Best Practices

When to Bring in a Localization Engineer

When considering content translation, most would weigh pricing and the quality of linguists as key focus areas for getting their content to new markets.
Gabriel Fairman
2 min
Table of Contents

When considering content translation, most would weigh pricing and the quality of linguists as key focus areas for getting their content to new markets.

However, understanding the necessary components for how translated content will fit in the structure of the content’s architecture should be equally important. Who handles all the aspects of how content is integrated and assuring all necessary content files work properly?

The answer is a localization engineer, and they should always be considered in an end-to-end localization strategy.  

What is a Localization Engineer?

A localization engineer oversees the file engineering to isolate content before translation and re-integrate it post-translation. A typical play-by-play, in no particular order, for a localization engineer looks like:  

  • Separating vital code from translatable content  
  • Preparing translatable content and pertinent instructions to linguists  
  • Clarifying and queries that need immediate attention  
  • Updating databases like translation memories  
  • Integrating translated files into the software  
  • Testing the software for errors  
  • Creating localization workflow for updated content  

Localization engineers are the backbone of translation workflows and ensure content displays properly without disrupting the website design. Localization engineers don’t typically advise on coding strategies, so it’s up to them to confirm the translated content integrates seamlessly, even in overly complex cases where the content architecture isn’t suitable for easy translation.  

Why is Localization Engineering Necessary?

Localization engineers are typically the final stop in the content translation chain and have the duty of quality checking the final content. In a perfect system, software developers review code to optimize for localization. This way, when the files reach the localization engineers, they undergo a seamless workflow of having the content translated and re-integrating it so that it displays correctly.

Without localization engineering, you accept the risk of having vital code translated that shouldn’t be, resulting in content errors caused by text expansion, code disruption, graphics display, etc. The absence of a localization engineer would also make it difficult to standardize processes for translating future content updates.  

Challenges for Localization Engineers

Localization engineering becomes increasingly challenging when code isn’t optimized, which is a common scenario because it’s a review step that’s typically overlooked in localization strategies. Since localization engineers are usually unable to make coding decisions, the issues can accumulate. They’ll then have no choice but to spend hundreds of hours finding a way to make the code work.

This situation can hinder a company’s ability to scale. Initial coding that’s hard to localize affects all future content in the same way. This can slow software updates in markets that require translation first and inhibit entering new markets. Choosing to forgo code review before it gets to localization engineers can also increase the cost of localization engineering. The more complex the code is, the more hours engineers spend trying to accommodate the content to display correctly.

Working with a localization management platform that includes optimizing files in their localization strategy ensures it isn’t overlooked and can significantly reduce the cost of engineering.  

Prioritizing Localization Strategy and Engineering

Filtering the decisions that should be made at the top by various members of the localization chain to make engineering as seamless as possible is only possible with a good localization strategy.

Having a strategy to optimize content architecture and files is the only way to reduce unnecessary work for localization engineers at the end of the chain. This strategy includes having senior developers and engineers who make optimization choices that localization engineers can not. Working with a robust localization management platform that offers consulting services for software architecture and localization engineering is the most effective way to have your software’s content localized for new markets as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A strong platform can assist you in choosing options and workarounds for your content management system’s architecture to streamline engineering processes. It will also implement strategies that avoid quick-fix solutions so that your company can scale its content freely in the future and trust that updates are streamlined.  

Gabriel Fairman
Founder and CEO of Bureau Works, Gabriel Fairman is the father of three and a technologist at heart. Raised in a family that spoke three languages and having picked up another three over the course of his life, he has always been fascinated with the role language plays in identity and the creation of meaning. Gabriel loves to cook, play the guitar, tennis, soccer, and ski. As far as work goes, he enjoys being at the forefront of innovation and mobilizing people and teams together toward a mission. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Gabriel was honored with the 2023 Innovator of the Year Award at LocWorld Silicon Valley.
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