Localization is the process of adapting a product or content to a specific locale or market, and the localization industry is an incredibly exciting and diverse one.
Localization brings together professionals in linguistics, business, and technology to tackle challenges such as helping clients take their products and websites into new language markets, providing essential health information to multilingual refugee populations, and using neural networks and artificial intelligence to build better machine translation systems.
Localization generates $40+ billion per year worldwide, and it is the 4th fastest growing industry in the United States.
BYU’s Translation & Localization minor provides students an introduction to the industry, and helps them build core knowledge and experience for pursuing a career or graduate studies.
Our program is one of the only undergraduate programs of its kind in the US, and we collaborate closely with localization professionals and companies to continually refine our course offerings, and help our students connect with jobs and internships.
To declare the minor
Contact your primary major advisement center.
To transfer courses from another university:
1. Contact the BYU Transfer Evaluation Office to verify that your credits have transferred to BYU.
2. Contact Dr. Yvon LeBras to discuss which transferred courses can count towards the minor.
1. Contact Liberal Arts Advisement & Careers to find out if there is a pre-approved substitution.
2. If there isn’t a pre-approved substitution, email Dr. Yvon LeBras to discuss your proposed substitution. You will most likely need to provide a syllabus for the course you are hoping to use as a substitution, and you will need to show how it matches the learning outcomes of the course that it would substitute.
Because so many companies/organizations are engaging globally, job opportunities in the localization industry are diverse and constantly evolving.
Many localization professionals work for companies like Adobe, Domo, Blizzard Entertainment, and Netflix, helping lead their international strategy and projects, while many others work for companies that provide localization services (language service providers, or LSPs) such as Multiling, Lingotek, US Translation Company, Translators Without Borders, Transperfect, and Lionbridge.
In general, localization jobs can roughly be broken down into three broad areas: linguistics, business, and technology.
Below are some examples of different roles within each area.
The business side of things is where the rubber hits the road in the localization industry. As with the linguistic and tech fields, there is a wide diversity of career paths—everything from project management to sales to marketing and so on.
Some common business sector jobs include project manager, project coordinator, operations manager, account manager, sales development rep, sales manager, account executive, marketer, CEO, CFO, CTO, HR, administration, etc.
Linguists deal directly with adapting written and spoken texts from one language to another, but jobs in this area are not limited to translators and interpreters (though they are very important in the localization process).
Other common jobs for linguists include editors/proofreaders, terminologists, and computational linguists.
Localization is a tech-driven industry, and there is a constant need for talent to help move the industry forward. The work in this area includes things like developing translation management systems, building web connectors, designing software, QA testing/engineering, ensuring content is prepped and localized correctly, improving machine translation systems, and just about anything you can think of.
Common jobs in the tech field are localization engineers, internationalization engineers, software/web developers, quality assurance engineers, computational linguists, and technical account manager.
Although someone may start out working in one of these three areas, it is very common to transition to different areas throughout a career. For example, a translator or localization engineer may end up moving into a project manager role and from there into other business-focused positions.
Check out the links below for more information on careers and career paths in localization:
Finding a Career in the $40 Billion Language and Technology Industry
Gala:Translation and Localization Industry Careers
Career Paths and Roles in the Localization Minor
Career Paths in the Localization Minor
And check out these short interviews with localization professionals to learn more about their career trajectories and get insights into the industry:
Where Are They Now?
Terri Zoller Kersh, 2017 graduate
Marissa Hart, 2018 graduate
Over the past few years I worked my way from Intern to Project Coordinator, to Junior Project Manager and now to Project Manager. I'm so grateful I did the Translation and Localization minor, because it helped me learn about the different career paths within the localization field and the on-campus internship gave me some great experience to learn from and put on my resume. I was also able to apply for and receive funding to go to the GALA Localization Conference, which was a great opportunity to learn more about the field and meet people in the industry.
I really believe participating in this minor is the reason I ended up in a career that challenges me and helps me grow, and allows me to work with people all over the world. I would recommend it to anyone who loves language and translation, but doesn't know how to make a career out of it."
Camila Chester, 2020 graduate
I currently work for ICON plc, a pharmaceutical research company and am a Project Analyst in their Language Services department. The internship along with the classes required for the minor prepared me to know exactly what to expect and how to be successful in translation management.
I am beyond grateful for the T&L minor! It helped me turn my love and passion for languages into a valuable marketable skill that has given me career purpose and success. I can’t recommend it enough!"
My current role is Senior Localization Project Manager. My responsibilities include handling daily production deliveries in the morning, launching new projects during and at the end of each day, client meetings, production updates, new project timelines, new client onboarding meetings, planning, and internal training with PM teams or translation teams.
BYU is a great environment to network with real, respected members of the localization industry. If you want to pursue higher education, BYU has a great relationship with top graduate universities that offer related programs. The localization industry is very big in Utah, much more so than it otherwise would be without the influence of the Church and the multilingual culture that missionary service brings. Regardless of where you work in the U.S., you will likely run into either another BYU alumni or someone that has worked directly or indirectly with BYU or the Church’s translation department.
My advice for students is that experience is key. There are a million LSPs that would love to have you work for them. You will likely have bad experiences working with some of them. This is because much of the industry was created in the 90s and early 2000s and has yet to properly update its processes and technology to run efficiently. This is frustrating but a very good learning experience. Critical thinking is key for any localization position. Keep an eye focused on how you can make your current process more efficient, whether by automation or by using better software solutions. Try new things until you find what you like. Some people hate being project managers. Others hate being involved in sales. Many don’t want customer-facing positions. Try everything you can until you find the position that’s just right for you. Then, become the best at what you do.
While I was at BYU, I spent a lot of time at the Humanities Advisement Center to maximize the professional value of my degree. One of the advisers, Sherami Jara, helped me connect with a few alumni in the localization industry so I could see if it was a good fit for me. There were a few other students that were interested in localization too and Sherami helped us create a club that would enable us to hold events, create a professional network, and possibly arrange internships related to localization for BYU students.
BYU has a strong network of alumni in localization. Becoming part of that network helped me find internships and part-time jobs during school, find mentorship as I moved on from BYU, and was how I found out about the posting for the job I currently have.
My advice for students is that you can learn to do anything. Find out what skills people are looking for in candidates for the jobs you want and learn those skills. You may not be able to learn everything on the job or in school, so seek out opportunities wherever you can. If you can get a paycheck or course credit while you're at it, all the better. And be confident in your decisions along the way. You're probably better at making decisions than you give yourself credit for, and you can always make adjustments as you grow.