Yelena Proskurin

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Consultant, Educator, Program Manager

Sunnyvale, California, USA

I am often asked, “What is the next big thing in localization?” My answer is students — my students are the next big thing in localization. As an educator, I take on the role of an influencer every single day. I am in touch with the latest obstacles in the industry and together, as a team at the Middlebury Institute, we prepare our students to enter the workforce with solutions at hand. We make sure that any company that is lucky enough to get one of our graduates truly feels that it has won the lottery.

I teach my students to not be afraid of making mistakes. It is through these mistakes that we make well-oiled processes even better and carry the localization industry forward. Above all, my job is to force my students to carry themselves with confidence until it becomes second nature to them, and it’s no longer uncomfortable and forced. My job is to push them so they get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Only then can we learn about language and the power and impact of localization. When students achieve that, which they do year after year, the next generation of localizers is more prepared than the previous one.

My grading approach is unconventional, and I lead by example. I take risks in the classroom, and sometimes those risks are unsuccessful. The lessons we all learn from these far outweigh any I could lecture on. Every job offer that my students sign is my success, too. So far, I have 210 of them.



Yelena is an inspirational educator and mentor who truly goes above and beyond to bring out the potential in her students. She brings an incredible amount of positivity and empathy to her work and emphasizes the importance of both when preparing her students to become global professionals.

Yelena is a passionate localization professor who can’t stop helping her students and graduates when class is over.

Her energy and passion coupled with professionalism and deep localization industry knowledge are inspiring and motivating!

Yelena is a strong advocate for her students and is a true localization influencer with her work as program manager at WhatsApp and localization consultant for HalloApp.


By Cody Connell

Yelena is a nurturing and knowledgeable professor who sincerely cares about her work and the impact she has on her students. She brings unyielding positivity to her work and makes it her mission to ensure her students realize their potential and don’t sell themselves short. She brings practical advice to her coursework that truly sets her students up for success — all of which is based on her impressive professional experiences in some of the most competitive tech companies in Silicon Valley.


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