Localization has become a more robust and well-delimited industry over the last decade, but we must not forget that it is still relatively new, with most specialized companies and positions established during and after the 1990s.
I talked with Konstantin Dranch, a localization expert with a background in journalism, market research and technology and he shared his views on the industry. He has worked in localization for several years and has seen how the industry has changed over time.
Of course, localization existed before, but what it really encompassed was a little fuzzier, less transparent and more industry-dependent (i.e. financial, life sciences, marketing, etc.). Luckily, today the industry is significantly more robust and there is a lot more information and organization.
Like many in the industry, Dranch found his way to localization by accident when a friend asked him for help organizing a localization conference, he said that he “enjoyed the energy very much. Then I applied my skills from journalism to language.” When he first entered the industry, he felt that it wasn’t very transparent.
It also seemed to him that it was quite “insular and more elitist” than it is now. As mentioned earlier, lines were often drawn on an industry basis. As Dranch explained, “People were extremely proud of working on some bank or corporate documentation. Today, it’s much more about localization and there is much more information, the industry is more open and egalitarian.”
This is surely one of the aspects we love about the current state of the industry: Localization-specific skills are more transferable from one industry to another and there is more room for everyone to grow. Localization today is an established industry by its own right, which has created a community and given way to industry-specific research and information. Dranch believes “everything is more open” in today’s localization industry and that “you only need an interesting message and charisma.” I can agree with that!
According to Dranch, localization is a more mature and established industry now, the industry is growing and there is room for innovation. When asked about the future of the industry, he highlighted the fact that more tech-focused companies are “springing up” and that “energetic people are looking for the next big thing. Maybe NLP, which is what you call computational linguistics these days”.
When I talk to other localization professionals, one of the aspects that usually comes up is the dynamic and versatile nature of the industry, which is often one of the things everyone agrees that they like the most. These are, without a doubt, exciting times to be in localization. Although it is a well-established industry with a relatively universal skill set, it still has an enormous potential for innovation and creativity, especially in more technical domains.
Interviewee: Konstantin Dranch