Are You Interested in a Career in Localization?
Technology advancements have allowed businesses in all industries to cross borders and individuals of different nationalities to communicate fluently. Globalization is one of the most effective ways to achieve significant business growth. Yet, to succeed in a new location, brands and products require localization (l10n). In the process of adapting a product or content to meet the demands of a specific locale, localization is an industry with many professional roles. If you’re interested in a career in localization, learning about the particular roles in the industry and the skills required for these roles is an excellent place to start.
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While translation is integral to localization, the industry goes far beyond communicating in the same language. It’s an entire process that provides personalized customer experiences that incorporate culture, languages, lifestyles, financial behavior, and values into promoting products and services. When choosing the localization role that would be a good fit for your career goals, learning about the skills and requirements for each position is essential.
Localization considers every part of the user experience and localizes it to create the same experience in a different culture. Advertising and branding content includes audio, images, video, interactive platforms, e-learning materials, animation, and more as a means of communication that resonates with potential clients. A localization multimedia specialist will likely be responsible for one or more of the five major elements of the localization process.
- Image Localization: Images are made up of multiple elements that convey meaning for different reasons. However, not all images have the same meaning in every culture. Image localization requires a specialist to determine which images connect with a specific audience and make seamless changes.
- Audio Localization: Poor audio quality affects how images and videos are received. Audio localization includes transcribing, developing a pronunciation guide for voice actors, and adapting the original script for translators.
- Video Localization: High-quality videos are one of the most potent forms of communication. For flawless results, video localization changes video elements to make the content accessible in other languages. Requirements may include recording a narrator’s voice, translating on-screen texts or animations, adding subtitles, and video editing.
- E-Learning Localization: E-learning is growing and can be used in schools, universities, and workplaces. The tasks required for e-learning can vary widely depending on the purpose of the content. Requirements can range from translating written content to creating new, regional-specific audio, video, images, and other elements.
- Desktop Publishing (DTP) Localization: Used to recreate content as if initially designed for a specific audience, DTP localization involves content design, image formatting, typography, and layout design. It may also require converting non-editable files to prepare for translation.
Multimedia location specialists will likely need technical skills and specific language and cultural knowledge. Depending on your niche, proficiency with different tools and types of software might be required.
A localization project manager keeps all the moving parts of a project working together. As the intermediary between clients and location specialists, a project manager will display excellent communication skills required to complete various tasks. Requirements may include recruiting and retaining talent, coordinating workflows, assigning resources, securing vendors, and approving timelines. The project manager works to ensure everything is on time and within budget. To accomplish this, they track and resolve issues and work with professionals in various departments to provide all the small details in a project are completed in a way that perfects the big picture.
This position is likely to require experience, education, and a variety of skillsets to work within different departments. To work with talent, vendors, and clients, a project manager must have excellent communication skills. They need time management, delegation, and financial budgeting skills to keep the entire project on track. Good project managers anticipate the needs of those around them and act accordingly with a client service mindset and a flexible approach to problem-solving.
Accurate translation is at the heart of every localization project. Although machine learning has advanced to translate text and speech directly from one language to another, it may not offer the complete nuanced effect of a professional translator who fully understands a language and dialect. Translators often need to localize digital materials and provide accurate translations of a single language with varied geographical locations and cultures. Translators often undertake multiple tasks to translate content seamlessly, so it seems like it was written for a specific audience.
Basic translation requires speaking or typing a second language fluently with the correct grammar, phonetics, syntax, and culture. Essentially, the translator must know every part of how the language is used, along with appropriate cultural and social context. Requirements of a localization translator may include website production, diverse legal knowledge, and how to adapt content to a specific culture. Strong fluency in the appropriate language is necessary. Additional skills may include broader technology and computer experience and extensive knowledge of the laws and culture in the desired location.
While translators are required to have the knowledge to change text or speech from one language to another, linguists are experts who study the way a language works. Linguists typically have a bilingual or multilingual background and have studied languages extensively to understand a specific language’s cultural and social context. Tasks to be completed by linguists on a localization project may include interpretation, written translation, editing, and proofreading.
A linguist’s most essential skills are a strong language competence and global cultures in their specialization. Strong communication skills, precision, and attention to detail are also required. Depending on the services provided, some experience with specific technologies or tools may be necessary, depending on the services provided.
Machine Translation Experts
Machine translation is completed by software that translates content directly from one language to another. While the machine learning technology that drives machine translation has evolved considerably, it doesn’t compare to human translation. Still, machine translation can increase speed and lower costs. As a result, the technology can be used to provide a starting point before editing or to provide information for additional tasks. For example, the process can expand text since different languages rarely have an exact translation. The use of machine translation can give you an approximate value of this change to prepare for data and design requirements.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in machine learning draws data from data to provide results. The most accurate machine translation engines can be customized to specific dialects and cultures. AI-enabled machines use data to obtain precise information but are prone to errors. Machine translation experts input data into the algorithms for more accurate translations.
Machine translation experts will likely need to have experience working with specific machine translation software types and other technological and machine learning experiences. Other translation skills may also be required for accurate editing and proofreading of machine translations.
Supply Chain Managers
Sometimes called vendor managers, supply chain managers match talent with projects. Similar to a human resources professional, a supply chain manager is responsible for sourcing and recruiting various professionals and specialists. They also coordinate business needs internally with production quality and sales teams.
Supply chain managers must have excellent negotiation and communication skills. They must also understand the changing market needs and be familiar with online sourcing translators and other professionals.