Skip to main

Carrie: Localization Professional Leading with French & Spanish

Professionals across industries and skill levels are sharing the value of language learning

Portrait photo of Carrie
Share this page:

Meet Carrie—Globalization Services Manager at Subway.

I love what I do, which is helping companies create and execute their localization strategies. If I hadn’t majored in French, I would not have found the path that I am still on today.

Languages: English, French, Spanish

Grew Up In: Arlington Heights, Illinois

College & Majors/Minors: French at Northern Illinois University

Study Abroad: Avignon, France

Additional Training or Certifications: LIFE

How have your language and cultural skills supported and/or enhanced your professional opportunities?

Little did I know at the time of graduating with a French degree that I would become a successful localization professional. I had a talent for languages. I loved learning them, speaking them and visiting the different countries where they were spoken. I took the advice of my dad, who told me and my sisters to pick our studies by figuring out what we loved, because that was going to be our career. After 30 years in the localization industry, I know it was the right move. I love what I do, which is helping companies create and execute their localization strategies. If I hadn’t majored in French, I would not have found the path that I am still on today.

What advice would you share with current language learners or those considering studying a language?

If languages are your passion, then continue to learn them! There are so many careers in the localization industry that will put your languages skills to good use. There are also many careers outside the localization industry that will consider a second or third language a huge asset. It’s so important to do what you love because it is easy to pour your heart and soul into something that makes you feel worthwhile, successful (and not just monetary) and contributing to making the world a better place.

It’s often said that English is the language of global business, and because of that, language skills aren’t necessary to succeed. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

I wonder if the same question is posed to people in Japan or Finland? And by the way, that is no longer the case in Canada. You must provide all communications, contracts, etc. in French Canadian if you provide them in English. Sometimes it’s not just about knowing a language, it’s experiencing another culture. If you are unintentionally rude to someone in a business setting in Japan, you may never be able to break into that market. Language and culture can be intertwined in some countries.

Do you have an interesting, moving, or humorous anecdote featuring your language skills to share?

It’s more a cultural moment than a language skill moment. I remember my first and only business trip to Japan. The Japan team from my company was frustrated at my lack of understanding about getting a translation perfect. They flew me out to Tokyo and took me around to all the partners who were selling our software. I had to sit quietly for hours listening to how three wrong words in a 300-page document ruined their chances of selling our software into different companies. After we were through meeting with all the partners, they said, “Now you know what we have to go through!” It was eye-opening and it made for a wonderful partnership between me and the Japan team going forward. We came up with a process that ensured translation quality for the Japanese partners. Being willing to listen, learn and come to their country in person was so important for understanding what it means to be successful in Japan.

Check out our Connect with French or Spanish pages—or explore another language of your choosing—for information about university programs, scholarship opportunities, testimonials, and more!

Then tell us how you put your language skills to work @LangConnectsFdn on social media.

Know a multilingual professional who's using language skills in their work or career? Refer them to us for consideration in an upcoming Professional Profile.