Translators in Localization – Finding the Right Fit

Translation is Everywhere

Translation may be one of the oldest professions, yet lately, it has been doubting and re-examining its own longevity and resilience. Many within it, often plagued by difficulties finding sustainable, fairly compensated work, are not very sure of its future beyond a lifetime passion or a noble hobby. As new technologies bring in grand opportunities and change the landscape of the language industry, it can bring the dizzying uncertainty of how one can sustain themselves as a translator.

As Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World accurately points out, translation permeates virtually everything we encounter and is often taken for granted. Translation plays a crucial role for large players – from Google to Microsoft to Facebook to NASA and the Olympics – as well as our homes and products we use – product user manuals, software and application interfaces, books, labels on shampoos, medications, and so forth.

Language is Big Business

  • Worldwide language services market annual growth rate is 5.52%.1
  • Localization and translation is the 4th fastest-growing industry in the United States; the language industry is listed as one of the top industries for starting a business.
  • Diverse and technology-driven, the industry carries an increasing impact on both global and regional economies.

Consider these facts:

Translation industry experiences sustained growth with no signs of slowing down, as shown by these overall global language industry size estimations:

  • In 2016, was estimated at $40 Billion (USD)
  • By 2020, it is estimated to reach $45 Billion 2
  • 6.5 – 7.5% – projected annual growth rate through 2018 3
  • €29 Billion – the estimated size of the language technology industry

For those looking to continue on a strict translation course, notes the following as the translation paths of the future:

Such promising future for the translation industry should help translators rest easy. Of course, not so fast. Translators do need to keep up with the latest developments in the various market segments of interest. Particularly, anyone wanting to stay abreast with how technology affects translation should pay attention to the localization track, which carries numerous options for those already expert or interested in translation.

Localization Paths – Translation Work Venues














Translators have an important role to play in the localization process, and not just as linguists. Their cultural, demographic, and geographic expertise pertaining to their language(s) can be of high value. While highly trained in their field, they are very versatile. Translators are also expert at research, document formatting, OCR technology, terminology creation, layout, not to mention the high level of adaptability and being able to learn completely new industries on the fly to understand new subject matter. Often without realizing it, they already have the necessary skills for a variety of roles within the localization and communications industry that may not be on the straight translation path. Because many have worked on their own and had to figure out effective self-promotion, they are no strangers to sales tactics, business development, and strategizing.

Below are some of the venues (some of which may require additional training) for translation professionals within the localization industry:

  • Consulting & Strategy (offer cultural expertise for a particular geographical area or market)
  • Language Expertise (native or near-native expert translation, regional dialect, local cultural nuances)
  • Localization Engineer (multimedia content, advanced technology)
  • Editor / Language QA (edit existing translations, provide comments and feedback on language nuances, content tone and register, etc.)
  • Quality Control & Testing (accuracy validation, product functionality testing, post-production QA)
  • SEO / Social Media Localization (ensuring the right SM venues are addressed)
  • Project Management & Customer Service (translation PM/coordination, QA coordination, LSP vendor management, etc.)
  • Sales (use translation expertise to sell localization services to prospective clients)

Because translators know how to “Think Global, Act Local,” Localization is a great extension of our translation know-how and expertise.