PERSPECTIVES

Change, Adaptability, Learning
A path to success

BY PAZ VALENTE

The saying “change brings opportunities” resonates strongly when it comes to the localization industry (as in many others), and it speaks about a fundamental truth that has been the language industry’s success formula. This expression, closely aligned with Seth Godin’s assertion that, “Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is,” is not merely a philosophical truism; this is a guiding principle that emphasizes the evolving nature of the industry and the critical role of change, adaptability, innovation, and learning in achieving translation excellence.

One might think that language proficiency guarantees success in translation, right? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but this is not 100% true. You should start by asking yourself if you see change as a problem or a catalyst for growth.

I am convinced change lays the foundation for a thriving business in any ever-growing industry, and our industry is not the exception to the rule. The dynamic nature of technology requires translators to have a growth mindset, always looking to expand their skills and adopt new approaches.

The rapid changes in our industry are nothing short of dramatic, fueled by technological advances, cultural changes, and our increasingly globalized world. Traditional models of translation and localization are constantly being re-examined, providing fertile ground for those with the vision and flexibility to understand and leverage new opportunities.

Every change will inevitably open up new opportunities. From the advent of computers and translation memory systems, which changed the efficiency of translation processes and facilitated consistency, to the recent rise of AI-enabled language comprehension and content generation unprecedented, each technological leap offers a canvas of possibilities for language professionals.

Let’s go back in time and remember when we started working with CAT tools. I was in university back then, and folks were already saying it was the end of our career. Twenty years later, I am gladly still offering my services as a language mediator, I have more and more work every day, and thanks to changes and innovations, I’ve had the chance to discover new and better ways of performing my tasks.

No doubt changes imply a dynamic process that requires a proactive approach to skill development and a willingness to explore uncharted territories strategically. In this ever-changing environment, adaptability emerges as a cornerstone of success. As market demands evolve and customer expectations diversify, evolving strategies, adopting new tools, and integrating new processes become a sustainable growth priority. Skills that were the most important yesterday may overshadow another skill tomorrow. Thus, the journey of today’s localization experts demands inherent flexibility, a willingness to adapt their skills to the changing requirements of the industry.

Continuous learning is an inseparable complement to adaptability. As technology evolves, so must our skills and knowledge. Lifelong learners embrace change as an invitation to deepen their understanding, constantly seeking new insights, best practices, and cross-disciplinary knowledge. The art of adaptation requires an infinite curiosity — a willingness to shed old paradigms and embrace the unknown. While the day-to-day learning required is undeniably tough, it stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment required.

In this context, staying up-to-date is a survival strategy. It’s an ongoing challenge that requires commitment and determination. That is, commitment to exceed comfort zones, challenge assumptions, and be open to unlearning and relearning so as to stay at the forefront of the industry’s transformative technological journey.

The good news is that you are not alone in this journey. Staying informed is not a stand-alone endeavor. The localization community is a supportive network where knowledge is shared, insights are exchanged, and lessons are learned together. Our community is a vibrant ecosystem of fellow learners, mentors, and expertise sharers. The collective wisdom of this network is our secret weapon.

The opportunities that come from a dedicated effort to stay informed, advance alongside technology, and foster a culture of continuous learning are endless. As we embrace and introduce new ideas, our ability to provide accurate, high-quality translations that bridge language and cultural differences expands.

Success depends on our ability to adapt, learn, and embrace change. The journey to translation excellence requires more than just language skills. Staying at the forefront of technological advances requires continued personal commitment.

So, my humble advice to those of you who are skeptical about attending webinars, courses, and workshops on new technologies is this: Stop overthinking! Every new path opens up new ideas and opportunities. In my opinion, this is the only way: Overcome your fear of change and remain curious and enthusiastic. By seizing opportunities and pushing the boundaries of your knowledge, you will embark on a transformational journey into a world of unlimited growth and possibility. Now, after having read this, you should ask yourself this question again: Do you see change as a problem or a catalyst for growth?

Paz Valente has been providing linguistic services to local and international clients since 2011. She is the CEO and founder of Traducir·e Translation Services, a language service provider based in Buenos Aires.

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