We sat down with Locaria employees Ayla Taskaya, Victoria Gütter, and Cristina Marín to discuss their industry experience, their thoughts on how to promote language and digital literacy skills to young people, and more:
Could you explain to us what it is that you do, and what a typical day looks like for you?
Ayla: I work as a Senior Organic Performance Analyst. My goal is to improve our clients’ organic visibility on Google by optimising their website’s content and technical features. On a typical day, I work on content outlines, reach out to influencers to work on campaigns that we’ve created, brainstorm with our team, and catch up with clients.
Victoria: I work as a Content Analyst for our PPC clients looking after their PPC content in different markets. That also includes some work with numbers as we need to check the performance of the content we provide.
Cristina: I am Content Lead in the Website Localisation team at Locaria. The role is very varied, and includes tasks from managing different types of localisation projects involving lots of different languages for a wide range of clients, to reviewing content in my native language, meeting clients, or testing some of the latest translation software!
What made you choose this role/industry? Did anything in particular influence your decision?
A: I was always interested in marketing. It fascinates me to see how different strategies can change and influence a brand’s image and perception in society. I’ve always enjoyed working in fast-paced and evolving industries – this and my interest in marketing brought me to digital marketing. There is so much to learn and every time you think you’ve figured everything out, there’s a new update, technical issue or trend you can read about.
V: I moved to London because I always wanted to work abroad, and English was the language I stayed fluent in after finishing school and university back in Germany. I was always passionate about languages and had a background in the marketing industry – at Locaria I was able to combine both passions.
C: I’ve loved languages since I was a kid. As soon as I started to learn English at school, I knew I wanted to make a living of it. Initially, I was interested in teaching languages, but as I grew up I discovered that there were many other interesting roles in the language industry. I was also exposed to travelling from an early age, which impacted my decision to study languages: I was curious to discover new places and the languages spoken there. All this lead me to study Translation and Interpreting at university, and I also did a master’s degree in Marketing, which was another field that I really liked. I’ve been lucky to be able to combine both fields in the latest roles I have worked on!
How did you get to where you are/doing the work that you do?
A: As mentioned before, you can never stop. Every day and every client is different, so you have to make sure to be constantly updated to be able to give the best advice. Especially when working with fashion clients – there are always so many new trends to consider while creating new content or campaigns.
V: I already did a couple of internships during college: I worked for a photographer, wrote articles for a magazine, and did PR for a concert agency. Whilst at university, I started working as an editor and project manager for a national magazine, and then worked there full-time after I finished my Bachelors. I also got my hands on a few marketing campaigns: created them from scratch, pitched the concepts to clients, organised the video and photo shoots and more. However, at some point I decided I wanted to learn something new. So, I started looking for jobs abroad in a marketing branch I had no experience in – digital marketing.
C: As soon as I finished university in Spain, I moved to London and worked as a Spanish Language Assistant in a school for 2 years, which I combined with some translation work on the side. However, as my background was related to the translation and localisation industry, I decided to do an internship in Translation Project Management, which I really enjoyed and was the starting point of my career in the field. Since then, I have been able to continue working in Translation Project Management. As I have gained more experience in the role, I have developed new skills and specialised in different services within the field.
Who do you look up to, both in and outside of your field?
A: On IWD I look up to every woman in the digital industry who is confident, shows persistence, and proves that this not a field only for men. If I would have to pick one specific person I would choose my mum (I know, cheesy). She decided to study a subject, despite everyone saying that it ‘wasn’t for women’ and started her class with 500 other men. She always made sure that my sisters and I knew that there isn’t anything we can’t do as long as we really want it. I think knowing this, influenced me and my choices in many ways.
V: I do not look up to anyone in particular, but I do have a few dreams and purposes I follow. For me, it is important that what you do makes you happy and keeps you motivated. And if not, be brave enough to try something new, maybe even take a risk – it will be worth it for sure. Just be aware of your own value and always ask yourself if your job is worth your time.
C: To be honest, it would be unfair to give just one name. I think there are plenty of talented people in the field, and quite a lot of them are women who have worked and are currently working on developing the localisation industry. The same applies to other fields. I don’t admire anyone in particular, but I do admire specific skills like self-confidence and determination, adaptability, and also the ability to share knowledge and value others, as well as taking risks.
Do you think there is a lack of women in the digital sector? If yes/no, why do you think that is?
A: In the digital sector, yes, but it’s getting better. I think unfortunately the reason for that is our upbringing. There are certain traditional and outdated characteristics assigned to girls and boys growing up. These can instil the confidence to pursue a career in a specific field, or a fear of starting something because of this pervasive message that ‘boys are better at it’.
V: I think it is the contrary: The language industry is full of talented women. Even back in the day, I and my girlfriends used to be the ones with the good grades in English and other foreign languages while our male classmates were more keen on anything scientific. And I think that this trend is also reflected by the wider working industry. Men are more likely to work in technical and science-related jobs while women are the ones leading content-related fields such as Marketing or language services.
C: Luckily, the language services industry is one of the exceptions: there are definitely more women than men. Locaria is a great example! Theoretical studies aside, the reality is that most of the universities offering translation studies have a majority of female students, both historically and nowadays. The same applies to the actual business, as a high percentage of people working in the translation and localisation industry are women.
Do you think there’s more that could be done in schools to promote digital literacy and/or language skills to make young people aware of the variety of roles available?
A: I am sure there is more schools can do to promote equality. However, this is not just the school’s responsibility. It’s everyone’s responsibility to treat boys and girls equally from a young age and show them that they aren’t different from one another. I think this will open more doors and opportunities for both sides.
V: There is a lot of potential for how we can encourage young women to level up their game and try new things that maybe no-one in their family has done before. I think the change that needs to happen is in the way we interact with each other. We need to re-think the stigmas that might be hanging above our heads like clouds. The digital landscape and world offer a lot of possibilities.
C: I would say that nowadays language-learning and digital literacy play a very important role in schools and universities. When it comes to language-learning at school, I think it should be compulsory for students to study at least one foreign language at GCSE, as it makes students aware of the importance of languages outside their mother tongue, and encourages their interest in other cultures from an early age. I think, however, that the variety of roles available in the language industry is not that clear to students when they’re still at school. Schools should organise more events in which people with experience in the industry give students an overview of the different options available if they decide to study languages.
What do you feel are the benefits of working in this field?
A: It’s a constant learning process, so you never get into a routine or get bored. The different clients present variety and different challenges which make it more exciting.
V: The cultural exchange is amazing. You can travel the world to learn more about other countries and their cultural habits. But working in such a diverse environment is truly fulfilling and mind-broadening.
C: When you work in languages, you interact with many different people from different backgrounds and countries. To me this is the main benefit: it makes you open-minded, tolerant and culturally rich.
What advice would you give to women considering a career in this industry? What main things should they know, and what skills do you feel would serve them best?
A: You need a willingness to learn, and a passion for digital work. Understanding consumer behaviour, psychology and marketing also really help when building successful content campaigns. Along with being creative, it’s essential to have analytical knowledge to be able to measure your processes. As with any other industry, it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t force yourself into something that you don’t naturally enjoy or aren’t good at. Embrace your skills and try to find a department/company that helps you with that process. Once you find the right thing, everything else will come naturally.
V: Internships can be a great opportunity to see if this industry is something you can imagine yourself working in. You might not get this answer directly after one internship, but every experience will help you get closer. Being proactive and keen to learn new things are key in this fast-paced environment. Last but not least: Do not fear challenges – you can only learn from them.
C: The translation and localisation industry is relatively young and it’s growing fast, so there are plenty of exciting opportunities to learn and develop in many different roles. An internship, either in translation or project management, is a good starting point, as it will give you an insight into the different aspects involved in the job. As in every industry, you have to be ready to work hard and face challenges, but that’s part of the excitement!