#AskTheExperts - New and Essential Skills for a Localization Career (1)

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A new instalment of #AskTheExperts, a GALA blog series where we ask translation industry experts inside and outside the GALA community for their insights and advice on managing business processes and digital transformation. Do you have a burning or knotty question? Send it to us and we’ll ask our experts.

Today we ask our experts to answer the following question:

What are the essential skills that are still needed in the translation and localization industry? And what are the new skills that should be included in a translation/localization curriculum?

Here is what the first of our experts had to say.


Anu Carnegie-Brown, Managing Director at Sandberg Translation Partners

"I can think of four departments at an LSP that might hire a translation graduate. They are translation, project management, sales and marketing, and vendor management.

  1. The translation department has roles like In-house and freelance translator, Editor, Translation Checker, Localisation QA Tester and Reviewer. 
    The skills that you learn at uni that are useful for these roles include Introduction to CAT tools, translation theory, practical translation skills and introduction to various domains/text types. What you may not learn is understanding of translation memory matches and sliding scales, terminology management in various CAT tools, understanding machine translation post-editing – particularly when it comes to productivity and discounts, the use of and compilation of style guides, glossary creation, understanding of continuous localization, understanding SEO, use of quality assurance tools, and understanding the clients’ review processes.
  2. The project management department has roles like Project Manager and Coordinator. 
    Many of the best MA courses do mock PM practice – setting up a project with fellow students acting as freelancers, negotiating rates, dealing with unexpected file types, using CAT tools + glossaries + translation memories. The skills that you may not learn include understanding of TM matches and discount matrices, managing translation memory & term bases, understanding edit distance statistics & productivity gains in machine translation, assessing MT quality and negotiating discounts, customer service, supply chain management, handling complaints, prioritizing tasks, plus layout checking that requires some Microsoft Word skills.
  3. In the sales and marketing department you have roles like Marketing manager, Account Manager and Business development manager. In a marketing role, you need to understand the basic digital marketing concepts. You need to understand the services and be good at copywriting and SEO. In a sales role, you need to be able to explain the services we sell, you need to negotiate, present, budget and report, plus you need to navigate customer management systems.
  4. The vendor management department has roles like Vendor manager, Resource coordinator, Supply chain manager and Talent manager. The skills you need here include community engagement; supplier sourcing, vetting and selection; negotiating and managing contracts; processing and analyzing datasets and reporting with the help of that data."


For an overview about a career in localization, visit the GALA Knowledge Center.