AI Adaptation In Localization: Key Skills For Localization Professionals In The Age Of AI

by | Feb 8, 2024 | Careers

AI adaptation in localization is reshaping and transforming the landscape of the localization industry in ways known and unknown: automating translation processes, improving linguistic accuracy, streamlining workflows, and predicting market trends. This evolution extends beyond mere efficiency; it’s about expanding the possibilities of localization. AI serves as a tool, a collaborator, and a predictor of future trends, from real-time translation to advanced content management systems. This rapid integration of AI in localization means that businesses must redefine the roles and skill sets required for localization professionals to thrive in this new era.

As we move through this period of change, localization employees in a variety of roles need to develop a new range of skills that add AI savviness and combine technological know-how with a strong understanding of human insight and creativity. For those willing to embark on this journey, the rewards are significant: you will earn more, be more effective at what you do, find jobs more quickly, and make a bigger impact on the organization you work for.


Evolving roles in the localization industry


As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to redefine the operational framework of the localization industry, professionals within this field are witnessing a critical moment of transition. The conventional roles of translators, interpreters, localization managers, and technologists are undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the need to integrate AI capabilities.

The current landscape demands that professionals understand and integrate AI-based practices in their work. For example, a PM might need to oversee AI-driven translation projects with a critical eye on maintaining human quality standards understanding that cultural insights and linguistic nuance remain beyond the reach of AI.

This shift highlights a broad range of new and essential skills required by professionals who aim to successfully navigate through this evolving industry.


Essential skills for modern localization professionals


So what are those key skills that localization professionals must gain to respond to the rapid adoption of AI processes and approaches?


Understanding AI in the context of localization tools


A solid understanding of AI technologies, particularly their applications in natural language processing (NLP) and machine translation, is crucial. Localization professionals need to be familiar with how AI tools can be used to streamline workflows and enhance the quality of outputs.


  • A translator must deeply understand how AI translation works, and how they might need to adapt their work to post-edit it rather than do the translation in the first place
  • An interpreter would need to know how AI tools are being used in their profession, and the advantages/disadvantages and caveats to be aware of
  • A project manager will need to understand how AI is being used in the localization project – for example, is AI being applied to route jobs? Or to assess quality?
  • A linguistic quality manager must understand how AI tools can be used to speed up quality estimations and what customization is possible
  • In roles that are dependent on technology, such as MT implementation experts, TMS or CAT tool workflow specialists, and/or quality automation experts an advanced knowledge of AI applications is crucial


Adapting to change and staying up-to-date


This new AI-driven localization industry is marked by constant change. Professionals must be open to experimenting and trying new things. By being proactive in learning and personal development and by adopting a willingness to accept change and do things differently, they will more effectively contribute to evolving project requirements.

The field of AI is rapidly evolving, necessitating a commitment to continuous learning. Localization professionals should stay up-to-date with the latest developments in AI and localization practices through formal education, self-directed learning, and industry resources.


Understanding the gaps


Understanding what AI cannot do and seeking a balance between human and machine efforts is critical. For example, understanding culture, specifically applicable to linguistic professionals (translators, post-editors, and interpreters), is the essence of the ability to bridge language barriers and cultural divides. Despite AI’s advancements, it cannot fully understand cultural nuances and human emotions. Therefore, a deep understanding of cultural contexts is vital to ensure that localized content truly resonates with its intended audience.


AI Adaptation In Localization - Key Skills For Localization Professionals In The Age Of AI - International Achievers Group (2)


Pathways to upskilling


Becoming proficient in AI requires a commitment to ongoing skill development. Here are some steps to begin this journey:


  • Industry conferences: Attending events like LocWorld and GALA conferences provides insights into AI trends and networking opportunities. These gatherings are not just about absorbing knowledge; they’re about engaging with it, asking questions, and even challenging ideas to foster a deeper understanding of how AI can be applied innovatively in localization.


  • Mentorship and networking: Connecting with experienced professionals or following industry thought leaders such as Stefan Hugyhe and Bruno Herrmann on platforms like LinkedIn can offer guidance and support. Strategic connections go beyond mere advice; they have the potential to lead to collaborative projects, exclusive insider knowledge, and even job opportunities that might not be publicly listed.


  • Educational courses: Online courses and certification programs on AI, NLP, and localization techniques are valuable for building technical knowledge. These courses often provide access to a community of learners and professionals, forums for discussion, and sometimes even direct interaction with experts in the field, enriching the learning experience further.


  • Communities and forums: It is not just courses providing access to communities. The localization industry is rich with forums, online communities, and social media groups dedicated to sharing insights and solving common challenges. Engaging with these communities provides a wealth of knowledge and perspectives, fostering a collaborative learning environment.


  • Newsletters and blogs: Subscribing to industry newsletters and following relevant blogs keeps professionals updated on the latest AI developments. This habit not only keeps you informed about the latest trends and technologies but also stimulates critical thinking by exposing you to various viewpoints and case studies, showing how theoretical knowledge is applied in real-world scenarios.


  • Hands-on experience: Reading about AI is great, but to grasp the power of AI, it is vital to work with and experiment with a variety of tools while in current roles to gain practical experience and a deeper understanding of AI’s applications in localization.


AI Adaptation In Localization - Key Skills For Localization Professionals In The Age Of AI - International Achievers Group (3)


AI adaptation in localization: Embracing the future


The journey toward adapting to AI in localization presents both challenges and opportunities for professionals in the industry. It demands a mix of technical knowledge, soft skills, and a proactive approach to professional development.

At International Achievers Group, we recognize the importance of candidates staying at the forefront of the rapidly evolving localization industry. Our commitment to innovation ensures that our candidates are not just adapting to changes but leading them.

By staying current with AI, professionals are not just positioning themselves to excel in an industry increasingly influenced by AI; they’re ensuring they lead the charge in shaping its future. It’s up to you to upskill, and it’s up to us to help get you placed in a role where your skills will shine.

To find your next job in localization, we encourage you to keep checking out our blog and resources and to enlist in our Localization Recruitment Services today.