A day in the life of a File Engineer

The Language Services industry has many career opportunities for new graduates and college leavers. These are usually less well known than typical interpreting and translating roles, but are critical to the smooth running of any Language Service Provider (LSP).

Over the coming weeks Capita Translation and Interpreting will be running a series of blogs on careers within the industry to highlight the range of opportunities available, beginning this week with ‘File Engineering’. 

Mark Unitt, Head of File Engineering, describes what it is like on a daily basis working within the File Engineering department and the journey he has undergone to get here.

Describe what you do on a day-to-day basis?

My working day follows a familiar routine – first I check the overnight emails and delete deal with them accordingly.

Then the first of the petitioners, or Project Managers as they are otherwise known as, will appear.

“Oh, Sensei”, they begin. “Please help us for we have a problem that is beyond the understanding of us mere mortals”.

These Project Managers will want the files they have received from their customers made “translator friendly”. This is so that the translators can focus on the text for translation, and not the structure of the file. They will then, of course, want the process reversed once the translation is complete.

There will be many unsuccessful Project Managers, who have “forgotten” their files or the details of their request.  They are destined to be disappointed and the worst offenders are those who turn up with PDFs and ask with big puppy-dog eyes if the file will be usable!

At the end of the day, when the last of the Project Managers has departed there will be a moment of calm. I can then head off for an evening of Zen-like contemplation about the universe, association football and other higher matters!

How did you become a File Engineer?

During my time working in the translation industry, I have held a large number of positions:

Emergency receptionist, Telesales, Copy typist, Layout corrector, Software developer, IT buyer, Project Manager, Typesetter/DTP operator, Font of all knowledge and wisdom (!) , IT support, Translator (!), Interpreter booker, Furniture mover, Shoulder to cry on, General technical assistance, Trainer, Light bulb changer, Helping hand, Solutions developer, Team Leader, Machine Translation engineer, Sales support, Solutions architect and then, somehow, I found myself in the File Engineering department!

What are the most challenging requests you receive?

I often find myself in the position of someone being asked for directions by a lost traveller, or more usually his wife! The answer you want to give is “well, I wouldn’t start from here”, which while being factually correct, is not actually very helpful.

This is often the case with File Engineering; you will have a good idea of where you need to go, to deliver what the client wants, but the starting point is going to make the journey much more difficult.

What are your favourite types of requests?

Tea requests, of course! On a more serious note, my favourite type of request is one where there is a bit of a challenge, the chance to explore a new or unusual file type and to create a solution around it.

What would your advice for newcomers be?

Finally, what would you do if you weren’t a File Engineer?

Ah, one of those tricky philosophical questions. It would have to be one of the following:

The possibilities are endless…

“Oh. And world peace”

If you would like to find out more about a career in File Engineering, or in the Language Services industry in general, contact marketing@capita-ti.com. In the meantime why not visit our website to find out how we can help you in all your language requirements.


Head of Product Development with our Language Solutions team, Mark has worked within the localisation industry for 30 years in a variety of roles including Project Management, Software Development, IT Support, Technical Consultant and Translation Support. His work in the Language Solutions team mainly focuses on machine translation and CMS translation integration.

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