Life as a Localization Engineer

July 19, 2016Monika Dębska

What does a normal day in your shoes look like?

Monika: My workday usually starts with saying hi to rest of the team and sorting through e-mails. Then I can actually get to work: sometimes I continue working on a bigger assignment I need to finish, sometimes I need to get back to assignment I already delivered when something (like additional instructions) comes up. Starting the day with a “clean slate” or finishing up all leftover work means I can check TMS and my inbox for any new assignments to take care of.
As for types of work we do: mostly it’s either preparing files for translation, updating translation memories or converting files back after translation is done. Sometimes there’s the occasional export or upload to a client’s system. Every now and then we get more complex/time-consuming tasks to do or some unforeseen issues come up (corrupted file, or file type that needs a bit more work as examples).

What makes Localization Engineering such a great job?

Monika: Seeing many languages “in action” is definitely one of the most interesting things in my opinion. You can have a project to convert back for 20+ languages, including some that you don’t exactly see/hear about every day. 
You can also have the opportunity to see various file types/tools/client systems and work with them, if you’re lucky enough. But that can be a challenge in itself if you need to figure out how to handle that specific thing you’re working with – but satisfaction from getting it right is quite rewarding. :)

What are the daily challenges you experience as a Localization Engineer?

Monika: First of all, workload varies: we work on assignments sent to us, so sometimes they’re few and far in-between, sometimes we get swamped with a dozen urgent requests at once and you have to figure out what to do first. It varies not only day to day, but also depends on the time of the day: a slow and peaceful morning can lead to getting swamped with work in the afternoon. Luckily, we often get a heads –up if there’s something big planned for us: but you can’t foresee everything: like corrupted files that takes hours to fix. 
Then there are client/tool specific workflows and quirks you have to keep in mind to avoid problems later on. Or a non-standard assignment/issue to fix which you have to spend some time tinkering with to figure out how to handle it best. But as I mentioned before – satisfaction from finally getting it right or learning something new is rewarding. :)

What are the key competencies Localization engineers should have?

Monika: Technical and computer knowledge, definitely. You don’t exactly have to be a software engineer, but knowledge of various file types will come in handy, as will decent knowledge of popular software/general experience of working with a computer beyond simple Internet browsing and video games. Also the ability to explain technical issues to non-technical people can be useful too. :)
Knowing a foreign language or two can help as well, as sometimes understanding text you’re working with makes fixing issues much easier. Other times just being able to distinguish between languages will be enough: just to tell if the file you got after translation/conversion at least looks like the language it is supposed to be in.

Could you describe the most complex project you have managed so far?

Monika: The most complex projects I work on regularly include client’s external systems where we receive files for translation and upload them back, which often requires specific workflow/handling of the files - and can be both complex and time consuming.
Sometimes we also get requests to scope/prepare content on s client’s website, which depending on the system used, can also can be tricky and challenging.

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