How can LSPs benefit with educational partnership? Public  

Just how worthwhile is it, for LSPs to partner with institutions of higher education?

Where do project managers go to find the most qualified localization experts in the language services field? Are they looking for hands-on experience or are they interested in those who are brand new but have earned a degree in localization? And just how worthwhile is it, for language services providers to partner with institutions of higher education?

Building partnerships with institutions of higher learning might end up being a lifeline to traditional translation and interpreting programs

For decades, there have been translation and interpreting degrees offered at accredited educational institutions around the globe, but many of these programs have remained fairly traditional. This unwillingness to change – this resistance to adapt to a new educational model – may end up negatively impacting on their enrollment numbers.

More and more professionals in the field of localization are teaming up with institutions of higher education. They offer guest speaking engagements, lectures, and even run several classes. And while many colleges and universities continue to offer traditional translation and interpretation courses, building partnerships with localization experts might end up being a lifeline by connecting these institutions with the ever-growing language services industry. In fact, some argue that the death of the traditional translation degree is going to arrive within the next decade or so. Are institutions of higher education paying attention? Are they readying themselves for this possible shift?

The world is changing, and the fields of translation and interpreting are changing along with it. Graduates would be well served to have a growing understanding of machine translation (MT), computer-assisted technology tools (CAT tools), and translation memory (TM). In other words, they should be leaving school well equipped to enter the localization field. Gone are the days when translators could simply look at the task at hand, consult their industry-specific dictionaries, and translate away. The same can be said for the interpreting space. Translators and interpreters are now finding it more and more necessary to embrace technology that not only enhances their work but speeds up the process. And we all know that time is money – and that money talks.

With a familiarity of the universities around the world that cater to the localization industry, project managers can zero in on each candidate’s background, expertise, and possible hands-on experience, but this insight can offer project managers even more – networking. Contacting various colleges and universities around the world to offer a speaking engagement, a lecture, or even a seminar in localization is definitely a win-win-win:

Student benefits

Finding future employers and places for internships

Meeting industry representatives

A chance to better understand the language services industry

LSP benefits

Channels for finding new staff and freelance resources

Opportunities to influence the quality of translation and interpreting graduates

Knowledge transfer partnerships with universities

Benefits to universities

Access to a regional and international pool of quality companies for student placements

Access to employers in the industry for the exchange of information

Updates and notifications regarding industry trends and best practices

Project managers bear a lot of responsibility. Creating and maintaining a team environment, meeting established objectives, producing high-quality end products and services, mediating conflict, communicating with clients and upper management, and negotiating time lines are just a few of what seems to be an endless list of tasks. Hiring the right employees to help accomplish these tasks and maintain a steady work flow is critical to a project manager’s success. Knowing which colleges and universities are offering the most relevant programs in localization would save project managers a lot of time and effort in their search, but there is one more key benefit – becoming educational influencers.

Offering to partner with educational leaders can help to ensure the courses are in-line with the fast-paced, ever-changing language services industry. The first step of course, is knowing where these institutions are around the globe, and reaching out. There are a growing number of colleges and universities worldwide that now offer individual courses, as well as certificates in the field of localization. Some even offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. But are the courses truly offering a robust localization experience? The best advice that professionals offer is to scrutinize the program’s syllabus – just how many classes toward the certificate or degree actually focus on localization? Just one? Maybe two? And do those classes reflect a true localization experience, or is the title being used more or less to attract students? Reaching out to these institutions and offering your expertise in the field of localization might just be what they need without their even knowing it.

The ELIA Exchange is a great place to start. Open to industry stakeholders, students, and recent graduates, the ELIA Exchange offers valuable resources to connect through webinars, introductory courses in language services, discussion forums, volunteer opportunities , and more. As a leader in supporting the language services industry, advancing technology, and creating valuable communities, GALA also offers a plethora of resources for both instructors and students. 

Which localization project managers have already benefitted from partnering with institutions of higher education?

Perhaps Anu Carnegie-Brown, the Managing Director of Sandberg Translation Partners Ltd (STP) sums it up best:

“Because STP employs more in-house translators than an average LSP, we have a comprehensive internship programme, which initially led me to working closely with UK and Nordic universities in 2010 in order to bridge the gap between the academic and the commercial translation worlds and improve the skills of the translation graduates we employ.”

European university and industry partnerships

University of Helsinki

Ms. Carnegie-Brown is no stranger to partnering with institutions of higher education. In 2013, she co-wrote and ran STP’s first credit-awarding course at the University of Helsinki. The course focused on translation project management because, as she puts it, “translation courses did not cover this topic at all, yet it’s an integral part of the work even if you end up being a freelance translator.”

The following year, Ms. Carnegie-Brown wrote the curriculum for a 5-credit course for the University of Helsinki entitled, “Introduction to the Translation Industry” which was considered groundbreaking at the time as it included the partnerships of seven Finnish translation companies and four European developers of language technology software that all cooperated to teach the MA translation students. The course comprises classroom-based learning, independent self-study, class presentations, and compulsory visits to local LSPs. Topics cover the global translation market, job opportunities in the translation industry, language technology including CAT and QA tools, translation management systems, machine translation solutions, a project management workshop, and two books written by industry practitioners.

University of Surrey

In a four-week business challenge workshop embedded in the “Business and Industry aspects of the Translation Profession” module, the University of Surrey aimed to help MA translation students adopt business-like attitudes and thinking as a way forward in their careers within the translation and localization industry. It helped students to develop a variety of transferable skills and to empower them to think about themselves not only as future members of this industry but also as its future leaders.

The project involved participants from the university’s Centre for Translation Studies and the Surrey Business School, STP, and four business mentors. STP prepared and presented four authentic challenges they were facing as an organization and gave students access to their production manager for the duration of the workshop, welcoming students to their headquarters. Students worked to develop solutions to these challenges with the help of expert business mentors which resulted in student presentations to industry leaders, mentors, tutors, and peers.

Dr. Joanna Gough, a lecturer in translation studies at the university, ensures that her MA students graduate with a clear knowledge of the current state of the industry, including the latest developments:

“The students in our translation and interpreting programmes learn the latest trends and technologies… this knowledge is complemented by various seminars and hands-on workshops given by professionals and industry experts… in the same module, we have a four-week workshop in collaboration with the Surrey Business School, a translation company (Sandberg Translation Partners), and business mentors from outside the industry. In this workshop the students grapple with specific, authentic business challenges set by STP. They carry out independent research, gather information directly from STP, visit the company, and with the help of the mentors, come up with a business solution to their assigned challenge… This type of authentic, project-based learning is very effective.”

As part of their MA and Interpreting courses, the University of Surrey offers CAT, TM, MT, subtitling, advanced corpus tools, technology-mediated interpreting, and re-speaking, as well as business and industry aspects of the language industry. 

American universities and industry partnerships

MIIS has a full army of courses and a dedicated staff of full-time professors in the field of localization.


While many American institutions claim to offer certificates as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees focused on localization, there are surprisingly very few that actually put their money where their mouth is – one such university is the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). MIIS weaves localization content throughout their master’s degrees in translation, translation and interpretation, and in conference interpretation. From hands-on experience with a variety of CAT-tools, to the study of localization project management, multilingual desktop publishing, software, website and games localization, MIIS is fully committed to the localization experience.

We spoke with Jon Ritzdorf who works full time at Moravia as a solutions architect and teaches part-time at MIIS, the University of Maryland, and NY University. Mr. Ritzdorf has been involved in the field of localization for close to 20 years. In fact, it was almost 20 years ago when MIIS started offering workshops and classes in localization before “localization” was even a thing. In 2000, he and the other translation majors were taking workshops in software localization and full semester-long courses in CAT and Terminology Management. To say that MIIS was a pioneer in the localization space from an educational standpoint is clearly an understatement. 

According to Mr. Ritzdorf, MIIS now offers “a full army of courses and a dedicated staff of full-time professors in the field of localization… No other institution has the same variety of course work, [nor] the breadth and depth that MIIS has…” For roughly a decade now, MIIS has offered a master’s degree in Translation and Localization Management (TLM), and their enrollment numbers continue to rise year after year.

Max Troyer, Program Chair and Associate Professor for the Translation and Localization Management (TLM) program, also weighed in on MIIS’s leadership in the localization space. Mr. Troyer, who teaches website localization, multilingual desktop publishing, and audio-visual localization, shared some interesting data with us about the upward trend in localization graduation at MIIS:

“2011 started the upward trend. We made some big changes to the program in 2017, adding a specialization that doesn’t require near-native in the applicant’s second language, and that resulted in our program doubling in size for 2019 graduates. For the fall 2018 enrollment, we’re seeing the same numbers as last year (about 60 incoming students).”

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University of Washington

The University of Washington is focused on a specific localization niche

Where do experienced professionals turn to when their industry starts to shift toward localization? They certainly cannot return to full-time studies, but they do need access to programs that will introduce new concepts and advance their skills in order to stay competitive. The University of Washington has successfully tapped into this demographic with its Certificate in Localization: Customizing Software for the World:

  • Part I Introduction to localization
  • Part II Localization engineering
  • Part III Localization project management

But these courses at the University of Washington aren’t just for those already in the business world and in need of a quick introduction or refresher. They also work well for those entering the field and for those wishing to advance in their careers. We spoke with Agustín Da Fieno Delucchi, the program’s principal advisor. Mr. Delucchi has been in the computer industry for nearly 30 years, 20 of which have been devoted to international software development. With experience as a terminologist, language specialist, translator, localization engineer, program manager, localization architect, as well as geopolitical risk manager, Mr. Delucchi is perhaps the perfect example of how to successfully partner language services experts with education.

A growing number of universities are beginning to reflect the needs of the language services industry

Although we are highlighting very specific institutions of higher education, this isn’t to say that others are not following suit. We caught up with Rebecca Brazzale, the Assistant Director for the Center of Language Studies at Brigham Young University, and here is what she had to say,

“Post-MT is a growing field. We insist that our graduates are comfortable using the technology tools associated with efficient translation… Our translation/localization [programs] are coordinated with the efforts of our linguistics program, which incorporates the corpora studies, machine translation, [and] machine learning. We also bring in industry professionals to provide feedback on our program.”

Below is a list of a number of universities around the globe who are perhaps beginning to advance their translation and interpretation courses to better reflect the language services industry and its increasingly evolving needs. If your organization is interested in partnering with academia, this is a great list to peruse. If you wish your university to appear on this list, contact Nimdzi and we’ll make it happen.

InstitutionLocationDegree offeredCourse titleLinkSyllabus highlight
Beijing Culture and Language UniversityChinaUndergraduate, Master’s, and PhD1. Localization Direction 2. Master of Translation 3. Translation Technology and LocalizationBeijing Culture and Language UniversityCAT Tools, Project Management, Localization Management; partnerships with enterprises and government
Kaunas UniversityLithuaniaMaster’sMaster in Translation and Localization of Technical TextsKaunus UniversityLocalization of software, websites, and video games; translation technology, project management, and translation of audio-visual media
Kent State UniversityUSAPhDTranslation StudiesKent StateCAT tools, Project Management, Localization
Kent State UniversityUSAB.S.TranslationKent StateThe Bachelor of Science degree from IAL offers concentrations in French, German, Russian and Spanish.
Kent State UniversityUSAM.A.TranslationKent StateArabic, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish
KU LeuvenBelgiumCertificate and post-graduate1. Translation Technology Summer School 2. Specialized TranslationKU LeuvenGeared toward professionals, graduate students, translation teachers, and localization managers who have no or little experience with translation and localization technologies – Speech recognition, multilingual workflow management software and games localization, CAT tools, terminology management, MT and post-editing
Swansea UniversityUK (Wales)Certification and Master’sProfessional Translation MASwansea UniversityAdvanced translation work on general, administrative, and technical text types, training in industry-standard CAT tools; Public Service Interpreting, audiovisual translation, MT, softare localization, terminology managemet, video making/digital publishing, etc…
TH KölnGermanyMaster’sConference InterpretingTH KölnCAT tools, project management
Universidad Alfonso X el SabioSpainPost GraduateExperto en Tradumática, Localización y Traducción Audiovisual (Expert in Tradumatics, Localization and Audiovisual Translation)software, website and videogames localization and learning CAT tools.
Universidad de CádizSpainMaster’sAudiovisual TranslationUniversidad de Cádiztranslation techniques applied to subtitling, dubbing, subtitling for the hearing impaired and localisation, relating to the stage of translation itself and use of the most important software.
Universidad IntercontinentalMexicoCertificate/DiplomaSpecialized Translation and Professional InterpretationUniversidad IntercontinentalImmediate access to the current labor market by giving its graduates the opportunity to do professional internships in translation agencies in Mexico or abroad. It combines professionalism with the use of new technologies to train translators of now and tomorrow. The diploma graduates will be better prepared to compete with any translator in the world in terms of productivity, quality control, performance, use of new technologies, project management and professionalism. A unique module is taught in Mexico and Latin America on the “Localization of video games and web pages” by one of the best video game localizers, awarded with several awards in Spain.
Universidade do PortoPortugalMaster’sTranslation and Linguistics ServiceUniversidade do PortoMultimedia Translation, correctly use terminology related to subtitling, dubbing, audio-description and to the translation and localization of web pages or localize and use the different resources that are available on the Internet for the different types of translation approached during the seminar are some of the tasks included.
Université de Charles GaulleFranceMaster’sTraduction et Adaptations CinématographieuesUniversité de Charles GaulleKnowledge of tools, methodologies and modern translation for all forms of audiovisual adaptation. You may be asked to exercise your skills in different areas: dubbing, subtitling, voice-over, video game translation, subtitling for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Université de Québec en OutaouaisCanadaGraduate DiplomaLocalization and HypermediaUniversité de Québec en OutaouaisSpecialization: Computer-assisted translation and terminology, localization and hypermedia
Université de StrasbourgFranceMaster’sTCLoc – Technical Communication and LocalizationUniversité de StrasbourgCAT tools, Project management, translation, interpreting, Conference interpreting, Localization management, Localization engineering, Computational linguistics
University College LondonUKCertificateOnline course in localizationUniversity College LondonIntro to software localisation; Translatable components; Localizing resource files; Localising online help; Screenshooting and localising graphics; Software testing and bug logging
University of LimerickIrelandMaster’sMultilingual Computing and LocalisationUniversity of LimerickInternationalisation requirements and their implementation; The critical analysis and research of translation technologies; The automation of the localisation process in what has been called the Localisation Factory; Business organisation and international business practices.
Zhaw ZurichSwitzerlandBachelor’sMultilingual Communication and Technical Communica tionZhaw ZurichCAT tools, translation, interpreting, Localization management, Project Management, Conference interpreting

If you are interested in working with universities that may not as of yet have established partnerships with language services but may be open to collaboration, this list might also be of interest to you:

InstitutionLocationDegree OfferedCourse TitleLinkSyllabus Highlight
Ollscoil na hÉirann, GaillimhIrelandMaster’sAdvanced Language SkillsNUI GalwayInterlingual subtitling, elements of analysis of film discourse and audiovisual translation and Hands-on workshops with short subtitling projects.
Stellenbosh UniversitySouth AfricaBachelor’sLanguage and CultureStellenbosh UniversityCareers in professions requiring expertise in languages and culture, the media, the diplomatic service, education, publishing, tourism and the translation industry.
Università di BolognaItalyMaster’sScreen TranslationUniversità di BolognaSpecialize in translation for film, television, theatre, web; Accessibility to multimedia or head of multilingual versions of audiovisual production company
University College CorkMaster’sTranslation StudiesUniversity College CorkMethodology of simultaneous and consecutive Interpreting; Intercultural Communication; ICT of the Localisation Industry; Translation and Professional Communication Skills
University of DenverUSACertificateTranslation StudiesUniversity of DenverGlobal translation industry Practice in different types of translation including localization; Leverage technology and software applications for translators
University of Texas Rio Grande ValleyUSACertificateLocalization and Audiovisual TranslationUniversity of Texas Rio Grande ValleyTranslation; Translation technologies; Audiovisual Translation; Translation Project (in AVT or Localization)
University of the WitwatersrandSouth AfricaPostgraduate DiplomaTranslation and InterpretingUniversity of WitwatersrandTranslation and Interpreting; Specialist (I and II); Specialist Translation for Interpreters; Conference Interpreting Skills; Interpreting Studies; Interpreting Research Methods and Analysis

Do you define change by what you have to give up, or by what you have to gain?

There are still only a handful of post-secondary programs around the globe that offer advanced courses specifically geared to localization. And although some argue that a formal education is not necessary since on-the-job training in language services will give you everything you need, there is definitely another side to the coin. LSPs who team up with willing academic partners have a lot to gain – they’ll have a hand-picked, engaged audience who will listen to everything they have to share about the industry (and about their own company), they’ll have a say in how to mold and shape the localization programs (thereby having a positive influence on the industry as a whole), and they’ll have at their fingertips, the best and the brightest future job candidates.

It really comes down to how you feel about change – should you resist it or embrace it? The choice is yours to make.

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