Localization engineers create a bridge between translation and technology, helping your business grow as you localize.
To understand the localization process, it helps to get a sense of the people who make it happen.
We’ve previously posted about localization QA testers; now we’re going to talk about the localization engineers.
What is a localization engineer?
The role varies depending on the company.
Generally speaking, localization engineers handle the planning and execution of a workflow for exporting, translating, and re-integrating content and meta-data for e-commerce and basic websites, e-learning modules, or apps.
Localization engineers allow translators to focus on what they specialize in – the art of language – instead of trying to figure out how to deal with new software each time a new project starts.
Common Tasks for Localization Engineers
A localization engineer will gather all the files that need to be translated and prepare them for translation.
For a software localization project, for example, this may involve:
- Gathering all resource files that contain translatable text (e.g. resx, .po, .strings)
- Identifying internal and external assets that require translation (e.g. images, help files)
- If necessary, performing internationalization and pseudolocalization testing to make sure the software is ready for localization (Not sure about the difference? Read about internationalization vs localization)
For a PDF document, this may involve:
- Gathering the source files (InDesign, Photoshop, etc.)
- Reviewing the source content to ensure it has been styled and formatted properly
- Identifying images and other items that contain text for translation and extracting the text
Depending on the nature of the product that is being localized, the preparation could be very simple or very complicated.
For example, if software has not been internationalized, it will require the input of a more experienced localization engineer who can help the development team identify and fix any problems.
Finally the engineer will upload the files to the translation management system or pass them to the project manager for distribution to translators.
Engineers help translators if they have questions or need help troubleshooting their computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools.
For example, if a translator has problems identifying tags or encounter translation memory leverage problems, it would typically be the localization engineer’s job to support the queries.
Build, Compile, and Test
When the files come back from translation, the engineer will first verify them. They will then start the process of putting them back into the build environment.
This may involve:
- creating images in the target languages
- performing desktop publishing tasks
- checking for missing markup
- resizing dialogs
- testing layout issues
- other technical details depending on the nature of the project.
Of course, these tasks vary a lot between software, web, media and document localization.
What are the essential skills for localization engineering?
As localization has become more mainstream and digital publishing has started taking many different forms, localization engineers have started specializing to adjust.
The skills necessary for a video subtitling project are quite different than for a software localization project.
But in general, a good localization engineer should:
Be able to read code and be familiar with different programming languages. In most cases you won’t code anything from scratch, but you should feel comfortable handling them
Have knowledge of localization and computer assisted translation tools
Know about a variety of publishing and editing software (InDesign, FinalCut, Photoshop, Office Suite etc.)
Understand content management systems and web technologies
Pay extreme attention to detail
Have an ability to figure things out (this is perhaps the most important skill)
Be fluent in more than one language (recommended but not absolutely required)
As far as personality, great localization engineers love to experiment, troubleshoot and just generally solve problems, love to explore new technology, and have great communication skills – because localization is a team effort!
As the world gets more connected and technology gets more complex, localization engineers will need to keep up by constantly learning new things, and generally being very flexible.
Just like every text to be translated is different, every product has its technical quirks as well, and it’s important that an engineer is prepared to deal with them.
Work With the Best Localization Engineers
Why do 92% of multinational companies invest in localization?
- Resonate with your audience and create brand loyalty by giving your product a truly locally made feel
- Become a true multi-national brand by bringing your products and services to a global audience
- Customize your product offering to each market’s unique linguistic, technical, and cultural needs
Our customers see cost reduction, more efficient operation and experience outstanding customer service.
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