People focus on linguists, managers, marketers, and designers when talking about localization teams. However, one key player whose role is frequently overlooked is the localization engineer. In this article, our team highlights the importance of this role, its function, and contributions to the localization process to give you a better understanding of the people who entirely handle the technical part of localization.

Who is a localization engineer?

A localization engineer is a technical specialist responsible for smoothly implementing your software's translations and delivering quality localized results to the end users. S(he) is like a single link that unites managers, translators, and developers to ensure a highly productive process. The main tasks of a localization engineer can vary based on the specific company, but the most common are:

Preparation of files and Internationalization support.

S(he) is responsible for close communication with the development team and controlling all content requiring translation to be correctly prepared for localization. This person ensures all strings are parsed, placeholders, tags, and other formatting or structural elements exist.

The localization engineer also reviews all elements, such as data and time formatting and character encoding, for different languages and provides the development team with the best practices.

Improving the existing localization process.

The engineer knows everything about localization and is ready to implement new approaches. That means that s(he) researches new tools, thoroughly explores the current instruments to know everything about their capabilities, and can develop simple scripts (for example, for extraction translatable content from source code, placeholder replacements, file format conversions, etc.)

Preparing and maintaining the technical instructions.

A localization engineer's role implies knowing everything about localization processes and tools used in the concrete organization, which means this person is the best source of knowledge. Thus, s(he) can accurately prepare documentation like:

  • Localization wiki,
  • Best practices for using localization tools,
  • Localization standards for different regions,
  • etc.

Control of quality assurance.

Familiarity with localization testing tools and frameworks is necessary, as the localization engineer also works with the QA team. In some companies, this role is entirely responsible for performing quality assurance before deliveries. So, as evident from the points above, the localization engineer accompanies localization, starting from translation management systems setting up and file preparation to QA of the final result. Let's overview which skills s(he) should have to cover all these tasks with high quality.

localization engineer tasks

The primary skills of a software localization engineer

Hard skills

  • Know at least one programming language (e.g., JavaScript, PHP, Python.)
  • Understand the software architecture, coding standards, version control systems like Git (to collaborate with developers,) and localization file formats (e.g., JSON).
  • Proficiency with the localization tools available on the market, including CAT tools (translation memory, machine translation) and their realistic capabilities.
  • Strong self-management skills. Localization engineer is a role that implies a variety of tasks and communication with different people. Often, this person can be a bottleneck in some processes. So, correct prioritizing and time management are essential to meeting deadlines and building a well-structured localization process in the company.
  • Project-management skills, including understanding frameworks and methodologies like Agile, SMART, SWOT, Lean, etc.

Soft skills

As any person responsible for the entire process, the localization engineers should have the following skills:

  • Proactivity - finding and resolving the localization challenges and improving the created processes to raise the effectiveness.
  • Perfect communication skills — coordinating and contacting various teams requires cultural sensitivity, empathic communication, the ability to resolve conflicts, and assertiveness.
  • Attention to detail - localization engineer tasks imply checking for linguistic errors, formatting inconsistencies, and other possible issues.

What are the localization engineers' salaries, and how to hire the best?

The first step when hiring a localization engineer is understanding their salary in the needed market. For example, the average in the US for this role is $92,142 and depends on the state, while in the UK, this figure is £34,421 ($42,994) and $38,250 in France. When choosing the best candidate for your business, consider not only the wages but also the time zone, language barriers, etc., as this person will closely communicate with different teammates.

The next step is creating a detailed job description, which will help you to find the best-fit person and weed out unsuitable candidates from the start to save time for both sides:

  1. Describe the tech stack your project uses and which exact language knowledge the candidate should have;
  2. Describe this role as clearly as possible (avoid vague and general phrases.) Identify specific tasks for the candidate.
  3. Include the information about development processes and methodologies your team uses.

The final part is interviewing - the correct questions will help you to make the best choice. Besides the main questions, we suggest finding out the following:

  • Ask about translation management systems the candidate worked with and about other localization solutions, and let the candidate explain why they were chosen.
  • Provide the candidate with the case of the last localization challenge your team met and propose to solve it. Clarify the experience in your or related industries to understand if the applicant understands nuances and specifics.

How can Lingohub help localization engineers with their tasks?

Although localization engineers may appear superhuman in the localization industry, they still require tools to assist them in challenging work. Designed by developers, Lingohub takes into account all possible technical cases that may arise and provides the following solutions:

  • Repository integrations and branching support for simple data exchange;
  • 40+ language files & frameworks support;
  • In-built quality checks tools that control the existing HTML tags, placeholders, and duplications in the translated text.
  • XLIFF format, which supports the easy sharing of the translation files without structure affecting;
  • Rest API for building the custom integrations and improving the localization process;
  • Backups to ensure that data is stored safely and not lost;
  • And many more, which we will gladly demonstrate at our demo call.

If you want to try all the Lingohub abilities on your own, sign up for a 14-day free trial and evaluate our platform's benefits. And remember that our team is always here to assist you. Stay awesome!

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