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How To Kickstart Your Localization Career

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Are you ready to kickstart your localization career? 🌟 Get tips from 6 hiring managers – Beat, Camila, Ilan, Olga, Senem, and Vera – and boost your chances of landing your first job in the industry!

In this informative video, we delve into the insights and practical tips shared by our panel of hiring managers from both buyer and vendor sides of the localization world.


Beat Stauber 

Yeah, I think there are a few ways you can step into the industry, I one thing I have observed, which is actually how I got into the industry is with the language skills. So if you speak one or two languages, that can be very helpful, because one possible entry point is linguistic QA, which really doesn’t require a lot of skills other than having, you know, a good grasp of the language. But I think the technical aspects of it are pretty easy to learn. So if you have some, you know, some good decent comfort level with basic computer use, and you’re good at understanding instructions, I think that’s one way to step into it. And that’s basically how I got into the industry, they were looking for a German tester, really, the only skill was required, like basic PC skills, and there was not even any QA knowledge required. So that was, that’s one way

Camila Pedraza 

I would say that one of the things that really helped me is doing volunteer work, because in the translation industry, there’s a lot of big names that play a big role in your in your resume, but you don’t necessarily have to have a huge amount of experience. So I see this with lots of grassroots, you know, Amnesty International type of thing, Doctors Without Borders, they need a lot of Yeah, freelance, but volunteer translators and interpreters sometimes. And it’s a really great way to get some experience under your belt and get really interesting names, and probably, you know, letters of recommendation and contacts. So I would recommend a lot of volunteer work if you can, if you can afford it,

Vera Richards 

you should at least have some ingredients to the recipe. So passion for the language, maybe know few languages, passion for different cultures, having zero experience is not a definite no going into it. But if you if you feel passionate about the languages and language industry, itself, and if you find it intriguing, then take a look at what minimum positions perhaps you can look at to get your start in the industry. So for example, if you know another language if you’re a native speaker of a language. So English, for example, we’re speaking people living in North America is your second language, but you have good command of both, obviously, our native language as well as your English, then you can look for roles like language tester, lots of companies put out those types of roles in and that’s a good first step to start understanding what is important to focus on if you want to be embedded within our industry.

Ilan Bloch 

There are many, many different career paths and organizations. So from the central linguistic role to the everybody would think about two more technical, managerial, creative or support functions even so you have translators, editors, terminologies, linguistic QA, for instance. But you also have more technical profiles for machine translation applications, or QA specialists of all kinds recruiters, what we call the vendor managers in our lingo and stuff appointing kings one project manager to rule level. So needless to say, depending on what you’re aiming at, there are a variety of strategies that you may try. But basically, I would say that without any prior experience, and you would be competing against more experienced candidates, maybe it’s not necessarily a lost battle. And what you need to do is demonstrate your motivation. So I want to say that it’s extremely hard to, to start without experience, in general, and even more. So there are the requirements of the ISO standard that rules the industry and 17 100. By the way, did I mention we got certified like, my two second of self promotion, but that’s because the the standard requires linguists to have various number of years have experienced on top of formal education depending on what education they have. But truly, it’s not even what the standard recommends, because it’s not exactly the letter of the standard. But I’ve witnessed it so many, so many times so many cases where agencies would simply reject perfectly fine profiles because they didn’t have that one year of experience or two years in addition to a degree in translation. So I think it’s going to maybe be even harder to start as a linguist without some experience and that snake is biting its own tail because you will never acquire that experience if you call an error never start. That’s a tough nut.

Olga Gulla-Kowalik 

I think in the localization industry, we are quite fortunate if compared to other industries in a way that it seems to be relatively easy to get engaged in. For example, a freelance As activity or some kind of volunteering, even before you graduate. So for example, during your last year of studies, I think I would say that’s the easiest way to enter the industry. And to check if it’s really for you.

Senem Konuklu 

First of all, I would target entry level positions. And since the entry level positions which require a lot of training and learning, I will try to show that I’m willing to learn on my own and Denner you know, different ways to achieve it. So I would listen to industry leaders, podcasts, learn hot topics in the industry, and learn the big players in the industry and try to be part of the organizations and groups and I would try to take active part through volunteering, and I think this will ultimately or naturally grow my professional network. And well, everyone would agree that that’s the key to success by looking for a job like girl a professional network,

Beat Stauber 

another way would be what I see. And you know, where I currently work we have in project management, we have a few different levels, and the first level most hands on as a project coordinator. And so they don’t have to really have formal project management experience, it’s really a lot of file handling, translation, job handling. And you know, it’s not particularly technical, because you usually work with an engineer, so kind of a project coordinator type role would be one that I don’t think that requires a high level of experience. So if you have good communication skills, organizational skills, maybe some language, language is always good to have an additional language skill, I think it just helps to have a more of an understanding of what we’re doing and localization, some of the challenges, and then just communication, right,

Camila Pedraza 

I also feel that there’s a lot of platforms right now, maybe like Upwork, and Fiverr, where you can start getting your hand into like the work but not necessarily earning a lot of money to begin with. And people are not expecting a seasoned professional, for the most part in these types of platforms, not all the time, they may be one to run a test or you know, like see what something would sound like in a different language, right. And so they might ask for a simple voiceover with the translation to go along with the script. So there’s, there’s ways to get your hands in. But it’s hard to start with the bigger clients. To be honest,

Vera Richards 

there’s also jobs, for example, like interpretation where you can get some certifications for your native language. And then it’s usually not a lengthy process, and you can get into that field as well for translation is a little more complicated, because there’s tooling, there’s more more to learn, and it takes a little longer to break into translation.

Ilan Bloch 

But for other career paths, at least from an official ISO standard point of view, there are no particular experience requirements, so to the best of my knowledge, so it’s all up to the company. So I believe, if you want to demonstrate your your motivation, that’s what you want to do. And you have no experience but but you have skills that the company can benefit from can be an eye for detail for QA jobs, great organization, organizational skills for project management, or psychology, if you want for vendor management, to manage people, recruiters wanted to make a good investment, right, they’re looking for a candidate that will be as plug and play as possible. But if you can show me that you want that job so bad, and your skills can compensate for that lack of experience, you will not necessarily be in an uncomfortable position to get started with especially and that could be also a part of a winning strategy. If you go for Super entry level positions, like an internship, for instance, and then you would grow within the company. There you have it, you, you know, it’s the foot in the door, you made your first experience and, and you’re started so I can tell you for a fact, for instance, that we have grown generations of interns into superstar linguists or project managers in long even after they decided to go freelance because translators many times go freelance, we still work with them very happily ever after.

Olga Gulla-Kowalik 

I fought off my own story here. So maybe I can start that as an example to show you how I started my career in the localization industry. So that was, like I said, when I was at the University when I was a student myself, and I think at some point, I felt the need to find some practical application for the translation theory. I was getting taught at the university. So I did some research. And I think one day I came across a job advert for a freelance quality assurance role. And yeah, I applied not even being exactly sure what quality assurance stood for and what that particular role would actually involved. But yeah, some time passed, and I got contacted by the agency. I think I was asked to perform a sample task for them and then some more time passed and It turned out I was successful. So I got on boarded, I got trained in what was needed to perform his quality assurance duties. Of course, they explained me what that was and how it’s supposed to look like. And yeah, that was the start of my freelance journey. And then I think after a year, or to when I graduated, I finally could start working full time for them. So I switched to full time freelancing. And then that meant that they could also entrust me with more and more complex tasks. And I think eventually, I got hired internally. And I think funnily enough, I later hired several team members to my own team who started in exactly the same way. So as a freelancer, or volunteer during the your final years of studies. Yes, I think this seems to be quite an efficient and successful way of getting your foot in the door, though, I think, of course, you can also, you know, go ahead and apply for localization jobs that companies advertise here and there, and I’m sure it can be a successful process as well, though, I think, to me, it’s just so much easier to do that when you already have some kind of experience or some understanding of how the localization actually

Beat Stauber 

works. On the engineering side, it might be a little trickier for me personally, I actually started as QA and then turned into more engineer, but I guess there will be another area you could go through is maybe if you work in some kind of IT role that could be an entry level role to start and become more technical. Be maybe another entry point for maybe more of an engineering role, don’t have to be a software developer be able to write code to become a localization Engineer.

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