Career Opportunities in the Localization Industry

Written by: Jayaseelan Samuel

National advertisements bearing public figures like Amitabh bacchan, Dhoni and Sharukh Khan are now broadcasted in regional languages. Dailies which were exclusive in English are now available in Regional Languages. Videos which went viral globally are translated and narrated in the languages closer to the listener’s heart. Details of the medications, therapies and drugs are now available in every language. Now you can access the Industry safety manual in your own language. Now the Internet speaks your language and you will be answered in your preferred language.

Have you ever thought of how these things came into existence? Many among us have not yet visualized translation as a Full-fledged industry. In comparison to professions like Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer etc people have not yet thought about translators. Nonetheless, Translations has penetrated many industries and it exists as a vital ingredient in their expansion.

From translation of religious scriptures, to research articles and judgements pronounced on various courts, translation ensured that knowledge was widely spread around. Historical evidence proves the existence of translations at least 1000 years back in many classical languages. Today in continuation of that, to communicate with you, to understand your needs and to communicate with the smart devices in your home in your own language, translation stands out as an invisible enabler bringing access to the masses. We are going to slowly explore the length and breadth of this industry in a brief manner.

Visual Media and Print Media:

   Both visual and print media is a field where many news articles, recent developments, opinions are published every day. And translating them for the non-English speakers is a daily occurrence. Many scientific developments, technologies, political trends, judicial pronouncements have been translated and taken to the population at large.

Advertisement Field:

Businesses are advertising their products and services in more than one language. Every business wants a foothold in markets across countries and states. The use of local language is a vital ingredient in taking their business international. So most of the advertisements are produced in more than one language. Thus translation and trans-creation practices are deeply entrenched in advertisement fields.

Academic Field:

Right from the commencement of the academic instruction children are taught at least two languages. Nowadays, mobile applications are being created to instruct children. From basic alphabets, sociology, history, mathematics, literature, grammar, linguistics, physics, chemistry to modern computer programming almost every department is being translated to multiple languages. Online education has become all pervasive. Interested persons can learn right from tailoring classes to high technological classes. As education is becoming widespread, so does the need for the translational services.

Judicial Department:

In order to understand the nature of the case, testimonies of the witnesses and also read the basic facts in the case, preliminary findings, medical reports, First information reports translation remains the most vital part in the Judicial field. Not all judges come from the same community. They come from diverse environments. In Many cases translation is the important bridge that connects the Judges, Judicial officials, Evidences, Witnesses, Investigating officers and the accused persons. There is always a need for best translation experts in order to translate the legal documents.

Medical Field:

Translations in the medical field can save lives. If the patient has enough information regarding his own condition he will be more cooperative to the medications and treatments. Translations empower patients and their families in understanding the illness and be more vigilant of the situations. Translations can safeguard a whole society from pandemic situations and can save a lot more lives as everyone follows precautionary measures. For example, translations can help to quell drug resistant bacteria. If the patient is vigilant enough to complete the dosages it will eradicate the leftover microbial strains. If not such strains will develop into drug resistant bacteria and such mutant microbial strain will bring in epidemics.

Religious Field:

Humans are constantly in search of mental solace, peace and calmness. Many find that in the religious scriptures and in the preaching of the great leaders. Translation of religious scriptures is one of the oldest forms of translation which has connected various ancient communities in the world. Translations from classical languages like Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese and other European languages we made available in many other languages. This connected various parts of the ancient world. This trend is still dominant in the current society. For example, words like “Pranayama”, “Karma” are widely used in English and have been incorporated into the language’s dictionaries. These were possible due to their translation and wide acceptance of those concepts.

Information Technology Field:

The growth and spread of software and applications is at its fastest pace among various cultural sections of people as it is being translated into various languages. Not only that, “Machine Learning” has been accelerated with Artificial Intelligence for human speech recognition. Many software and applications are being created in this front as well.

Machines are being taught how to respond to the human conversations. If a person is using obscene language in the conversation that would be easily identified and would be ignored by the systems. For this to happen, the lingual richness of the language has to be fed into the systems. When linguistic experts and software architects are working in tandem this can be achieved. Slowly the lingual equality in the internet is being achieved through the widespread use of translations.

Let us look at the various opportunities available in the market for language experts.

·       Translator:

Someone who is linguistically proficient in two languages can transform themselves into a translator. The proficiency of an agency is the sum of proficiency of all its translators. Translators acts as bridges between the societies. He is the window through which cultures look at others. Translator is involved in translating various kinds of translational mediums such as Text, Audio and videos. There is an abundant need for translators these days to produce quality work which sounds natural and native.

·       Reviewers:

Seasoned translators will be deployed as reviewers. They are placed last in the pipeline before the translation reaches the masses. They ensure the consistency, quality and company’s instructions are followed in the translations. They are well versed in grammar, choosing better alternatives for a word. They are filters and censors for the content. They also should be very good at culturally adapting the content to the target language so that it doesn’t look like a translation.

·       Project Managers:

Their primary responsibility is to manage people and projects. They assess the demand of the job and design how the work should be completed. They should choose the right resources, right person to do the right job. They also work on creating and maintaining a pool of translators and reviewers. They should grow and maintain a community of language experts. Also they should have knowledge of the nature of the content so that they can select the appropriate person according to the content. They should maintain the needs of the project and people. They hold important position in the language industry.

·       Designers  and DTP workers:

In the print media and in the visual media designers are an integral part in delivering the content. They design front pages, Books covers, journals, books, videos. Recently, audio books are high on demand. Audio designers also work to deliver these contents in an engaging way. Designers should have more artistic sense and should comprehend content and should design according to the need of the content.

·       Software Architects:

They design software by giving native experience to the users. Cultural adaptation is not only restricted to the text but that is also important for designing a software. The Space needed for content varies for different languages. Architects should understand the cultural nuances and should design the software accordingly. They will design the UX and UI by understanding the differences between various cultures.

Other than this there are Business development managers who bring in a steady stream of business from the market. They should know ins-and-outs of the industry.

Human Resource Experts identify talents in the market and bring them into the company. They are known as bar raisers. They raise the bar for the performance in each and every recruitment they do for the company. Thus they are the gatekeepers for the culture and performance of the company. They also act as a lubricant in the company by taking care of the various needs of the team.

These are some of the professions available for various experts in the localization field.

Various job classification for employment arrangement.

Whether it is freelancers, Independent contractors or full time employees they all do the same task for the company. But the engagement is done in a different manner. Let us see the differences.

·       Freelancers

The share of the Gig economy is increasing in the economy. The demand for translators can be less for one company but they might be huge for a whole industry. Therefore, translators are interested in working as freelancers. Most people are interested to work as freelancers because there are numerous opportunities in the economy. Freelancers have transactional relationships with their employers. Freelancing seems like a win-win situation for both employers and employees. As freelancers are not restrained by the companies they can always earn additionally according to the demand in the industry. At the same time companies save a lot of their financial resources. The company can always go for better translators if they find inefficiencies in a translator. Also companies can find them at competitive prices.

·       Independent Contractors

They are just like freelancers but they work for longer duration with a company than the freelancers. Their contracts can be anywhere from a month to a year or even more. They are used when there is a sudden upsurge in the volume of work. They are engaged for that particular period. They are valuable as they provide a very good support and also at the same time in future they can be recruited as full time employees. They will be important members in the company’s community.

·       Permanent Employees

When a company needs long term participation from employees they use permanent employees. They are a highly engaged workforce. They understand the culture of the company. When the work involves confidentiality, permanent employees undertake that job. They are also used to test the quality of the freelancers and they help in creating and developing the community of freelancers. Permanent employment also provides career growth for an individual. They do not have to stagnate as a translator for the remainder of their career.

There are multiple positions available for language experts. People who are interested in language, people who are creative, people who have a deep knowledge in any subject can become translators. This industry is expanding its wings as many companies are investing a lot.

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