by Yi-Ping Liao MATLM '20

Headshot of Yi-Ping Lao, a 2020 graduate of the MA in Translation and Localization Management

Middlebury Institute graduates discuss where they are working today, how the Institute helped them get there, and what advice they’d give to current and future MIIS students.

My name is Yi-Ping Liao and I graduated from the Middlebury Institute in 2020 with an MA in Translation and Localization Management (TLM). My language of study was Chinese.

Currently

Localization Project Manager, Unity Technologies, Remote

Setting the Right Mindset

I received great career advice throughout my two years at MIIS from the entire Center for Advising and Career Services team. Whenever I had an interview invite, I would always set up at least one mock interview with Winnie Heh, Edy Rhodes, or Bryce Craft to practice.

Winnie helped me set the right mindset to handle setbacks during the job search process. I used to feel very upset … I considered interviewing with a company and getting rejected a waste of time and effort, but I learned through Winnie’s guidance that every interview is a learning opportunity: learning about each company and their business model; learning from the interviewers who are industry veterans; reflecting on myself, my past experience, and my career plan through answering similar questions again and again.

I used to feel very upset … I considered interviewing with a company and getting rejected a waste of time and effort, but I learned through Winnie’s guidance that every interview is a learning opportunity.
— Yi-Ping Lao

Connecting the Classroom to Industry

Two courses, in particular, came in handy: Software and Games Localization, and Multilingual Desktop Publishing and AudioVisual with Professor Max Troyer. The two courses introduced me to the common file and content types we work with at both vendor and client-side companies, so I was able to pick up production processes faster. Most importantly, I learned about Unity Editor, the core product of my current employer, through the Software and Games Localization class. If it hadn’t been for this course, I would not have gotten interested in the product and the company, let alone attempted to learn and use such complex software by myself. The hands-on experience with the product and understanding of what impact the company has on the gaming industry definitely helped me stand out in my interview process.

Another helpful class was Quality and Vendor Management with Professor Eva Klaudinyova. I learned localization quality assurance (LQA) processes in depth and how tech companies implement them, which is an essential part of my current role. The class also gave me a general idea of the framework and tools companies use to manage the performance of their vendors and their relationships. Even after graduation, I often review my notes and materials from these two classes.

The “Perfect” Job?

Start your job search early if you can! I started my job search six months before graduation, which seemed too early at the time, but it turned out to be beneficial in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. I knew finding a job would be a significant burden on my mind. Doing nothing didn’t ease my anxiety so I decided that applying and interviewing for jobs would be a better use of my time than sitting around worrying about what might happen. Starting early enabled me to secure a localization internship at Unity, which like many other tech companies, releases its internship openings six to eight months before they start.

Don’t fixate on one “perfect” job. Focus on what you need most from a company and be open-minded. I took the internship at Unity even though it started after I graduated because I didn’t want to limit my opportunities to work at the companies that I was really interested in. After a few months, I was able to convert that internship into a full-time position.

Follow Genuine Interest

Passion goes a long way. Looking back at my job search journey, I realize that I always had better interview experiences and results when I genuinely admired and wanted to work for the company. It’s hard for me to fake that passion … I wouldn’t believe myself and what I was saying so I appeared less confident. I may not have fallen in love with every company, but there are ways to spark genuine interest and eventually find a passion for them. I watched keynote speeches from annual conferences and interviews with the company founders. These videos often stress company values, why they make their products or provide their services, and what impact their product or services have on the world. I found it way more effective than reading descriptions from their websites—we are more likely to be moved by watching people speak than reading text on a screen.