About the localization editor role

localization editor

Not your typical translator, a localization editor goes through all translated content to ensure it resonates, feels natural, and avoids any cultural faux pas. And that’s just scratching the surface. If you want to learn more about this role, keep on reading. Whether you’re curious about the localization process or considering a career in this dynamic field, this article will shed some light on the fascinating world of localization editors.


What a localization editor is

A localization editor is a specialist who ensures translated content reads smoothly and accurately reflects the target audience’s culture. They are an integral part of the localization team and act as the final checkpoint before localized content is released.

An editor’s primary objective is to make sure that the localized content effectively communicates the intended message while considering cultural nuances, linguistic conventions, and regional preferences.

If you’re looking for a less formal description of this role, Derek Heemsbergen, localization editor at The Pokémon Company International, discusses his job as “the middle man,” as he likes to call it, in this insightful YouTube interview.

What a localization editor does

Localization editors have multiple responsibilities. Before localization begins, the localization editor evaluates the source content; they identify cultural references, idiomatic expressions, and any elements that may pose challenges during translation. They also gather and organize all necessary resources for localization, including source files, glossaries, style guides, and reference materials.

In software or website localization, the editor may use specialized tools to extract text strings for translation. They ensure that the extracted strings are properly formatted, tagged, and organized for translation. Throughout the localization process, they manage these strings and keep track of changes and updates.

When it comes to the actual translation process, the localization editor is tasked with overseeing it, assigning tasks to translators or translation teams. They provide guidance on linguistic nuances, context, and cultural considerations to ensure accurate and culturally appropriate translations.

Localization editors may also perform translations themselves for particularly challenging or critical content. They work closely with translators to adapt content, such as idioms, symbols, colors, images, and UI elements, to align with local cultural norms and preferences. And after the localized content is delivered, they will conduct post-localization surveys to gather feedback from users and stakeholders.

Other tasks may include performing quality assurance checks to ensure the accuracy, consistency, and overall quality of the localized content. These professionals will also have to learn to use various localization tools and software, such as Computer-Assisted Translation tools, translation management systems, and version control systems.

What tools localization editors use

Localization editors use a variety of tools in their work. Some of the commonly used tools include:

  • Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. They provide features such as translation memory (TM), terminology management, and glossary support.
  • Translation management systems (TMS). These platforms help manage the entire localization process, from project setup to translation, review, and delivery. They often include features for project management, file management, collaboration, and workflow automation.
  • Localization platforms. They offer end-to-end solutions for managing localization projects, including content management, translation, and testing. You can integrate them with TMS, CAT tools, and version control systems.
  • Version control systems. They are essential for managing source code and content files in software localization projects. Multiple contributors can collaborate on the same files, track changes, and revert to previous versions if needed.
  • Style guides and glossaries. Style guides and glossaries are essential reference materials that provide guidelines for language use, writing style, branding, and terminology consistency. These documents help ensure that translations adhere to established guidelines and maintain a consistent tone and voice.
  • Localization testing tools and bug tracking tools. The first help identify linguistic and functional issues in localized content while the latter help manage localization-related issues and defects identified during testing.

How to become a localization editor

If you’re looking to become a localization editor yourself, you should know that many localization editors have a bachelor’s degree in fields such as translation studies, linguistics, communication, or a related field. However, you should strive to be fluent in at least two (source and target) languages.

Courses in translation theory, cultural studies, and technical writing can be beneficial. And so are editing or proofreading courses. You need to have a keen eye for detail, as you’ll be tasked with identifying grammatical errors, typos, and awkward phrasing.

Familiarize yourself with the localization process, including translation memory, terminology management, and cultural adaptation. You’ll have to learn how to use the common localization software (check the list above), but luckily there are numerous courses and tutorials you can watch.

Consider specializing in a specific industry or niche within localization, such as software localization, website localization, multimedia localization, or game localization. Acquiring specialized knowledge and skills can make you more competitive in the job market.

How POEditor can assist localization editors

We’ve already established that a translation management system is a key part of a localization editor’s toolkit. POEditor can help editors manage all projects from a central hub, allowing them to easily switch between languages and prioritize tasks. Localization editors can collaborate in real-time, this way avoiding conflicts and wasted time.

POEditor integrates a translation memory, which stores previously translated segments. This allows editors to reuse accurate translations, reducing workload and improving consistency across projects. They can also create and manage glossaries within the platform, ensuring consistent use of terminology throughout the project. 

The platform also offers quality assurance tools to ensure the quality and accuracy of localized content. editors can perform QA checks for consistency, spelling errors, and formatting issues to maintain a high standard of quality. Review translations with context and comments to ensure linguistic accuracy and cultural relevance.

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