Have you considered joining a training or education course but are lacking motivation to take the step? Or maybe, you already have a stack of books purchased, websites bookmarked and documents downloaded for the day you might get around to working through them? With all the opportunities and content out there, a useful first step can be to clarify your motivation. What are you hoping to achieve by upskilling and committing to continuous learning? Once you are clear on that, prioritizing and focusing becomes an easier step to take.
A while back, I had the opportunity to interview Livia Stephenson (Client Services Manager) and Inger Larsen (founder and MD) of Larsen Globalisation. Larsen Globalisation is a full-service recruitment agency specializing in localisation talent.
Get a (different) job
As part of our conversation we talked about reasons for continuous learning. Below are Livia and Inger’s thoughts along with my own remarks.
Whether you are a recent graduate looking for your first job, new to the industry and hoping to step from part-time to a full-time position, returning to the working world or a seasoned professional hoping to get promoted or change companies: having a relevant qualification is often an essential piece for your CV.
In some cases, the path ahead is quite clear. For example, if you wish to work in localisation or translation project management, taking a course in project management can be a useful place to start. Even if you already have project management experience, getting a qualification in the area will likely help you secure a better position in the area. You don’t necessarily need to focus on localisation project management courses either – there are a range of certifications and courses independent of field available to suit your needs.
Send a positive message
Livia and Inger both agreed that continuing your learning journey sends a positive message to hiring managers, whether within your organisation or outside of it. Inger emphasized that continuous learning is important for everyone, independent of their level of experience.
Just remember to update your CV and LinkedIn profile with your learning and let your current company know that you are upskilling. This can signal that you are engaged and keen to increase your valuable contributions to the field. It might also be worth talking to your current manager or HR contact and see whether your employer might be willing and able to support you on your continuous learning journey. Some companies offer their employees time off during working hours and/or a financial contribution towards fees or training material.
Fill gaps in your previous training and education
One of the more fascinating aspects of the localisation industry is that due to its multidisciplinary nature, many of us come to it from other directions. This means that there is often a need to fill gaps in existing knowledge, deepen what we have already learned and clarify finer details. For example, a translator might need to acquire technical skills or project management skills, while a programmer might need to learn more about the languages of the world.
Keep up-to-date with evolving needs of the industry
Even if you started out with a background in localisation rather than a related area, the field keeps evolving. This makes it especially important to continue learning about things like technology and processes currently in use.
Inger and Livia both agreed that knowledge of technology has become and continues to be of increasing importance for professionals in the field.
Be an innovator
Despite all the advances in the past decades, there is always something that could be improved in the way things are currently being done. New technology innovations, different ways of looking at processes or even insights into the best ways to lead and motivate team members can be valuable contributions. By learning not only about the most up-to-date approaches but also different ways of doing things in other fields, you are able to create these kinds of insights and make your mark through innovation.
We all learn on the job, every day – often through trial and error. By combining this invaluable experience with theoretical knowledge gained through training and education, you will be able to structure your thoughts on a particular issue more clearly, understand the reasons for the phoenomena you have observed and anticipate future issues. It can also be very helpful to get confirmation that the way you are doing things currently is indeed the way it is commonly approached. Ideally, you would get inspiration for improvements and different ways of looking at a familiar situation. Training and education will also give you the vocabulary and frameworks to join the conversation within and outside of your organisation with confidence and articulate your ideas clearly.
In the coming weeks and months, we will look at continuous learning in localisation, translation technology and software internationalisation in more detail. Next up, we will talk about ways to decide what learning path is right for you.
We would like to hear from you! Do you find yourself able to make time for learning and upskilling? How do you pick your priorities and what are your motivations?