Will Demand for Translation Service Providers Continue to Grow?

November 7, 2019


If you are old enough to remember mainframe computing, you might remember the IBM  battle cry, "We'll be a paperless society by the end of the 1970s." Half a century later, we still use a lot of paper (300 million tons annually) and seem stuck in the Gutenburg rut. So, despite rapid advancements in technology, the grass is not always greener and some people will always be resistant to change. In fact, World Paper Free Day was November 6 this year but you likely forgot to write that down on your desk calendar. Nonetheless, the good news for translation service providers is that machine translation can only do parts of the job and entirely automated translations are not expected in the near future. What is expected is an increase in the demand for frequently translated languages as well as more discrete languages spoken in areas of global expansion.

Don't get me wrong. Technology is changing all aspects of today's world at a phenomenal pace but, so far, it seems to have helped translation service providers to raise their game. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for interpreters and translators is expected to increase more than 20% over the next eight years. This is due in large part to the globalization of the world marketplace as well as non-English speaking immigrants migrating to the United States. With English as the source language, the demand for frequently translated languages such as French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish will remain strong as the demand for widely used Asian languages, such as Japanese, Chinese and Korean continue to grow at a rapid rate. Moreover, localization will have to account for cultural trends, linguistic traits, differing keyword usage and the changes in online search queries, especially for marketing, merchandising and sales.

In the current climate, the overall future of the translation and interpretation industry looks bright. Although many organizations may settle for the cheapest approach available for translation services, innovative companies will see the expense to be well worth the opportunity to differentiate and provide quality online experiences for non-native speaking clients and consumers. Indeed, the number of new language opportunities will be substantial as the need to translate content into an increasing number of unique languages (and dialects) continues to expand the growth of the global village. Even small companies now have a global reach that was previously reserved for enterprise level corporations and America's largest brands. As for now, expect neural machine translators to improve the delivery of services, so translation providers can enjoy bigger profits.

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