Modern localization skills for translators

Modern localization skills for translators

Modern localization skills for translators 1920 1465 Paulina Makles

These days, there’s more to translation than simply converting a text from one language to another. Instead, texts must be ‘customized’ in order to suit the needs of a specific target audience, and this process is what’s commonly known as localization.

Where do translators fit in?

According to many industry stakeholders, the localization sector is thriving as a result of the improved efficiency of translation workflows across the board. Translators are of course the main people responsible for this improved success.

However, in order for this upward trend to continue, translators must further upskill if they are to keep pace with what is currently set to grow by up to 10% in 2021 alone.

Being bilingual isn’t enough

As any translator will tell you, the mere fact of knowing more than one language is far from sufficient to succeed as a translator. You also need to be able to write relatively well in your native language in order to put together texts that read well.

Now, the stakes are higher though. In the localization workflow, it’s also crucial that translators have a decent level of cultural knowledge and are well versed in areas such as regional customs, local jargon, and traditions.

For many professional translators, this may mean niching down and specializing in a specific region or country. For example, those who translate in English should consider focusing on UK, US, or even Australian dialects in order to offer clients a higher quality service.

Brush up your computing skills

IT skills are fundamental if you’re hoping to succeed as a translator in any field. However, the rise of the localization industry means that many professionals must now push beyond the limits of the everyday CAT tools.

Basic programming skills are an indispensable asset to any localization workflow, and if a member of the translation team is HTML competent, then even better.

Why, we hear you ask. Well, being able to recognize tagged content in an HTML document can make the entire process a lot smoother and will also help to cut out the middle man (in many cases a professional programmer) and therefore streamline the entire process.

Since localization often involves online content, programming knowledge is a definite plus for any translator working in this fast-paced, ever-changing industry.

Get to grips with CAT tool capabilities

Dipping your toe into the world of programming doesn’t mean you can leave CAT tools behind. In fact, the reverse is true!

In order for professional translators to bring true added value to any localization workflow, they need to be able to do more than simply import packages and return translation to clients in zip files.

Being able to truly manage a translation memory, and update strings or terminology on a regular basis is a crucial part of your role as a translator in the team. Not only will it help to save time but it will prevent hiccups further down the line and ensure that everyone is on the same page… from a terminology perspective at least!

Though all this talk of improving skills sets may seem a little overwhelming for those translators looking to break into the localization industry, most clients will understand that it’s a process that takes time. That’s to say, provided you are able to demonstrate that you’re taking steps to upskill there’s no need to panic.

Paulina Makles

Educated in translation studies and with 10 years experience in localization, Paulina has moved through multiple roles related to project management and language management in multiple LSPs such as Welocalize, Lionbridge, Venga Global, and Summa Linguae. Paulina has joined XTRF as Head of Marketing in April 2020.

All stories by : Paulina Makles