First and foremost, you need to decide who to integrate into the team preparing and handling the Translation RFP.
Procurement is an obvious bet, but they can’t do it alone. Why? They’re most likely not the department to interact directly with the future Language Service Provider and thus won’t know about the detailed requirements of the colleagues who need a new vendor. And naturally, quality evaluation is much harder for any department which expertise isn’t directly related to the vendor’s business.
Hence, the integration of the affected operational teams is necessary; additionally, managers responsible for the strategic planning of their respective business units need to define the desired workflows, necessary levels of integration, KPIs in terms of quality and quantity, etc. Normally, this includes team leaders and at least one member at a higher management level.
IT & tech teams
Technical questions, such as necessary system integration options, also play a critical role when it comes to modern language services – which makes the IT department another mandatory partner at the RFP team’s table.
If you have website content to translate, IT’s role will be crucial, for instance in the automation of translation/ localization processes and all related system requirements. They also need to evaluate and avoid risks, e.g. choosing a translation connector compatible with your website CMS or marketing automation platforms. Depending on your organization, this role may be nested within a digital/development team or even partly under marketing, so you may need to be extra careful to ensure IT’s involvement in the process.
When it comes to content owners to be involved, the marketing team should come to the top of your mind, providing a variety of disciplines – from content marketing to corporate communications and from digital advertising to multichannel campaigns.
Do your localization needs also include social media content, be it sporadic or with complete campaigns? This not only calls for Marketing in general, but also for the designated team in particular. The localization of social media must strictly follow the individual rules for each channel, defined by the designated experts.
Other content owners
It can be trickier, though, not to forget the invitation of other content stakeholders! Marketing surely is the most obvious resource when it comes to content-related questions. But thinking further, there may well be others to be involved, as well:
Is any of the content to be translated and localized within the responsibility of HR? Ask leading and operational stakeholders from the department to be part of the RFP team, to ensure their needs will be met – for instance in terms of wording, style, timing, deadlines, and confidentiality.
Do you also need the event planning team to get on board? Their needs are very specific – in terms of wording, style, but also when it comes to the localization of visuals and short deadlines/ timing etc. If meetings and events are multilingual, they may also have advanced requirements for interpreting services (in person or remotely).
If the project to be localized contains technical content, communications such as product documentation, structured content (XML/DITA) or other documents typical for industries such as manufacturing, involve the manufacturers, developers and/or tech doc managers! Their language has its own needs in terms of glossaries and translation memory, and it requires very specific subject matter knowledge.
Whatever your business is: Always think of the product managers as stakeholders for localization, too! Their knowledge and communication needs must complement marketing’s expertise in the RFP planning.
This is the general rule: For any translation and localization project, stakeholders of all content owner teams that may possibly contribute in the source language need to be at the table of RFP team, as well – to ensure all necessities and possible restraints will be met.