The number 1 skill of Localization professionals?
The localization industry is ultra-fragmented; for the outsiders what we do is translate, but when you get inside this industry you realize that there are almost infinite market niches! According to GALA there’s around 60.000 translation and localization companies (link). Each of them working to provide a solution to solve a specific need. You might have companies working to provide a service to cover a need related to:
· Voice-on-Command translation services
· Content Management Tools
· Teams offering solutions for SEO with localized keywords
· Teams offering solutions for audio localization, or localization QA or localizing subtitles or ….the list goes on, and on ....
An LSP is not the only one that wants to position itself as a strategic partner in the G-localization ecosystem. An LSP is not the only one making an effort to "sell" services, ideas and strategy. The internal Localization teams in the different companies also make an effort on a daily basis to offer support to the different internal stakeholders; and in a way to reach more markets and maximize the global revenue.
There is a skill that in the years that I have been working in the industry, I have seen that it is a pattern, that I see it repeating itself over and over again. Either in internal or external teams; either in a vendor "selling" a CMS to a Localization team or a Localization team "selling" a Localization strategy to internal stakeholders.
There is a skill that I see frequently in professionals who are working in this industry, and that skill is perseverance.
I find that people working in the language industry have an almost infinite patience! to explain what it really means to globalize / localize a product.
An infinite patience to explain:
• why it is important to pay attention to the quality of English content,
• why it is important to have a content management API connected directly to our Jenkins framework (or any other environment that you use to compile software ...)
• why it is important to have Code Localization readiness early and why we have to think about implementing Chinese font at the beginning of the software development phase although the version of our app / software / game ... will not come out in China until next year!
f I had to choose the skill that best describes a professional in this industry, perseverance would be in my Top 1.
Now, what does it really mean perseverance, and why persevere is a skill worth having? And why do I believe that perseverance is the skill 1 to cultivate and to nurture for all of us working here?
Well, here we go with my 5 reasons!
Perseverance is a crucial skills because ….
1. Be There if as Localization professional we don’t show up, nothing happens. If we don’t have a Localization team member in a stand-up Product meeting, nothing happens. If we don’t have a LSP giving a presentation in GALA, LocWorld etc etc explaining the technology, their solution, nothing happens. As a Localization professionals we need to trust that our presence and perseverance matters and can make a difference. If we are not there, nothing happens, and when nothing happens we become irrelevant …
2. Have a voice. As Localization professionals we need to Speak up. We need to explain how we can make a difference. We need to explain the value we bring. We need to elevate our teams and put them in a bigger picture to explain why the work we do is important.
3. Together is better – This little book we got within my family as a Christmas gift is pure gold. Everything goes better with partners. Don’t try to do it alone. Build a sense of partnership.
4. Mirroring effect. Perseverance will set a god example to your colleagues. If you keep trying and trying and trying… your colleagues, your stakeholders, your team members will be inspired by your level of perseverance … and when they see you achieving your goals with sheer persistence, they too will try to imitate this trait. This will result in an overall boost in the perception of the Localization industry and the value of us as individuals trying time after time.
5. The road to mastery. Perseverance makes us experts! Malcolm Gladwell coined the concept that to reach the level of mastery in any discipline we must be willing to invest 10000 hours.
I don’t know if we might need 10.000 hours to explain our stuff, but, we may not be good at explaining at the beginning to a group of stakeholder what the heck internationalization is; we might struggle to speak to C-executives about the benefits of investing in NMT in plain language. With persistence, we will continue to do the same thing over and over again until we master it.
As Localization professional we need to develop infinite patience skills. It’s difficult from time to time to see light at the end of the tunnel. Everything looks like a failure in the middle. In those moments it’s difficult to keep moving forward, and pushing. We will realize at that moment that it will take longer than we imagine. It’s in that moment when we need to keep persevering, we need to keep going anyway. We might be flexible in our approach, but inflexible in our persistence.
What do you think? Do you see perseverance as the number 1 skill exhibited as Localization professionals? Or maybe you think our community is even stronger in another skill?
Have a great week !