Now an integral offering and point of pride for big tech companies, machine translation (MT) and adjacent language technologies are driving industry-wide demand for natural language processing (NLP) engineers and machine learning researchers. But that trend is not the whole story. The same companies are also aggressively hiring qualified linguists.
As always, employers still need to fill more traditional roles in areas such as customer support and QA; and some linguists cross over to the more technical side, where they support the building and fine-tuning of MT. Somewhere in between, a range of new opportunities has opened up to language experts.
One important factor in the creation of these roles is the fact that many major tech companies handle localization in-house, often collaborating across departments to design their solutions and services with globalization in mind from the start.
Here, we offer a snapshot of 10 roles for which linguistic expertise is paramount.
The title may be familiar but, within Apple, “technical” translation refers not only to the content, but also to a tech-savvy approach. In particular, technical translators will identify tools and process enhancements for the team’s work, “evangelizing best practices” for localization-friendly content. One perk of the job: a “sneak peek” at the company’s unreleased software, which the translators use for localization QA.
Localization and Editorial Producer
For some corporate roles outside the US, fluency in English is required, while passable proficiency in the local language is acceptable. Not so for this job: As specified for the Tokyo-based opening, “native-level editorial skill in Japanese is a must.” It is not hard to see why. The localization and editorial producer not only manages projects and local linguists, but also leads both localization and original writing, and rewrites and transcreates copy for end-users as needed. The role interacts with a number of teams, from business to engineering, but works closely with the creative lead to ensure consistent linguistic tone of voice, as well as customer experience.
Fresh off the company’s WMT 2021 win, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) is looking for a few good researchers to help its Universal Language Translator cross the finish line. In the meantime, Meta still needs human linguists to help WhatsApp — reportedly used by more than two billion people in 180 countries — feel more local in each market. Not to be confused with Apple’s customer support language manager role, this position focuses more heavily on, well, the language piece. The language manager reviews translated content for new releases and coordinates language, style, and terminology with linguists.
Market Specialist, GO Markets
Within Scaled Operations, the GO Markets team is charged with providing support to Facebook users, including businesses and advertisers. Market specialists use their language skills and cultural knowledge to review potentially offensive content, and to propose scalable solutions that address the needs of users in a given country. The company is currently hiring a slew of market specialists, especially across Asia.
“Comfortable working with text from various languages and dialects” — sounds like a translator to us. In fact, while many data analysts hold a bachelor’s degree in computational linguistics, this particular role does not require it. Experience with text annotation and data analysis is a must, though, as is near-native fluency in one or more languages other than English. The work is confidential, so few details are provided in the job ad, but data linguists work on projects for both internal and external customers with the general goal of improving global sites. They share insights on their work with others who may or may not speak the required language(s).
More specifically, Amazon is hiring a product manager for customer experience in a particular country or market. Strong written and verbal skills in more than one language are essential, as the product manager is responsible for “auditing” translations into the target language. In addition to improving language coverage and fluency, the position also entails ensuring that marketing and content are culturally relevant, and successful in “driving customer adoption” of available resources in their preferred language.
Search Language Specialist
Google’s SLS program, part of Core Search, includes professionals who are native speakers of several languages. They curate recall sets in different languages, develop grammar, and run QA, among other responsibilities. The technical program manager will build and lead the SLS team, and identify and use programs and tools to increase the team’s impact and scalability.
Market Responsibility Specialist, Trust and Safety, YouTube
Beyond the ability to read and write fluently in at least two languages, a market responsibility specialist must have “experience with the history, local politics, media landscape, culture, and context” of the given market or country. Why? To help YouTube understand regional and local trends and risks — on YouTube. The company describes its Trust and Safety team as dedicated to proactively making the platform a safe place for users. To that end, the market responsibility specialist will help enforce policies across video content. At the same time, the role also requires collaboration with linguists to improve the quality of regional language workflows.
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Senior Localization Manager (Regional)
This role combines big-picture thinking with a linguist’s attention to detail. The senior localization manager is the point person for localization support, strategizing within and across departments and liaising with regional government entities. In addition to at least 10 years of localization experience in the given language, the work also requires expertise in the “broader aspects of cultural localization, publishing, and marketing” relevant to the region. An interest in gaming is likely a plus, considering the content up for localization, which includes in-game text, voice overs, dubbing, subtitles, and player-support documentation.
Marketing Operations Manager (Regional)
With a focus on up to several countries, and required “excellent” language skills, this position is well-suited for linguists with experience as cultural consultants in their target market. In particular, the marketing operations manager will determine how to tailor new content, promotions, and partnerships to the local culture. Most importantly, whoever fills the role should be eager to explore and track the latest trends, with the goal of identifying the best ways to draw the community’s gamers to Tencent versus competitors.
Editor’s Note: We do not link to the job ad references in this article because such ads typically have a short shelf life and the links will likely stop working soon.