A translator converts words and meaning from one language to another. It’s not just about translating a document or website word for word; the translator’s job is to convey the original tone and intention of the message, taking into account cultural differences. The reader must believe the words were written in their native language.
Translators work with written words and software. They translate marketing materials, annual reports, instruction manuals, software and online content. Translators must have native fluency in two or more languages. More and more, translators are working with computers and software to translate more efficiently and consistently. Many translators work as freelancers, but some are employed as in-house employees.
An interpreter works with the spoken word, conveying a message spoken in one language to listeners in a different language. Like translators, interpreters must convey the style and tone of the speaker as well as their meaning and this often takes place on the spot. Interpreters, therefore, must be quick thinkers and able to handle pressure.
Many interpreters work as freelancers or independent contractors.
A project manager in the localization and languages industry manages localization projects from start to finish. This involves managing quotes and workflow, ensuring agreed standards and specifications are met, ensuring the project is on budget and meets its deadline, as well as managing the various professionals involved in the project, from translators to localization engineers, quality assurance staff and graphic designers. The project manager also liaises with the client and manages their expectations.
Project managers must be organized, good problem solvers, and have excellent people management as well as customer relations skills.
Software Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) Professional
The quality assurance professional’s role is to ensure that any localized product – be it a website, a game, a computer program or app – works as well in the new language as it does in the original language. They check to be sure standards and specific requirements are met and they oversee the testing process. Working in the localization and language industry, quality assurance professionals have an understanding of the different testing tools and programming languages.
Attention to detail and precision are a must for a quality assurance professional.
Software localization engineer
A software localization engineer oversees the process by which translation meets localization. Put simply, he or she takes apart all of the elements of the product that have to be localized (first making sure they can be localized) then puts them back together again once they are localized.
The software localization engineer prepares a localization toolkit for translators, which includes all the files and instructions for translation. Once the translation is done, the engineer builds the newly localized product so that it is ready for testing. The localization engineer is responsible for fixing any bugs found during testing.
Software localization engineers have a technical role combining knowledge of programming languages, development environments, user interface design guidelines, localization and translation tools as well as language and translation issues.
These are just a few of the careers specific to the localization and language industry. There are many other professionals working within the industry, including marketers, graphic designers, product designers and technology developers. Do you have additional information or feedback? Contact us.
For more career guidance and advice you can visit the career pages of the Centre for Next Generation Localisation, the American Translators Association, and the Monterey Institute of International Studies’ Translation, Interpretation, Localization and Management Careers.