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Localization Industry Expert Q&A: Interview with Winnie Heh on The Eco-System of Language Profession

In this episode of the podcast Localization Industry Expert Q&A, Winnie Heh discusses her Eco-System of Language Profession. See http://al10npm.com/heh_ecosystem.

In the interview, Heh elaborates on the many positions in localization available beyond translation and project management. She differentiates among the production, supervision, support, and sales and marketing roles available at the entry level from those roles available at higher levels of management. She discusses the similarities and differences between vendor-side and client-side work. She expands upon the core competencies and skills that employers seek.

Her discussion is based on decades of experience growing brand new lines of business in the localization industry!

The Eco-System of Language Profession by Winnie Heh

Listen to the interview to learn Heh’s full responses to the following questions and more!

AB: Your Eco-System of Language Profession includes 53 unique job titles of very diverse roles! Could you talk to us about how these roles are related? What are the entry level positions that graduates of MIIS might obtain, and what roles might they work toward?

WH: Entry level positions include production roles (translator, project manager, DTP specialist), supervisory roles, support roles, and sales and marketing…

AB: What are the differences between vendor-side and client-side work?

WH: I’ll start by talking about the similarities, which include solid skills in localization project production, relationship management, and the need to meet deadlines and operate within a budget…

On the vendor-side, you’ll work with a wide variety of clients, content types, and tools… Your customers are the localization teams of client-side organizations and your suppliers are the linguists. On the client-side, a big part of your job is to make sure those who create content take localization into consideration… Your customers are your internal teams and the end users of your content or product, and your suppliers are the vendor side organizations…

AB: You state that your research is meant to be “descriptive” rather than “prescriptive.” If you were to prescribe core competences necessary for the professional practice of localization management, what competences would you say are among the highest priority for aspiring localization professionals to learn?

WH: The highest priority skills come in three categories: hard skills, technology, and soft skills… For hard skills, you’ll need to know translation technology and be comfortable telling stories from data using business math. In terms of technology, you need to learn a handful of programming languages to position yourself to work well with programmers down the road. In the era of big data, you also need to be able to make fact-based decisions based on Excel database analysis. For soft skills, critical thinking, learning, and being the kind of colleague you want to have are essential.

AB: Could you talk to us about the importance of execution?

WH: You’re track record, or ability to deliver projects on time and on budget, speaks volumes more than any talk!

Thank you to Winnie Heh for helping to make this episode!

Episode 3 of the podcast Localization Industry Expert Q&A, titled, “Interview with Winnie Heh on The Eco-System of Language Profession” with host Alaina Brandt was recorded and produced on August 16, 2019. The sound in the episode is Lemoncreme, made in F1 Studio and available on Freesound.

Sites DOT MIISThe Middlebury Institute site network.