What is the future of the translation industry?

One might think that the future of the translation industry is uncertain. The rise of new technologies like artificial intelligence, the global economic slowdown, and the omnipresence of English in our daily lives are all factors that could threaten the translation industry.

But whether it’s international commerce or leisure activities, translation continues to bridge the gap between languages, enabling individuals and organizations to connect and understand each other. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of the translation industry and how it continues to evolve in response to the ever-changing global landscape.

Key Industry Figures

In our interconnected world, where borders are increasingly blurred and international communication is essential, the translation industry always has a crucial role to play:

  • Today, the translation industry employs more than 640,000 translators and interpreters worldwide, and more than half of the world’s translation volume is in Europe while 35% is in North America and 10% in Asia (Source: European Commission – Translating Europe Forum 2019).
  • According to the 2023 ELIS study, the translation market continues to grow and diversify: demand for translation services remains strong while new services are emerging, such as machine translation and audiovisual language services.
  • The language services industry will account for $64.7 billion in 2022, rising to $69.3 billion in 2023 (Source: Nimzdi). The machine translation market alone was estimated to be worth $650 million in 2020, and is projected to exceed $3 billion by 2027 (Global Market Insights).

Facilitating International Trade

In the age of globalization and the rise of social networking, companies continue to extend their reach beyond their country of origin. It is then necessary to translate materials like marketing and product documentation, as well as legal contracts, into the target language of target markets.

When it comes to e-commerce, around 40% of users said they would never buy from websites not written in their native language, and 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase products from websites translated into their mother tongue (CSA Research).

According to T-Index, having your website translated into the eight languages most represented on the Internet (English, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, German, Portuguese, Italian and French) would enable you to reach 80% of the world’s online purchasing power. A professional translation service guarantees accurate translations that respect your content, helping you to convey your message effectively and build trust with your international customers. Furthermore, language service providers have specialist knowledge of the target sector, thus facilitating international business transactions.

You, too, can make your content accessible to the whole world. Find out more about our language services.

Preserving Cultural Diversity and Breaking Down Language Barriers

Languages are the vehicle of human communication and are deeply linked to culture. In our globalized societies, our ability to overcome language and cultural barriers is vital for successful interactions. The translation industry enables the exchange of ideas, information, and knowledge worldwide, ensuring effective communication between individuals, companies, and governments.

Although English is one of the most prevalent languages on the Internet (it accounts for over 25% of web content worldwide), Chinese comes second with almost 20% and Spanish third with around 8% (Speakt). The other half is divided between the languages spoken in the world’s 197 countries. The European Union is an excellent example of this: it is the world’s leading linguistic player and has asserted its policy in favor of multilingualism (24 official languages), requiring translation of certain document types at the national level (for example, the Toubon law in France), and regulations and activity reports at the Community level.

Translators don’t just transfer words from one language to another. They also convey the nuances and cultural references specific to a region. A clear example of this is translation of literature, films and other creative works, which ensures that all cultures can be appreciated and understood worldwide. In this way, the translation industry promotes intercultural dialogue, enriches our societies, and fosters a sense of unity in diversity.

Discover our multilingual translation services to support your international development.

The Rise of Localization

Localization, the process of adapting content to a specific location or target market, has become a crucial aspect of the translation industry. Localization goes beyond translation, taking into account cultural nuances, local preferences, and regional requirements. Companies are investing in localization services to adapt their products, websites and software to different markets, to ensure that their offerings resonate with local audiences. This trend highlights the growing demand for translation services that integrate cultural adaptation for maximum impact.

In an environment where a company’s development relies on international communication linked to the Internet, e-commerce, IoT, as well as the rise of activities such as elearning, streaming or video games, localization still has a bright future ahead of it. For example, according to Localize, companies that have invested in localizing their content are 1.5 times more likely to see an increase in sales.

Technological Advances

Technological advances (including artificial intelligence and natural language processing) are having a major impact on the translation industry, profoundly transforming the way translations are carried out. For example, neural machine translation, which has been undergoing accelerated development in recent years, makes translation accessible to a wider audience and enables translations to be obtained rapidly.

At ITC, our humAIn™ service reduces your translation costs and turnaround times with AI-generated translation and human post-editing. As we all know, human translators still play an essential role in guaranteeing the accuracy, cultural sensitivity, and nuanced interpretation of the language.

We harness technology to improve productivity and deliver high-quality translations, while maintaining a balance between automation and the human touch.

Conclusion

As our world continues to evolve, the translation industry will remain at the forefront, adapting and innovating to meet the ever-increasing demands of human society. By eliminating language barriers, facilitating international trade, preserving cultural diversity and adapting to technological advances, language service providers promote effective communication and mutual understanding. We are an essential facilitator of intercultural communication for global companies, ensuring that language is not a barrier but a pathway to a more inclusive and connected world.

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