While many industries suffered terribly during the Recession of 2008, the language services sector almost uniformly did not feel the full effect of the economic downturn. Most attribute this to the steady rise in globalization of business and diversification of supply chains on a global scale. These factors are at the heart of why the language services industry has grown to over $26 billion dollars in revenue as of 2010, according to Common Sense Advisory (CSA).
In a CSA article on ways to recession-proof one’s company, the research showed that seeking sales abroad was one of the best ways to ensure profit. CSA research shows that companies are likely to earn a higher margin from sales made overseas.
The last few decades have shown a progressive shift in purchasing from local marketplaces to the global marketplace, a real pro for the language industry. The globalization trend has allowed for new areas of translation including the translation of content for the web.Companies, large and small, are translating web content not just for marketing purposes, as has been common for more than 15 years, but increasingly for e-commerce and other non-marketing content.
Localization for the web
Desktop computers, laptops, smart phones and tablet devices are continuing to be more widely available, and that trend leads to an increase in the demand for applications and web content worldwide. Translators who specialize in localization not only translate content, but ensure that the message will resonate with the target audience. Reputed language service providers adhere to best practices and use native translators who know which words to use and how to use them, in order to carry the same meaning as the original document.
Research by CSA has shown that people are 75% more likely to purchase goods and services online if the site is available in their native language, in which they feel more comfortable.
Using the services of a translation agency one that uses industry best practices businesses can ensure a translation that not only sounds good, but will make potential customers more comfortable with purchasing goods and services.
Demand for translation in the U.S.
The United States has experienced immigration in large numbers in the last couple of decades, bringing many people of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) to the country. While some new immigrants and refugees find jobs that require them to learn advanced English right away, others may not have the need or desire to learn English at such a high level.
To reach this subset of the population, organizations often work with language service providers.
Private-sector businesses and nonprofit organizations alike use translation to reach new and larger target audiences. And in some cases, translation and interpretation is necessary. In fact, lack of or inaccurate translation or interpretation can lead to potentially deadly complications in extreme cases.
The medical field is full of opportunities for communication errors, with results ranging from something innocuous to death. A way to make sure patients understand the risks of a surgery or the side effects of their medication is to rely on professional language services.
Whether an interpreter helps a patient speak with his or her physician or a translator rewrites a prescription label to ensure correct dosage, the language industry helps transfer essential information involved in a patient’s health care.
Court translation ensures fair trial
The country’s judicial system boasts the concept of a fair trial, but convicting someone of a crime when they don’t completely understand the process or the consequences could jeopardize that principle. Interpreters are used to relaying information from one party to another, when one or both parties would be unable to understand each other fully.
While the use of government funds for interpreting services has been a controversial topic in the past, interpreters continue to be a common and vital part of many court proceedings.
The future of translation
Machine Translation (MT) technology has vastly improved over the past several years, and is increasingly affecting the translation industry. Some people and organizations have begun using software-based translation solutions in lieu of human translators or even software-assisted human translators. While MT may have legitimate, practical uses, it is unlikely in the foreseeable future to replace Human Translation, when the resulting content must have a high level of accuracy, grammar and/or syntax.
Human translators, unlike machines, can decipher the meaning of a document and ensure that the message will reach an audience that speaks a different language.
Until the world speaks a universal language, which is not likely to ever happen, there will be a demand for language services. The one thing that will surely change is the reason why translation or interpretation is needed. With constantly changing technology and a shifting global structure, it’s anyone’s guess how language companies will be affected next.