer service and shipping or to decide that you actually don’t want to enter a certain region’s market. What is Microsoft’s reputation in that region.

Work Breakdown Structure: By walking through the project once and identifying all the tasks this will help you lock down the cost and schedule for the project. Additionally it will make it a lot easier to go through the second time around when in execution phase.

Scope: Identify the number of markets, list of components, estimated word count per component, and a list of deliverables.

Responsibility Assignment Matrix: Let us know who will be on the team (include people who are to be Responsible, Accountable, Consultants, Informed, and even those people whom you know do not need to be involved). Identify the role of the different stake holders in each of the tasks.

For localization, In terms of the engineer that you assign for this project, it is critical that we work with the most knowledgeable and experienced engineer you have as this person’s knowledge & efficiency will exponentially effect efficiency on both sides, in terms of time and cost. On my side I will guarantee to putting my most experienced team of engineers, testers, translators, and terminologist onto this project. That way we can ensure a good working relationship with less chance of that exponential error occurring after translations have taken place.

Schedule: Define dates and resources that will be performing each task. We will obviously need both the product schedule and your localization team schedule. I will then list the milestones in my localization schedule doc and put in your milestones. We encourage you to use the Critical Path Method (CPM) for estimating start dates, sequence and duration of tasks. We are also familiar with the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

Cost: We would prefer to do a bottom up approach to estimating for this project, where we would leverage the information gathered such as Work Breakdown Structure, resource requirements, rates and any constraints of the project. We like to be transparent about our process for costing. Our rule of thumb for translation is as follows:

If that is not possible and you have a set budget, we can work with that number to tell you what can be delivered for that amount.

Carrying Out the Work…..the Execution Phase

Below are the main sequential steps.

1) Globalization review

2) Pseudo testing: I mentioned this in the email. It is the simulation of the localization process, using a pseudo language for automatic “translation”. It enables the testing of a product for its localizability.

3) Create and prepare terminology/recycling: We will create a terminology database that we can leverage throughout the project to ensure consistency in vocabulary and terms.

4) Choosing/testing tools: We use Catalyst for

5) Localization kick off – very important

6) Handoff and hardback processing time – Please add additional time for this as we will be working with translators in 5 different countries and the time zones will cause a slight lag in response time.

7) Sample hand back for QA

8) Bug fixing

Localization Kit: These are the things the vendor (Ashbury Designs) will need to get started.

  • What file formats are being used
  • What words in each string are NOT to be localized
  • What string rules are to be followed
  • How to deal with localization of error messages (verbosity, terminology, are they referring to code specific technologies?)
  • Provide any information to provide contextual information of the resources
  • Provide screenshots of where problem strings are being used. Will probably be asked by vendor during translation

Auto Translation: Our team leverages auto translation tools. Auto translation (AT) is the best kind of translation technology (other than human translation) because it has a very low-cost to implement and verify. The basic idea is that if the localization tool finds an existing localized string that matches a non-localized one, it will localize the string using the already translated string. We pass on the benefits of AT to you by charging you a reduce rate for this service.

Monitoring and Controlling

This is required to track, review, and regulate the progress and performance of the project; to identify any areas in which changes to the plan are required; and to initiate the corresponding changes. This includes scope, cost, risks, procurements, quality, and time. With localization the areas that often require close attention are;

  • Initial product design
  • Tool/file type incompatibility
  • Unclear or missing processes
  • Communication style and Cultural differences
  • Changes to US product
  • US product schedule
  • Client/vendor relationship

After translation, errors will usually be generated when running the localized files in the build. This is because of the nature of utilizing different languages in the same interface, human errors, unclear localization instructions, etc. We will be happy to resolve any issues related to the resources localized such as: resizing of dialog boxes & interface components, shortcut issues, and over localization

Project Performance Measurement

Probably the most valuable tool for you as the client is something called Cost Performance Index (CPI) Schedule Performance Index (SPI). The formula is:

Closing the Project

At this point we have already ensured that the product meets all the requirements of the stakeholders and customers. You inspect the product in detail. We will formally hand over the final product.

Lesson Learned: It is good to document the causes of variances, the reasoning behind the corrective action chosen, and other types of lessons learned so they became part of the historical database.

Archive Project Documentation: This is the process of finalizing all activities across all of the management Process Groups to formally complete the project.

Product Deliverables

  • Scope Statement
  • Pseudo Build with Test Case
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Schedule: Based on WBS
  • Cost Estimate: Based on Schedule
  • Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)