IMUG – Skills Desired in Localization Careers


Interesting coincidence – a topic related to localization careers was discussed in a lovely LinkedIn office.

The localization industry jobs descriptions are very diverse, and may not match a “typical” resume.  Often, the person can still get the job with resume that is dramatically different from the job description.  Not all job descriptions are written by hiring managers, what can add to requirement confusion.

Why this job description confusion exist?

  • no certifications
  • no career paths
  • no standard job titles

There are three categories of jobs in the industry: the linguist, the localization manager, and the localization engineer.  I must admit the last type of jobs was surprising to me – I did not realize the depth of specific knowledge required by developers to be effective in the industry.


Industry experience is not a surprising requirement, as in-depth knowledge of complex subjects would be needed for the translation.


Interesting: translation skills barely made it into the top ten requirement for managers, while vendor management and localization best practices were considered more important.


Rather unexpectedly, the process and workflow improvement skills were very important for localization engineers.  Could it be explained by the complexity of the localization process, which inherently includes many diverse considerations, people, and time zones?

tech-skillsThe industry is moving to the direction of requiring understanding of any tool in a category rather than a specific one.  This was also the recommendation to the hiring managers.

The blessing and the curse of the industry is its relatively small size and specific skillsets.  From one side, it makes people with the skillset more valuable and hard to find, from another side, the reputation of the company or the person becomes very important.  One company was loosing candidates because of its reputation.  The company stopped hiring and concentrated on making its current employees happy.

LinkedInAs any other area of business, localization industry is changing based on the new tools and new opportunities these tools bring to the market.  Most likely, the fluctuation will continue in the nearest future. Or, maybe, the pace of change won’t slow down for a long time.

My guess, some certifications will appear, but the career paths will continue to weave around new opportunities and tools.

It will be interesting to watch the industry to evolve!

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