About the localization translator role

localization translator

A localization translators isn’t your typical translator. These tech-savvy language lovers have the task of weaving words that resonate across borders. Their job is to hit the right note and make products and ideas click with audiences worldwide. In this article, we’ll explore the skills that empower them, the tools they use, and – for those of you that are interested in this career path – how to become a localization translator.


What a localization translator is

A localization translator is a professional responsible for adapting content, such as software, websites, video games, or marketing materials, from one language and culture to another. In short, they translate text while ensuring it resonates with the target audience. However, their role is a bit more complex.

Localization translators possess a blend of language skills, cultural awareness, and technical abilities, such as advanced proficiency in both source and target languages and excellent writing skills. They also have an in-depth understanding of both source and target cultures, which involves understanding societal values, humor, and references.

What a localization translator does

A localization translator does more than just change words from one language to another. Here’s a breakdown of their key responsibilities:

  • They translate text, accurately conveying the original meaning but adapting it for the target culture.
  • They consider how the target audience consumes information and adjust the content accordingly. This could involve changing sentence structure, formatting, or even the overall tone of the message.
  • They ensure images, colors, and symbols are relevant and respectful to the target culture.
  • They might adapt technical aspects like date and time formats, measurement units (e.g., miles to kilometers), and currency to conform to local standards.
  • They collaborate with other professionals like graphic designers and software engineers to ensure a cohesive experience for the target market.

What tools localization translators use

Localization translators work with quite a few tools that help streamline their workflow. Some of the core translation tools include Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools, which segment text for translation, manage translation memories and provide suggestions from machine translation engines, and Translation Management Systems (TMS), which handle the project management aspects of localization.

Did you know? According to statistics, more than 80% of translators utilize at least one Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tool for certain translation tasks. Translation professionals believe that using a translation software can boost their productivity by at least 30%.

Other software like Terminology Management tools help maintain consistent terminology across translations while Quality Assurance (QA) tools pinpoint errors and inconsistencies in translated text. In some cases, translators might also need to work with software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to handle layouts and graphics.

While not a replacement for human translation, localization translators might choose to use machine translation (MT) tools like Google Translate or DeepL Translator, which provide a starting point for repetitive phrases or less critical content. Nonetheless, this type of translated content could require extensive post-editing.

How to become a localization translator

There are several paths you can take to become a localization translator. Having a bachelor’s degree in translation studies, linguistics, international relations, or a similar field is a huge plus. While not mandatory, earning a certificate in translation or localization from a reputable institution (such as the Localization School) can also enhance your credentials and demonstrate your commitment to the profession.

As a localization translator, you need to build a strong cultural expertise. Surround yourself with the target culture through travel, media consumption, and interacting with native speakers. The more you understand the cultural nuances, the better equipped you’ll be to translate effectively. Actively learn about cultural norms, values, and social cues in the target market. 

You can gain practical experience in the localization field by look for volunteer or internship opportunities with translation agencies or localization companies. Another way to build your portfolio is through personal projects. This could mean translating content you find interesting, like articles, websites, or even video game scripts. 

How POEditor can assist localization translators

As a TMS platform, POEditor offers multiple useful features that simplify the workflow of localization translators:

  • Collaborative translation. You can work alongside other translators on the same project simultaneously, seeing who’s working on which section and receiving real-time updates.
  • Real-time notifications. POEditor’s Realtime Translation System avoids confusion by notifying translators if someone else is editing the same string.
  • Comment functionality. Translators can leave comments on specific strings to raise questions or request clarifications from other team members.
  • QA Checks. The module highlights potential issues during translation, like missing placeholders, incorrect formatting, or exceeded character limits.
  • Integrated with code repositories. It connects to version control systems like Git, allowing easy transfer of translatable text between POEditor and the developer’s code.

If you need a centralized hub where you can collaborate effectively with other translators, access helpful resources, and focus on delivering high-quality translations while meeting deadlines, POEditor could very well be the ideal tool for your needs.

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