The volatility of the financial market and the dawn of the digital age have left many industries constantly unsure of what the future has in store.
The translation services industry, however, can look to the future with a little bit more confidence.
According to a recent report by IBIS World, the translation services industry has been robust for the past five years as more non-native English speakers come to the US, and more US-based companies market their products and services overseas. Globalization and the fast changing rules of immigration are also key factors in the increasing significance of professional translators.
Multinational corporations alone, which hold offices in various parts of the globe and as such, are required to communicate with multilingual employees, form a huge and lucrative chunk of the industry’s client base.
The Spanish Group Marketing Director Roberto Martinez shared, “President Obama’s executive action on immigration led to a surge in immigration-related Spanish translation service requests. Notably, we saw an increase in requests for Mexican birth certificate translations.”
The same IBIS World report noted that the translation service industry’s contribution to the economy will likely “increase at an average annual rate of 5.6 percent” until 2020. This is an impressive figure given that the US GDP is anticipated to grow at 2.5 percent annually during the same period. By 2018, the translation services industry is expected to be worth $37 billion, with the US being the largest single market, followed by Europe and Asia.
Technical translations are foreseen to generate a lot of the business in the near future, especially with higher exports and influx of gadgets and automobiles manufactured in other parts of the world. Pharmaceutical and medical translations are also in demand in Latin America, Europe and particularly in the Asia Pacific region.
It is also worth noting that, despite the continued sophistication and effectiveness of computers in performing manual tasks including translations, human translators will continue to be the main players in the industry. Another resource website noted that “machine translation is an enabler to do translation faster or used for gisting but not for final professional publishing.”
Martinez added, “This is great news but this is hardly surprising for us in the industry. We know that translating is, at the end of the day, a subjective trade because our main currency, language, is fluid and dynamic. Language is full of nuances which a machine can never fully comprehend, and thus, can never accurately translate.”
Lorenzo Saavedra is a San Francisco-based Colombian writer. He has a degree in Journalism and Economics from the University of Miami where he graduated with Latin honors. He is fluent in Spanish, English, Italian, and also speaks “some Arabic.”
During his time in the university, he wrote about Cuban-American population and relations, and the incorporation of Cuban-Americans into mainstream American society.
Lorenzo juggles his time between working as a freelance writer and travelling which is also a source of inspiration for many of his works. His favorite topics are politics and social issues, literary and film criticism, and business.
Lorenzo enjoys going to the beach and learning about new languages.