Back to school… again!

The image depicts a stylised portrait of a person wearing academic attire. The individual has a neatly trimmed beard and moustache, and they are wearing a blue graduation cap with a tassel on the right side. They appear to be smiling contentedly, with their eyes closed in a serene expression. The figure's graduation gown is dark blue, and they are wearing a white shirt with a green tie underneath. The image has a clean and modern vector art style, with flat colours and simple shapes for features.After I did my last studies, apart from all the endless mandatory HR type training we have to endure these days, I thought that would be it for any sort of formal training for me.  In fact the main reason for me doing my last formal studies, TCLoc Masters degree at the University of Strasbourg, was to fill the gaps I thought I had given a complete lack of education in the field I’ve been working for the last 17-years.  That degree was very useful and I definitely learned a lot and filled some gaps, but whilst there was an element of technical localization to it I think it only scratched the surface and didn’t really cover the sort of skills that I think are needed, not just for localization engineers, but also for professional translators and project managers, working in technical localization today.

These days I get involved in many interesting things within my work and one of these is working with the RWS Campus team supporting universities and students to help prepare them for a life in our industry.  One of our goals is to try and make sure that students can enter the workplace at an organisation like ours that provides dedicated localization services, and won’t have to be trained in the basics of technical localization skills.  There is always new things to learn as localization is an exciting and dynamic business, but a better more practical grounding would be really useful.  I don’t know about anyone else reading this, but our experience is that graduates fresh out of university often lack the basic skills to get started.

AI Generated: A vibrant digital banner illustrating an online academic conference on localization. It shows diverse attendees on computer screens, topics like 'Localization Tools', and a central figure, symbolizing Andrej Zito, delivering a talk. The setting merges formal education and practical training in the localization industry.

This seems a good place to get to the point of this article.  Each year for the last two years we have run an online academic conference for a couple of days covering careers in localization and more technical subjects around the tools we use.  I wrote about it in an article in April this year when we did the last one and you can get a feel for the sort of topics we cover… and maybe look out for the next one!

In that agenda a new academic partner we started to talk to this year delivered a talk called “Lean education: discover your dream job in localization“.  The talk was delivered by Andrej Zito, who founded Localization Academy, in order to help people find their way into the business by providing them with more practical based training they can put to use right away.  At the time the courses he was working on that would be of most interest to me weren’t quite ready, but I was sold on the idea, particularly since I could relate to his own background  and how he got into the industry.  There is 100% room for formal education, that is without question, there is also room for someone to step up and provide the more practical training that inevitably makes you invaluable when you have the skillsets he aims to deliver.  Since then some of the courses we discussed are available and you can find them through the Localization Academy.

Localization Engineer Course

Andrej offered me the opportunity to check the course out after I reviewed the preview a couple of weeks ago, so I duly went back to school and worked through the Localization Engineer Course every evening over the last week to check it out.  I’ll tell you first that this is a course that in my opinion every technical translator should do as it will absolutely help them to get more out of the CAT tools they’re using.  The questions I like to answer the most in our community are the ones that require a little more technical knowledge and this course would put me out of a job!

The course is delivered by Carlos García Gómez who, stealing a little of the bio from the course intro page, has 7+ years of experience working in the technology department of different language service providers such as Donnelley Language Solutions, SDL plc, and Vistatec.  Clearly the experience he has gained in this time makes him well suited to prepare and deliver a course like this… very impressive work.  Carlos also has his own blog here for those of you interested in “Artificial Intelligence & Natural Language Processing”.

A digital image showing a 14-day calendar, symbolizing the duration of an online localization course. Each day features icons for learning modules like language tools and technical skills. A clock in the corner highlights flexible study times, emphasizing evenings and weekends. The image conveys an organized, intensive learning experience.The course itself is a little more down to earth and really crams a lot of learning into a suggested 14-day period, so when you take the course yourself make sure you set aside enough time to really get the value from it.  It is online and self-paced so you can take your time and easily set aside a couple of hours each evening, or even just work through it at the weekends.

To give you a little idea of the content…

  • introduction to what localization engineering is all about
  • basics of file parsing, regular expressions and working with files
  • creating file parsers for Text files, XML, XLIFF, JSON etc.
    • Trados Studio was used when I did this but there are definitely plans to consider other tools as well
  • understanding file encodings, byte order marks, and using pseudo translation
  • localization of HTML and websites
  • software localization
    • Passolo was used here in addition to Trados Studio
  • a look at App localisation for IOS and Android
  • DTP work (Adobe products) and AudioVisual localization
  • localization of e-learning tools (RISE and Storyline)
  • a good overview of how to handle bugs in filetypes, what to look for and how to fix them
  • a great introduction to working with the Okapi framework and XBench
  • finishing off with a couple of days on automation where you’ll learn a little about the creation of efficient workflows using automation scripts and an introduction to programming
  • … and of course there is some introduction to working with AI as a tool to help you with your work in this space!

I really summarised this, but I can tell you the content is extremely wide-ranging and well thought out.  I think each of the days could probably be a weeks course on their own, yet I found there to be enough value to pique some interest in everything and encourage anyone doing the course, armed with these basics, to know how to improve their knowledge on their own with the huge amount of information available on the internet these days.

I would note that whilst a good portion of the course wasn’t completely new to me, I definitely learned a lot, and even in areas where I didn’t think I’d learn anything, I really did.  I’ve come away very motivated to look at things I had planned to write about when I got time, but now take a different approach in the way I position the material.  In fact my day job is getting in the way of my enthusiasm to get going!

If you hadn’t noticed by now I’m a big fan of what Andrej Zito has started here, and I think that despite the title of the one I did, “Localization Engineer Course“, I would recommend any translator working with CAT tools, and particularly technical translators, to take up the opportunity to improve their skills.  The RWS Community forums are full of posts from translators who would really benefit from the information provided on this course and would help them to feel a lot more comfortable having to deal with the sort of real life problems that are never covered in the traditional training material available.

I’d also encourage any student studying translation today and hoping for a career in this industry to look at this too.  You’ll be better prepared yourself, and your future employer will thank you for it!

There are free previews for all the courses available so why not take a look.  The list of courses is growing and if there is something missing you can suggest one too!

2 thoughts on “Back to school… again!

  1. Hi Paul! I’m very glad that you enjoyed the course! Thanks for writing this article and for recommending the course. What an honour, especially coming from you. 🙂

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