The Growing Role of Data Translators


The collection of data is essential to the success of any business or organization today; however, the mere accumulation of massive piles of data is not enough – unlocking the value is often complex and requires complex communication between the business and technical sides of the operation. This critical synchronization is where data translators make a difference.

Data Translators Defined

Data translators help an organization go from raw data to meaningful and actionable information by bridging the gap between decision-makers and data scientists. LinkedIn explains what the role of data translators looks like today:

Role of data translators - Data expert holding a magnifying glass over a set of raw data.

“Data Translator is a role that has recently emerged from an inevitable intersection of Data Science & Analytics and Business Processing. As more and more corporations and organizations put Analytics, AI, Machine Learning, Modeling, and other related technologies to use, there is even more risk that essential data or the insights collected might get lost somewhere in the middle” [1].

Organizations are scrambling to hire these individuals; that urgency is driven by the fact that only 18% of corporations believe they are using their data efficiently, a recent study states [2]. If more than four out of five businesses are not capitalizing on all the data they capture, then a significant problem is afoot.

Data Translators Bridge the Gap

Another excellent way to think of a data translator is as a go-between person. They stand between the data scientists and the decision-makers within an organization. These two disciplines often find it challenging to communicate effectively with one another, which leads to neither side achieving their desired end state

A data translator must be someone who can “talk the talk” of data scientists as well as executive decision-makers. This individual can easily understand the business implications of the data that has flooded the business. They can then explain what it all means to someone who doesn’t necessarily understand the data [3].

To give an example, a great data translator uses the vernacular of a strategic VP when breaking down their business decision and recommendation, but they simultaneously understand why a data scientist is clamoring to lower an algorithm’s P-Value before their strategic VP gets ahold of the output and tries to act on it.

Data Translators Do Well Working with Different Personalities

It is often the case that the field of data science attracts a certain type of personality, namely introverts. These individuals love to get into the weeds of their data; however, they might not enjoy establishing interpersonal connections with the business leaders that desperately require data science expertise.

Skills of data translators - A data expert accessing raw business data using a tablet device.On the other side of the coin, the executive decision-makers in an organization might not have the personality necessary to deal with data. They are people of action by nature, and they don’t necessarily stop to think about the data that must go into every decision. They might clash with the data scientists because of this juxtaposition.

Data translators stand in the middle between these individuals and create a dialogue. They work hard to ensure a free flow of information between the different types of people within the organization.

Data Translators Have These Skills

      1. A Curious Mind. It is necessary to ask questions to the organization’s data scientists and executive decision-makers. Therefore, good data translators must possess a curious mind and a desire to get to the bottom of their questions.
      2. Every data translator must be willing to stand up and challenge pervasive assumptions that may exist within the organization. They cannot be afraid to uncover employees’ hesitations or (often relevant) concerns with their data.
      3. Business Smarts. A data translator must think from the result back to the data; they can set a valuable and achievable business outcome.
      4. An Analytic Mind. Looking over data presented by data scientists and translating it requires that the translator understands what the data means for themselves as well.

Let Liberty Advisor Group Help You

These are just a few things that any data translator will undoubtedly need. With these attributes and skills under your belt, you can become a data translator.

This field is not going away anytime soon. It will only grow as more and more companies understand their absolute need to have translators help them parse through the data. Here at Liberty Advisor Group, we can help you better understand the role and how you can get involved if you would like. Please get in touch with us for more information about this exciting career field.

[1] – LinkedIn

[2] – Survey

[3] – Forbes


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