Reaching the Future of Localization

Reaching the Future of Localization

by Meg M. Murphy

As a volunteer for the ATA-TCD, I was asked to create and pilot an informative presentation on localization for high school students with the goal of sharing career opportunity possibilities to the rising workforce. A formidable challenge it may have been, but I met it with brazenness.

A presentation given to 29 students from North Branch Area High Schools in Minnesota on December 17, 2019 was likely the first localization outreach presentation given in the United States.

Skopos

At first, I was a little nervous; high schoolers can be a tough crowd. Keeping the attention of 29 high schoolers is challenge enough. How would I interest and inform them? I had the needed knowledge to impart, but could I present it in an applicable way?

In localization and translation, we often refer to the skopos of a project. Skopos (σκοπός in Greek) means “purpose.” The skopos theory, originally conceived by Hans Josef Vermeer, states the following:

“Each text is produced for a given purpose and should serve this purpose… to function in the situation it is used and with the people who want to use it and precisely in the way they want it to function.”

I employed the skopos theory to localize the presentation to “function in the situation it is used.” For me, that meant compellingly reaching the minds of the audience of adolescents.

Examples propagate the comprehension of new concepts. With the skopos theory in mind, I selected examples of localization that would be relevant to older teenagers currently considering future career choices. Which examples of localization would pique their interest?

I decided to include video games, memes, sports, on-demand TV, and junk food in the presentation. I didn’t find their inclusion to be an arduous feat; they use localized products every day. Smash Brothers (developed in Japan) and Miraculous Ladybug (created in France) were among some of the discussed items.

The presentation was successful due to the use of many examples that were relevant to my audience. Keeping the students engaged was critical to making the presentation meaningful to them. We viewed localized advertisements from Coca-Cola and discussed their strategy. Demonstrating that localization existed in their personal world facilitated their grasp of localization internationally.

To close the presentation, I listed the possible careers in the localization industry. The students were surprised to see many career options linguistically, commercially, and creatively. Their interest in the localization industry was piqued.

Survey

After the presentation, I asked the audience members to fill out a short survey to measure their impressions. 93% had never heard of localization before the presentation. 83% enjoyed the presentation and 31% rated their current interest of localization as a 4 or higher (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 representing the highest level of interest).

The 29 students answered the following questions post-presentation. Their responses can be found below.

  • Q1 – Did you know about localization before the presentation?
  • Q2 – Rate your understanding of localization after the presentation.
  • Q3 – Did you feel like the presentation was enjoyable and/or educational?
  • Q4 – Rate your current interest in localization.
Did you know about localization before the presentation?
Did you feel like the presentation was enjoyable and/or educational?
Rate your understanding of localization after the presentation.
Rate your current interest in localization.

Your Turn!

Localization is nearly an invisible power to the youth. We will need their talent in the future to continue thriving as an industry. We need the youth to know about localization!

We invite each of you to share this presentation with your local youth. The ATA-TCD is gifting this presentation and its resources to the ATA and all their members. We hope that you will join us in introducing the youth to localization so that one day they may join us! Modified versions of this presentation will be available for collegiate and middle-school audiences.

About the author

Meg M. Murphy is a Translation and Localization Management student at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, class of 2020. She graduated from Brigham Young University-Provo with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish Translation with two minors in Localization and Global Business. Meg Murphy presentation to a class of Minnesota high school students was likely the first localization outreach presentation given in the United States.