Welcome to my blog. The space where I document my passion about Localization, Project Management and Leadership

Real Localization FC - A truly Dream Team

 Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

In this post, I’m going to write, about university, localization, students and football! Wow! That’s a weird mix! Isn’t it? And, why I chose this topic for this essay?

Well, the reason is … students!!!

Last month, I was invited with a Localization colleague Patricia Gomez to give a lecture in Pompeu University to Translation students

Pompeu is a prestigious university, always ranking high in the list of best European universities. Students can find in this University a wide range of careers. Translation/Philology is one of the many possibilities students have in this University to choose.  

During my career, I interviewed many students, especially when I was working as a vendor in Lionbridge where I worked for 11 years. Finding good candidates to join Localization teams is an on-going effort in a vendor of that size. Peaks and valleys are quite strong in vendor’s projects; it’s important to have a database with potential candidates to join upcoming projects.

What I observed after many many many interviews is that there’s a disconnection between what it’s taught in the Translation Universities and the reality of the market.

 

For example, a thesis about “The defence of the art of translation in the poetry” won’t facilitate greatly for a student to get a job in a Localization start-up company.  

Hopefully there are teachers involved to help students to find their passion. These teachers are a priceless asset not only for the University but specially for the students. They are not only teachers, but mentors, coachers and advisors in general.

Silvia Ruiz is one of these undercover heroes; she’s an associated teacher of German in the Pompeu University;but she’s doing much more than teaching German! She’s supporting her students sharing with them her real experience as she has been working not only in the academic industry but also in the private localization industry. Silvia organized a lecture for the students about how the real market of the localization industry is. She wanted to show her German apprentices that making a life working as translator in the gaming or in the software industry is a real possibility.

My colleague Patricia Gomez and myself were invited to this talk. Patricia gave insights about the Localization industry. She focused in Web pages and content creation. She’s very knowledgeable in this area and it was a pleasure to be there sharing the talk with her. I learned about web sites and localization strategies for content creation. Well done Patricia! 

In my case, I was talking about the gaming localization industry. I focused my part not only in the technical aspects, but also I walked students through the promising industry of videogames (and localisation in general). I thought this was much needed; we (Spain) have the honour of having the second highest unemployment figure among young people in EU (46.49% as April 2016).

Therefore, talking about the different possibilities to work in the gaming/localization industry became an interesting topic for the students. There are different roles these young students might aspire, and it covers a wide range of areas, technical, linguistic, managerial, etc. This is what inspired me to write this post.

During the Q&A session one of the questions we got was  

“Are there roles in the localisation industry apart from working as translator?”

This question stuck in my head, because I realised how unknown the Localization industry is, not only to people working in other fields, but also to the new blood studying translation. While answering that question, I thought it might be a good idea to write about the different roles in the Loc industry, because, of course there are many more roles than a translator!!

I love football, I love Localisation. Is there anyway to link these passions? Is it possible to write a post informative about roles in the Localization industry using football as a simile?

Of course! Let me introduce you the Real Localization FC

This dream team is even better than the most legendary international teams any of us ever saw! This Localization Dream Team is better than the mythical Pele’s Brazil from the 70’s or the phenomenal 80’s Argentina commanded by the unique and unrepeatable Diego Armando Maradona.

The closer team I can think maybe, but only maybe, might defeat this Localisation Dream Team might be the Spanish National team (Euro cup 2012 edition :).

What a generation of incredible players, what a match they played against Italy in the final!

 Now, what’s the trophy this amazing team is pursuing? The trophy is ethos! Being respected, show credibility and build trust; because this talented team is going to fight all the way through the final of the Championship to help everyone understand how important Localization is.

 Are you ready to meet the Cristiano’s Ronaldo, Leo Messi’s of the Localization Industry! Yes? All right, let’s get ready to rumble!!!!


This is a long post as it's a summary of different roles in the Localization industry. Please us the following links to go directly to the role you want to read

1 Localization QA Testers

2 Translator

3 Vendor Manager

4 Copywriter

5 Proofreader

6 Localization Project Manager

7 Localization Sales

8 Localization Program Manager

9 Localization Engineer

10 Solutions Architects

11 Cultural Assessor


 1.- Localization QA Testers

 I still remember the incredible safe Iker Casillas performed to Arjen Robben in the overtime of the final World Cup 2010. I remember my breath was frozen when I saw Robben running majestically towards Casillas goal, he ran totally focus as one of these documentaries of leopards hunting gazelles.

It was only 4 seconds but it felt to me as an eternity, Casillas emerged as a giant, as a true guardian, a guardian with a true mission, block problems, avoid troubles, avoid unnecessary suffer …. Our goalkeeper, our guardian in our marvellous Real Localization FC is the Localization QA Tester (LQA).

The LQA Tester is our guardian of the quality!

We also have a Casillas in our Loc industry!!

Actually I was also a “goal keeper”, that’s how I started in Localization. My first job was as LQA testers for Microsoft Office ‘95. That seems so far away nowadays …. And even more than 20 years later, I still feel this role is sometimes not fully understood. It’s a little bit blurry to realize how much value Testers give to the overall localized product cycle. And this is something that I don’t understand, because after all, we rely on LQA testers to make the product shine!

What a QA Tester does? 

QA Testers are an essential part of any Localization process, they are the guardians of the quality, they check the functionality of the software, mobile app, videogame, web site etc etc. If there’s a non-working link, an untranslated text, or inconsistencies in your glossary terms be prepared to receive a few bugs. Because good LQA testers are like bulldogs and they will bite your product until is “bug free” (*bug free products… the wet dream of QA freaks) A QA tester will give feedback about the overall quality of the product and about the usability. Testers will ensure UI is top-notch. The reason why the role of the Testes is so important is because they are the first people to see the localized products entirely.

This is one of the roles I name “glue” in our industry. They keep together everyone. Let me illustrate this a little bit more. If we take as an example the creation of a videogame, we might have a handful of different roles involved. We would have the artist working on the illustrations, we would have the producers working on scheduling, planning…., developers would be busy focusing on the coding, there will be a narrative designer preparing the storyline and marketing will be analysing the potential of the game in the different markets. Everyone will be busy working in different areas, but the first person that will see all these different pieces together will be the LQA Tester. LQA Tester eventually will receive a build which it will be the output of the effort of the different Tetris pieces other stakeholders put together in previous phases. We need to give more visibility and confidence to the QA Team’s, they are an essential part in the Localization process, they are our goalkeepers, they are our guardians of the quality.

 Skills/Education

  •  Excellent linguistic skills in your mother tongue won’t be enough, that one is taken for granted. Good command of English is necessary. You will work in an English environment, documentation or reference material is high likely it’ll be in English; and probably you will attend meetings or conference calls where your command of the Shakespeare language will be challenged again and again.

  • Computer background (or at least being curious about technology) will help as well. You’ll be expected to work with different databases, internal tools or tracking bug systems. Quite often, these tools will be internal or without having comprehensive user guides. In this environment, your own know-how and curiosity will boost your performance

  • Attention to detail is another essential skill. A tester needs to report bugs and pay attention to everything that happens while testing the product. Being able to have an analytical mind and to stay focus will be a great asset of any team interested in buying one of these goalkeepers

  • Individuals working as QA Testers are quite tech. Engineers/Computer science students find a good habitat to start their working journey in the quality assurance field.

  • Apart from a University degree, it’s a good idea to specialize in this role even more. Those interested in working as LQA Testers can get a proper certificate in this field in institutions such as ISTQB /ISEB from British Computer Society or Prince.  These certifications are well-known certifications and it might help as a door opener in the Localization industry.

 Level up! what's my career path from here?

 QA area is quite often a shortcut to become Localization Lead, it’s an entry door for many people who wants to work in this industry. I do believe that getting a job as QA testers is still slightly easier than as Translator or any other role described in this post. I've seen many people starting as LQA testers to decide whether you like the industry or not.

From QA tester positions, I have seen multiple career paths from my old colleagues. Some of them chose to get more technical savvy and they jump into Localization Engineer roles or Solution architects. Others follow the ladder of management, being QA Lead, and after a few years, Localization Project Managers or Language Team lead/QA Managers.

To get a grasp of real offers just go to LinkedIn, Monsters, Indeed, Simple Hire or your favourite job board and just type Linguistic QA or QA and you’ll get a sample of the real required skills for this position.

2.- Translators

Our dream team Real Localization FC won’t be able to play efficiently if we would not have Translators in our team to facilitate the communication. Translator is the most famous player in our team.

What a Translator does?

Translators role is tricky, however to make the definition understandable let's say that a translator is someone who converts the written word from one language to another. The goal of a translator is to have people perceiving translation as the original. This is also commonly known as Transcreation. And that's the tricky part, because to achieve that, translators must consider any cultural references, including slang, and other expressions that do not translate literally. Something we say often in the localization industry is that a good translation can have “its special flavour”

Translators face different challenges; they have their own Everest to climb.  In the case of the translator the tricky question is: how do I get experience as Translator?

Translators market is very competitive; be prepared to compete with people from all over the planet. Some of them with very cheap rates. This is a clear example of what Thomas Friedman covers in his book The world is flat (not a bad Christmas gift !)

To solve the lack of experience there are different options we can consider.

  •  One good possibility is to start as volunteer translator in initiatives such as Translators Without Borders 
  • Dubbing TV shows or movies is also a good possibility to get experience
  • Another suggestion: What about offering yourself as volunteer to translate TedTalks? This would help to build not only translation habits but also your network. 
  • To get experience as a Videogames translator there are a few communities to translate open source games. One community very active and popular is Widelands
   
  
 
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     Widelands is a free slow-paced real-time strategy video game under the GNU General Public License. 

Widelands is a free slow-paced real-time strategy video game under the GNU General Public License. 

 

  • While getting experience you might consider to build also your profile in ProZ or Translators Café (or better do it in both platforms). I would recommend as well to create a web page (or blog) to promote yourself and create your personal brand. If you are not very tech savvy about how to create a Web page I would recommend to explore Squarespace. This company offers a complete solution to create a very professional web site or blog for those users that don’t want to spend much time coding/designing. However, if you like the coding/designing part, you should build your personal site with WordPress.

If you want to keep digging about becoming Translator I would recommend that you have a look to this book 

 The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation covers everything you need to know to start as a freelance translator or set up your translation business

Skills/Education

For Translators usually the main headache is not what to study, as most of them own a Translation degree. There are quite of few possibilities to get proper education to become a translator. From studying a language career in the university to a master degree in foreign languages. Becoming a Certified Translator(ATA) is also a good idea to work in this industry.

Level up! what's my career path from here?

Although Translators are quite passionate about what they do some of them decide to try different positions associated with this role. A natural transition (specially at the vendor side) is to take a lead role such as Language Quality Lead or Language Lead. These roles are a great fit for Translators. They can mix their know-how in Translation and leverage that knowledge to the whole portfolio of languages that are being localised.

Maybe having good quality in a specific language might be achievable … but what about when you are working with a vendor who provides you localization in 23 different languages? Who is responsible to guarantee that language quality is consistent between all the languages being localised? That’s the role of the Language Quality Lead

The Language Quality Lead will work to provide guidelines and recommendations to be leveraged across the different languages in Translation. It's important to have someone taking accountability for the quality across different languages. I’ve seen in some vendors there's a temptation to assign that responsibility to the Project Manager. In my opinion, that's a total different role (as I will cover later). To ensure quality is consistent across language we should rely on the expertise and know-how of a Language Quality Lead.

Another possibility for Translators is to get specialised and work as Interpreter

3.- Vendor Managers

Shuttlers is a role which is becoming increasingly important in modern football. And our Localization Dream team has a shulttler as well! This player literally shuttles up and down between Loc QA and Project Managers. They pitch inside the midfield channels and work hard to provide a true link (more Localization resources) between the defence and attack.

Definitely we need a great Vendor Manager (VM) in our team!

 What a VM does?

 I remember when I was working at the vendor side for Nokia. It was around 2002, the golden age of Nokia. Remember these models??? 

We were lucky to have Nokia as client; they had huge localization needs; and we were happy to take those projects! they were very interesting and I learned a lot! not only from a tech perspective, but also, because we had to scale our workforce quite dramatically.

In fact, those days Nokia was in a heavy expansion movement, and they required us localization in 32 languages!

Do you know how you can quickly scale up teams to handle large projects? you need to have a VM playing in your team!

VM is a role a little bit similar as a HR specialist, VM will recruit potential new translators/linguistic even localization testers who might be a good fit for a specific project or a specific account. This is an important role as it brings talent to the organization but also VM oversees rates negotiation and contracts.

VM also maintains a database of linguists; this database will include the strengths of each linguistic, by doing this there can be a potential good match for new upcoming projects. A good VM will ensure that database contains relevant information of translators across different projects. This will help in future assignments and quality evaluations.

 Skills/Education

 In terms of education there’s not a Vendor Management certification per se, usually the background of people working as VM is somehow related with project management, HR or sales (rates negotiation with freelancers). Since these are core functions of this role many VM professionals come from other management functions.

Level up! what's my career path from here?

Vendor managers are quite used to filter candidates and negotiate with them, and overall to recruit good candidates. Therefore, a natural transition for a Vendor Manager would be to work in senior HR roles or as Supply Chain Manager.

 

4.- Copywriter

 What important is in any team to have a central defender who knows how to initiate any action with purpose. That’s our Copywriter; this player knows how to move everything with style and with creativity. Our copywriter masters the art of creation. During this post, I’m talking about the different roles and how they handle the content to translate … but, to manage the content, we need someone to create the content, right? If no-one takes the time to write, compose or imagine new content …. the localisation cycle would finish quite soon! Hopefully, we have the copywriter as part of this Localization Dream team. 

 What a copywriter does?

The copywriter (aka Narrative Designer) works in English (usually that's the source languages in most of the localisation projects I’ve been involved), and they work “off-line” this means that they don't have a special need to use a CAT tools or TMs. That would fall more into the next phase when we prepare files for translation. 

A good copywriter is not just a writer.  They understand human psychology and depending on the content they are creating this makes a huge impact. For example, a copywriter working in a marketing campaign needs to understand people patterns so the word s/he’s creating can influence and get more purchases. Copywriters is a role quite on demands nowadays, having a good/creative copywriter can facilitate the creation of content in different areas such as: ads, media (TV, internet), brochures, Facebook, Google Ads, Website, blogs and VIDEO-GAMES of course!!

Maybe a simile to understand better Copywriter role would be to think that copywriters are the Shakespeare’s of the century XXI!

 Skills/Education

The question now is, what’s the background of this creative organism? That’s a difficult questions (I don’t know why I put myself difficult questions!?) There is no traditional route into Copywriting, but there are multiple pathways that copywriters in the past have taken. Being a writer is important, but nowadays you don’t need any certification to be a writer. You can start writing and become an influential blogger, that will weigh more than any certification/university degree. Of course, you can take any writing course, that will not harm, but this role is quite self-study and write as much, as you possibly can. Being a subject expert in any area is also quite necessary. This means that if you are passionate in any area, and you are able to express it clearly, you are on the right track to be a copywriter. Due to the need of written in a persuasive way I have one friend who works as copywriter who did a master degree in phycology. This helps him to understand better how people think and he’s able to tailor the message based on human behaviours

Level up! what's my career path from here?

 Copywriters I know they are quite happy with their job. They like creating content. I have seen my copywriter friends from video games industry to move to other industries, such as advertisement, learning platforms or write books for children. In these movements, they took a more Senior Copywriter role leading a team of copywriters less experienced.

5.- Proof-reader (aka Reviewer/Editor)

What a great defender! Defending the quality of the game, ensuring that the rivals cannot even think to impact negatively the overall result.

 What a Proof-reader (reviewer/editor) does?

These roles are not the same, but to keep this article in essay format I will combine them. Otherwise I’ll be close to creating an article e-book length!

If you want to know more about the main pillar of our defence in our Localization Dream Team you can find a post I wrote about this role HERE

Skills/Education

Employers may prefer to hire proofreaders with a degree in Translation or Journalism. Key skills to work as proofreader are the ability to work independently, excellent written skills and familiarity with word processing, spreadsheets and CAT tools

Level up! what's my career path from here?

After gaining experience, proofreaders may choose to apply for higher-level positions, such as senior editors. Another career path possibility for these professionals is moving to a language lead position. Since proofreaders master language quality working as a lead fits quite nicely for them.

6.- Localization Project Manager

 Any football team appreciates having a player that cares about the others. These are the Localization Project Managers (LPM). They play hard to ensure that the rest of the footballers are doing fine and feeling well. He cares about others, but ….

 What a Localization Project Manager does?

 The localization Project Manager (LPM) is a pivotable role in any localization efforts we want to entrepreneur.

Main tasks LPM include

  • Communication with all stakeholders. LPMs have many tentacles, they interact with every single person involved in the translation cycle from the beginning to the end. This includes localization engineers, sales manager, linguist resources, marketing or vendors among others. It’s often said that 90% of a project management role is spent on communication. This might give you an idea about the importance of developing your communication skills. Why don’t you give it a try to Toastmasters then? Shall we talk? 😃 Mail me and I'll drop you an invitation to come as guest if you are around Barcelona.
  • Monitor&Control: When a LPM is not busy delivering his/her message across the different team member you will often find him/her preparing a Localization Test Plan, Risk Management plan, analyzing potential risks of the project, doing a budget consolidation or preparing different status reports to measure the progress of the project.
  • Team allocation is another important task performed by LPM. Assigning the right resources to the right tasks will be the difference between having a happy client or a grumpy client!
  • Coaching/mentoring will be in the to do list as well of the LPM. Support newbies or junior Project Managers through training and coaching opportunities falls under the plate of LPM as well

Skills/Education

Education and knowledge are important aspects to play in this role. In terms of education, apart from a specific bachelor degree you might need from a University, there are specifics certification program tailored for individuals interested in Project Management. PMI (Project Management Institute) and the Localization Institute offer Project Management programs to teach the different skills required for this role. These certifications are quite popular in the PM industry 

Level up! what's my career path from here?

Localization Project Managers over time develop skills very valuable to apply in other management roles. From LPM there are different paths that these professionals can explore, for example Production Managers or Portfolio/Program Managers where the difficulty to have the projects in scope, in the schedule and in budget multiplies highly. 

Project Managers, Producer, Team leaders or any other managerial position is a very interesting role to look at when deciding career plan; Project Management might be a profession, a role or an activity depending on whom you speak. But there’s no doubt that in the world, I believe there’s a shortage of PM professionals. Therefore, for those persons who love the adrenaline of handling team human conflicts, the stress of hitting impossible deadlines or the magic of mastering the art of doing more with less (tiny localization budgets) you would feel in this role as happy as Winnie the Pooh working in a honey factory. 

7.- Localization Sales

 Any great team needs a player nurturing the rest of the team, and that’s the strength of our Localization Sale player! They ensure that they create enough opportunities so others can shine. These opportunities are super important to keep the morale of our Localization Dream team up, because, it is very important to protect and expand the business.

What a Localization Sales person does?

The Localization sales job itself is pretty straightforward; localization sales people need to identify new potential clients while keeping the current ones.

No rocket science; in this sense, the role is quite similar as the role of sales people in any other industry.

The role of sales has changed dramatically over the last 20 years; when I started it was really focus on making all process as standard as possible; and the focus was control everything ….. Now, this is totally different, nowadays customization is the key.

Localization Sales representatives need to present and customize solutions, and more important than ever become more responsive and truly partner with their clients to create value for both parties.

The daily routine of people working in sales include different areas and a good mix of skills; this includes legal knowledge to be able to draft RFPs, SOWs and MSLA

 Skills/Education

People working in sales typically own a business degree and/or Master in a business school. Superior communication skills in English is also a must for this role

 Level up! what's my career path from here?

People working in sales usually progress to more senior management sales roles such as Business Developer Managers, Sales Regional Director, Business Developer Directors or even to Executive C-level positions.

The progression of these professionals focus on management and supervise bigger teams/accounts. It’s quite unlikely for someone in sales to go back to the production side of localization, therefore progression of this role is focus on getting more responsibilities and grow the business

8.- Localization Program Manager

Surprise to see this player as part of the Localisation Dream team? The number 8 in our team is the visionary leader …. Do you think that I just lost my inspiration? Do you think I’m copying/pasting myself from the Localization Project Manager paragraph? You might be right assuming that occasionally I repeat myself, however, this time is different! 😃

What a Localization Program Manager does?

The role of Localization Project Manager and the role of Localisation Program Manager is not the same. Maybe first I should start with a definition of what a project is and compare it with a program. If I go back to my after-hours nights when I was studying the PMBOOK guide to prepare my PMP certification I can remember that a project per PMI is a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product or service. 

The key to understand the different between Project and Program (and therefore to understand the difference between Localization Project Manager and Localization Program Manager) is in the word temporary. A project is temporary while in the case of programs they usually span a far greater duration than a project. Programs require long strategic planning that’s not required of a project. Programs are Ongoing while Projects End. The ongoing nature of programs also means that they engage in continuous process improvement.

A Localization Program manager can be seen as the visionary leader for the overall program. This person will define goals and objectives. The focus of the role is on strategy and implementation of the strategy. A Localization Program Manager plays a pivotal role in deciding the company Localization strategy while the focus of the Localization Project Manager is in one of the projects of the programs. 

Skills/Education

 People working as Localization Program Manager often got this job after being promoted from the Project Manager role. The Program Manager is a challenging role that combines the skills of a master juggler, expert localization adviser, and critical thinker …. all wrapped into one position. The Localization Program Manager is also expected to manage numerous external clients and their relationship. To shine in this role you will need to be a stellar communicator in all its different forms; oral, written and interpersonal.

 Level up! what's my career path from here?

Moving up the career ladder, the next career change might be Project Director. These are junior executive roles focused on achieving organisational objectives and creating value through the work of other managers. A Project Director is a manager of manager, s/he is the Master of the Universe of the Managers!

9.- Localization Engineers

Every memorable team needs a killer, a striker someone who can score and decide with his actions the outcome of the match. Our killer in our Real Localization FC is the Localization Engineer. This player knows how to dance with the complexity of the barriers to produce world-class results.

Localization Engineers are one of my favourite roles in the localization industry. These guys are awesome, they are analytical, very tech savvy, but also very knowledgeable in linguistic aspects.

What a Localization Engineer does?

In theory, their role is easy to explain, they prepare files to start localization and they double check final files before delivery. Perfection is important in this part of the process, getting files with the right metadata and language pairs is a crucial step in the localization cycle.

It seems easy, but it’s not. In the real world, this role is quite complex and in my opinion is a critical role for different reasons

  • They are the first resources to touch files. Specially working at the vendor side. Loc Engineers will be responsible to analyze files, documents and any other reference material. They will provide valuable info to the sales team/project managers so they can prepare cost proposal and budgets. Therefore, this first exposure to the localization content is quite relevant to ensure we start with the right foot. Translation memory managements is also in the list of important tasks performed by Loc engineers. The localization engineer has a critical daily role to maintain the integrity of a client's TM's and keep them updated.  These databases get very complex and quite big; a corrupted TMs is always a thread and a nightmare for any Loc Engineer!
  • Glossary development/Terminology mining forms part of the daily/weekly routines of these cracks. Engineers will run different tools to create source glossaries to review later by the linguistic teams and the client before actual translation of terminology can even start. 
  • Font integration is another crucial task done during the Loc Engineering phase. Files need to be prepared to support not only extended characters but also very complex datasets such as Asian characters or LTR Arabic. 

Skills/Education

 During my career, what I saw is that Localization Engineers are people who studied Computer Engineering or other technical career. I have seen also some students of philology who ended up working as Localization Engineering, sometimes this happens because one translator can be also very geek and at the same time being a linguistic specialist. These persons are however a rara avis, so, if you are interested in working as Localization Engineer then Computer Engineering is the fastest track

Level up! what's my career path from here?

 Usually Localization Engineers come from an Engineering background, computers or just self-learners; people who love technology;people who like experimenting and try and learn new tools. For this reason, Localization Engineers even if they evolve to some sort of managerial position they are always close to technology. I have seen some Localization Engineer to evolve in positions such as Engineering Manager, Technologist, Solutions Architect or Pre-sales Business Managers.

10.- Solutions Architect

This player is the brain of our Dream Team, no doubt about it. Our Real Localization FC finds in the Solution Architect the magic of Andres Iniesta to illuminate everyone. 

What a Solutions Architect does?

 This is one of those roles that definitely my parents will not understand what his son does.

Actually they don’t really understand my current role, but somehow they understand it’s related with “supervise the English” and that’s enough for them J. In the case of Solutions Architects (SA) supervision is not in their core functions, because the core functions is to create something that later others can supervise. So, what are these architects exactly building?

Basically they build solutions, they build solution to specific problems. One way to see this role is like a problem solver, Solutions Architect are like Mr Wolf from the iconic movie Pulp Fiction. In this role greatly performed by Harvey Keitel.

He introduces himself as “I solve problems”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANPsHKpti48 

This is what this rara avis of the localization industry does, they solve different problems, and these problems luckily they are not as bizarre as the ones that Winston Wolfe had to resolve, but still, these problems might be quite complex, for example:

·       How to integrate client CMS with vendor internal tools?

·       How to integrate Kanji characters in the xliff files?

·       How to automate the process of translation memories alignment?

·       How to prepare and evaluate project deliverables such as software, help, docs or website?

Skills/Education

The role of the SA quite often is underestimated in its complexity. It’s a difficult job to prepare the architecture of the Localization process and the required tools. The role requires balancing so many factors that the risk of failing in architecture or process proposal is high. SA is quite a technical and complex role. In previous roles, I described above you might end up in those positions without having a formal education, in the case of the SA I do believe you need to start with a degree from a college or university. It’s probably the localization role that requires a degree the most. Most of these professionals have three years of relevant work experience, at the very least.

People I met during my career working in this field studied something somehow computers related. This role requires to be very tech savvy and you need to be very curious and somehow it’s quite hard to keep up, because if you work as Solution Architect you need to be aware on a wide variety of new techniques, patterns, and tools. The effort to keep up can be very draining at times. There are organizations that provide certification in systems and enterprise architectures, such as The Open Group’s IT Architect Certification Program. It might be worth it to have a look and explore if the different certification programs they have are relevant for candidates considering to progress in this area

Level up! what's my career path from here?

The career path of SA often goes into Business Analyst role, this is not a dramatic transition as SA often works with the sales team to prepare clients proposals, they also work closely with productions teams to look for synergies and introduce costs savings in the translation process.

11.- Localization Cultural Assessor

 Our player number 11 is a champion of being polite and understandable with the rest of his colleagues. He knows how to behave in every situation, in every stadium all over the world. 11 masters the multicultural science!

 What a Localization Cultural Assessor does?

 Far are those days where we built a game, app or any software in general where we can widespread globally with minor tweaks. Nowadays we live in the age of customization, we need to understand our clients to offer them solutions to their needs. And to understand your client you need to understand their culture first. We all know that different people have different cultures and everything is understood differently depending on the target market. The key here is to have someone in your localization team who can evangelize and give feedback about cultural aspects and the differences between markets.

I see Culturalization as a slightly different branch of the Localization industry, but it’s still linked, because, it encompasses localization techniques, but goes many steps further.

Cultural assessors would need to inform, educate, and guide the process with their knowledge of the culture and context. The meaning of the colours is a clear example of how something as trivial as a colour has a different perception in different cultures

 Source:WakingTimes.com

Source:WakingTimes.com

 When it comes to games, this is even more important as it’s the different between having a good monetization or to have “just another game” in the market. The popular Ski Safari is a good example of this.

I would say localization is just the first step of the whole translation experience. With text translations, non-English players can at the least get an overview of the app or game. This is a good beginning as it improves the user experience. The next step is to get the right context. Getting the right context is the expertise field of this localization cultural assessors. Ultimately this creates this simple and powerful formula

Cultural Understanding = Market Share

 Skills/Education

This role has different paths and origins, however there’s a pattern in the education of these professionals, they tend to “literature academic people” some of them studied any translation degree and they end up as cultural assessor because of their love to different cultures and people diversity. Getting a degree in geography is also a good career match. I have seen different conflicts in my career because of a bad understanding of a specific region in a map. Having someone in your team who has this history/geography knowledge is a great fit for any Localization football team J

 Level up! what's my career path from here?

 People with a great knowledge of different cultures find themselves becoming speakers, bloggers, consultant or writers because of their great knowledge of cultural differences. Working assessing companies to enter in a specific market is a great mission in life! 

 I hope you enjoyed this post and you learned more about the incredible world of Localization with the help of this unrepeatable Localization Dream team 😃

Have a nice day

@yolocalizo


Dancing with Localization changes

Dancing with Localization changes

Leading Localization Teams in the Knowledge Era

Leading Localization Teams in the Knowledge Era