Now that the flurry of 2014 interpretation and translation predictions is over we thought we’d tackle what may be in store for the language services industry slightly further down the road.
While no one can predict the future, language service providers who don’t try to anticipate industry changes and trends may soon become irrelevant. We hope these thoughts are helpful to you as you plan your 2015 strategy for your own translation and interpretation needs.
Going Global For Real This Time
Many of us tend to think that we already live in a global marketplace bound together via the Internet. That’s not as true as you might think. As of June 2012 (the latest reliable statistics we could find) only about 34% of the world population was online. In Europe only about 64% of people have Internet access. In Africa that percentage is 16%. We think that figure will balloon in 2014-15.
That means many more businesses and organizations will need websites and marketing collateral translated into more languages. Companies will have new global expansion opportunities. The ability to communicate in different languages will grow even more important both socially and economically. Look for many more translation opportunities on the web over the next 12-15 months.
Greater Demand For Regional Dialects
A wider range of not just languages but regional dialects will be in demand in 2014-15. Just translating into the right language won’t be enough. Localization will gain prominence. To serve local markets effectively, marketers will need website content and other marketing materials that are localized to the individual region’s culture and dialect.
Translation Moves From Compliance to Revenue Driver
In the past, many translations have been done because of obligations forced by regulators. Like Belgium’s Xplanation points out, today and in the future, language will increasingly be viewed as a revenue generator. In 2014-15, banks, corporations, and other organizations will consider language as a way to add value. An October 2012 research report from Common Sense Advisory already shows that multiple language websites are more likely to rank higher in revenue and traffic volume.
Google’s preference for content over links is one reason why website content increased by a factor of four in 2013 alone according to the United Kingdom-based translation agency, The Language Factory. owH How will companies easily increase their online content? Many will begin the easy and simple way—by translating not just their websites but also their blog, Twitter feed, Facebook updates, and other social media.
No International Language
Because of the trends we already mentioned above, Interpreters and Translators thinks there will not be one international language. Years ago it seemed like English would become the language of the world. In some ways, it is now. But with the individuality that today’s technology allows no one should have to learn any one language to communicate across the globe. Rather than globalization leading to a reduction of languages we think globalization and new technology will lead to the preservation of individual languages. Yes, some languages are disappearing. But we think others are gaining more prominence and marketers and others will continue to use technology to make it easier for major languages to expand into new regions, cultures and people.
Better And Better Machine Translation
The likes of Google Translate will become more sophisticated throughout the rest of 2014 and 2015. But don’t worry. Machine translation (MT) will not threaten the translation industry. The rise of MT will be partly driven by economics (less costly) and by time (making those too tight deadlines.)
However, translating documents is a skilled and technical job that demands reasoning skills, cultural knowledge, and the human touch. We don’t see that changing. And, as the Language Factory points out, if a human has written the source language it could contain misleading errors which a computer is unlikely to pick up on and correct the way a second human translator can and often does. Machine translation will continue to be used as an enabler and productivity enhancer as opposed to a replacement for human translation.
What else do you see on the horizon for the language service industry? How will translation and interpretation be different a year or three years from now? What are your clients demanding that was never a concern a few years ago? We’d like to hear your ideas about the future.
About Interpreters and Translators, Inc.
iTi’s dedicated and experienced team offers a wide range of multilingual solutions for domestic and global corporations in a variety of industries. Do you require translation services to enhance your global marketing and sales initiatives or interpreter services to communicate across languages? We specialize in custom language solutions and work with over 200 languages so regardless of the barrier you face, we will work together in synergy to bridge the gap to ensure success. Please feel free to contact us through a message or by calling 860-362-0812. Our offices are open 24/7/365 so we can respond immediately to your interpreting or translation needs anytime, anywhere.