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By Femi Lixourgioti

3 Steps for Early Career Success in the Language Industry

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Are you a graduate or current student of translation and wonder how to enter the working world? If yes, keep reading!

We live in a globalized world, and translation and foreign language studies have multiple applications and can lead to many career paths. How do you know which one to pick?

If you were to check where the Alumni of your school or college are currently working, you would undoubtedly uncover a wide variety of possibilities and probably wonder, how did they even get there? Combine this with the reducing number of entry-level job opportunities and you likely enter a vicious circle of uncertainty and confusion.

But don’t worry – we have all been there! Although social media nowadays may attribute success to the general notion of chasing your dreams or the unpredictable nature of life, the reality is that (almost) everything results from a chain of decisions made and steps taken. So, here is our guide on how you can start writing your own career story.

Step 1 – Know Your Options

A good place to start is by doing thorough job market research. Look for trends such as: What are the positions with the highest demand; What are the most frequently requested skills or qualities; Who are the biggest employers and where do they hire.

At this stage, it’s important not to limit your search to “translation” or “translator” alone. Nowadays, the industry is growing at an unprecedented pace and new roles keep appearing for language professionals – just a few of them are: Localizer, Transcreator, Copywriter, QA Tester, Language Validation Specialist and the list goes on. Also, consider other professions in the sector that go beyond the purely linguistic scope, such as project, quality, or talent management.

Next, think about how the different options align with your own interests, capabilities, and the lifestyle you wish to have in the future. You may be a good fit for several roles, but you may not necessarily be interested in all of them. You may even be more interested in roles that don’t match your current profile. This is important to understand as early as possible, so you can focus your time and effort on developing the skills that will lead you in the right direction.  

Step 2 – Ask For Help

Remember that no one succeeds alone. Listen to the career story of anyone you admire, and you will certainly hear about a professor who gave them direction, an acquaintance who offered valuable advice, a recruiter who gave them a chance, or a mentor who helped them make their first steps in the workplace. Most people are willing to offer their help if you ask for it.

If your educational institution or community provide a Career Development Centre, this is the first door that you should knock on. There, you will meet specialists that offer all kinds of support, from CV revision to self-assessment and mock interviews – it is their job to help you succeed and, even better, it shouldn’t cost you anything.

Furthermore, make sure to use the internet and your network to your advantage. Look for individuals that work in the sector or the positions that interest you and get in touch with them to learn about the job itself and the paths that can lead you to it. If you don’t have a network or your network is limited, you can expand it by attending job fairs and industry events, and by joining professional groups on social media or subscribing to professional associations.

Find out more about how to build your professional brand and navigate LinkedIn like an expert here.

Step 3 – Gain Work Experience

“No experience required” is something that we rarely see in job openings these days which can be truly overwhelming when looking for your first job. For this reason, it is important to seek work experience opportunities while you are still studying or trying to make your first steps in a new career. These come in many forms such as internships, apprenticeships, shadowing sessions, work placements, bootcamps or graduate programs, and they can be on a voluntary or paid basis.

The purpose of such schemes is generally to offer a learning opportunity and ease your transition into the workplace. Not only do they provide a great addition to your CV, but they are also a perfect opportunity to expand your network and try a potential career before committing to it. In many cases, such postings can lead to an entry-level position with the employer but, even when this is not the case, they will certainly equip you with the basic skills and knowledge to land your first full-time job or start your career as freelance professional.

Last, but by no means least, always remember that your learning journey does not end with formal education. We all continue to learn while working and, even more so, during our very first jobs. Being eager to learn and showing your potential are powerful traits in the Early Careers world!

Before you go, check out our latest openings in Early Careers. We’d love to hear from you!

About Femi Lixourgioti
Femi is a localization aficionada who has always enjoyed finding new ways to create and enable high-quality multilingual content. Having spent 10 years in localization, she has worked as Translator, Project Manager, Account and Quality Manager. She joined Welocalize in 2017 and she is currently leading the Global Early Careers Program, helping aspiring localizers enter and navigate the language industry.

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