Have you ever thought about being a localization engineer? Localization engineers facilitate the entire localization process. They act as bridges between the different stakeholders: clients, business development teams, project managers, and vendors.
And what exactly do they do? The role of a localization engineer varies depending on the company’s size and scope. At the basic level, the role could be running QA checks on localized files before delivering them to the client to make sure that they’re error-free. Sometimes the role extends to supporting project managers and the sales and business development teams due to the knowledge about computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, content management systems (CMSs), and other relevant localization information. Finally, on a higher level, the localization engineering role could involve developing a new tool or plugin that supports localization processes that require a solid background in development and programming.
Through a series of blogs, I’ll share some ideas and challenges facing the localization industry. In this blog, I’ll talk about localization engineering skills through the last decade and in the future with the era of big data and automation.
Skills for a Localization Engineer
To be recognized as a good localization engineer, you need to have particular skills and develop them regularly. Here are some examples of important skills to have and hone.
In the localization industry, usually only a small number of projects tend to go according to the plan at the beginning. Skilled localization engineers can work analytically to understand the problems that they’re facing, the available solutions, and the optimum solution to get the required result.
Knowledgeable About Trends and Research-Oriented
There’s always something new in the localization industry, so a successful localization engineer will keep up-to-date and learn about trends in the industry. In addition, he or she will research ways of doing things and handling problems in multiple ways.
An adaptable localization engineer who can think outside of the box is usually good about finding creative solutions for challenges. When one is adaptable, one can better face challenges.
The localization industry is full of details, so being a detailed-oriented localization engineer means completing each task, assignment, or phase as flawlessly as possible before moving on to the next one.
Good Teamwork Spirit
The localization industry requires an entire team effort; it’s not a one-person show. Since a localization engineer is at the center of all the stakeholders (e.g., project managers, sales team, translators, vendors, etc.), a successful localization engineer is must know how to work with everyone.
Strong Communication Skills
As we just talked about, a localization engineer knows that localization requires teamwork and that the localization engineering role is the center of all the stakeholders. Therefore, a localization engineer must have very strong communication skills with all stakeholders.
The Role of the Localization Engineer in the Future
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and intensified the digitization or digital transformation for all activities and industries around us, which has had a huge and direct impact on the localization industry. The pandemic and other factors forced most the localization companies to automate any repetitive tasks, procedures, processes or workflows with the same pattern, which means more involvement for machine translation (MT) and artificial intelligence (AI) in localization daily tasks such as machine translation, transcription, text to speech, speech to text, and more.
MT and AI play a big role in the localization industry now, and they will continue to play a greater role in the future. However, this doesn’t mean that the localization engineering position will go away—it’ll just change, and the changes will be something to embrace. So while the skills that we talked about previously were enough in the previous decade, nowadays you need to learn some additional skills with technology to meet the new needs and challenges of the industry.
Capability to Work on Various Types of Source Files
Currently, many companies from different industries work with a variety of file types and schemes. Simple file formats like Microsoft applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and more professional tools like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or FrameMaker are relatively easy to be localized. However, many other files formats like .OP, .HTM, .YAML, and .JSON requires a higher level of technical knowledge to make sure that final localized files will be error-free and to avoid any unnecessary back and forth between clients and linguists.
Capability to Work on Multiple Tools and Platforms
In the age of automation, it’s crucial to have excellent knowledge and understanding of tools and platforms. This is important so that you select the most appropriate tool to extract translatable text, analyze its word count, and prepare the localization package. If you don’t choose the most appropriate tool or finalize these steps correctly, you’ll disrupt the workflow process while also increasing the overall project cost.
Last but not least, you must be able to read code and be familiar with many different programming languages. This became mandatory, not just nice to have like it was previously, because a localization engineer will work with all different types of files that have different formats and schemes. Sometimes you need to deal with customized CMSs or translation management systems (TMSs) that require you to create ways or tools to overcome challenges like using connectors with CMSs, macros or scripts with TMSs.
Localization Engineering at GPI
Our localization engineering team at GPI works hand-in-hand with all our stakeholders to increase efficiencies by automating any repetitive task while still ensuring a high-quality final deliverable. We’re also always looking for ways to make things easier for our clients.