The Translation Agency Industry’s Top-Earning Career Paths
Adaptive’s recruiters are often asked by candidates how they can build their careers to raise their market value and earnings. Here we share our map of the paths which lead to some of the top-paying roles in the global language services industry.
First things first - you don’t have to be a salesperson to make big bucks.
Often when Adaptive is approached by candidates looking to up their earnings in the language services industry, there’s an expectation that only the high-flying BDMs and C-suite management are making top money.
After all, BDMs are on commission plans and signing big customer deals can be very lucrative. And it’s true – top BDMs and sales managers can be making as much as anyone on this list.
But salespeople not the only ones with strong pay packages in the language industry.
In fact, we’ve left sales out of our list below to offer alternate options to translation and localization industry professionals looking to build their careers.
So here we go - four routes to top-paying roles if cold calling isn’t your thing:
1. Business Unit Leadership
e.g. VP Life Sciences, VP Engineering
Broad-ranging VP titles usually signify a role that is a mix of client relations, operations and specific expertise in a particular area.
Professionals in these positions are in charge of ‘business units’ which operate like mini-companies within the larger organization, focused on one specific area – such as services to the Life Sciences market or engineering services.
This means the VP’s responsibility is wide, often covering a separate profit and loss account for their unit. VPs leading these areas can come from a variety of backgrounds, but have often worked their way up an internal hierarchy where their increasing experience makes them more and more valuable.
They head up hiring, account management and ensure that their company’s service offering continues to be competitive and evolve with the market.
Career Entry Point: Project Manager, Account Manager, BDM
Key Skill: ability to combine rounded business skills with deep subject-matter expertise
Average Salary Range: $100,000 - $160,000 + bonus
2. Internal Technology Management
e.g. CTO, VP of Technology
At the highest level, technology managers need to be more than just experts in localization workflows, and lead areas such as networking, security, compliance, training, technology change management, data recovery and more.
Their focus is on the role technology plays in helping the company reach strategic goals and impacting overall P&L.
Localization career paths typically go from specialist to generalist with candidates building a base in CAT tools, internal and client workflows and then rounding out generalist IT competencies to continue progressing.
Career Entry Point: CAT Tools Specialist, Localization Technology Manager, Localization Engineer
Average Salary Range: $120,000 - $180,000 + bonus
Key skill: ability to visualize and implement technology changes which make high-value improvements to the global organization
3. Operations & General Management
e.g. VP Operations, General Manager
A great goal for Project Managers!
Many of the industry’s top-paid professionals in operations (production) leadership started ‘in the trenches’ as PMs. Growth in this career channel comes from deep first-hand knowledge of internal workflows, aptitude for working directly with key customers and versatile operational skills – organization, planning, financial management and personnel leadership.
As operations candidates move up the career ladder, they broaden their generalist business skills and combine them with their expert knowledge of localization processes to eventually step up and take overall responsibility.
Career Entry Point: Project Manager, QA Manager
Salary range: $120,000 - $150,000 + bonus
Key skill: ability to design and maintain efficient teams and workflows to deliver reliably and profitably for customers
4. Client Solutions Development
e.g. VP Client Solutions, Global Solutions Manager
A specialist team within most LSPs, solutions professionals focus on bridging the gap between sales, production and IT.
Their focus is building creative solutions for prospective and existing customers, which involves customizing, integrating and potentially selecting new tools to bring together clients’ existing technology systems and those used by the LSP.
Many client solutions experts get their start in engineering and are well versed in CAT tools, but also work to develop strong client relationship skills throughout their careers. Often professionals in this space work on the client side for at least a few years, building inside knowledge from the buyer perspective.
At the top of the tree, global managers for solutions teams build some of the most advanced workflows in commercial localization.
Career Entry Point: Localization Engineer, CAT Tools Specialist, Project Manager, Account Manager
Salary range: $130,000 - $150,000 + bonus
Key skill: ability to think creatively to create unique technology-based workflow solutions