In the past decade, we have seen the translation industry go through two very critical changes in the way professionals work. What used to be merely translating documents is now broken down into two segments i.e., globalization and specialization.
Human translation has improved and significantly transformed with companies now being able to employ people from halfway across the world. So, unlike over two decades ago when professional translators would only operate in their domestic markets, today they can operate anywhere they are needed.
Competition in the market has led to the segmentation of what was a wider translation industry. So, you have translators that specialize in translating specific type of technical documents or those who translate advertising. Being able to specialize in a particular kind of translation helps some compete by targeting a specific unsaturated and less competitive niche. Plus, most are competing against robot translators who are far from precise but in many cases are free to use!
The Effect of Globalization on the Translation Industry
The internet has brought with it an array of modern trends like instant messaging, blogging, social media and there is a lot more to come. All of these have taken over our lives, and that’s one reason why the translation industry, for the most part, has gone global. So, there are no geographical boundaries when it comes to choosing where you work or who you work with on a project. Though that has also meant an escalation in competition and a wider choice in quality for people, who are looking for translators.
While the increased competition means that translators need to be better than they ever were before, it also means that getting into the industry is a lot harder. So, starting a career as a translator either verbal or for the written word requires more training and a longer time.
The Role Specialization
The translation industry has become a more specialized and knowledge-driven industry that’s beyond just linguistics. Many easier and minor size documents are often translated by businesses in-house by most clients through more technical tasks or ones with more complexity are outsourced to translation agencies.
As a matter of fact, a survey conducted a while back in the translation industry found that most translation companies now require that their staff have at least two years of experience, in addition to a specialist language and a degree in the second language. That way these agencies ensure that they only get the best of the best in their companies which makes them more competitive.
What’s left is that a newbie or novice translator is stuck in what appears to be a catch-22 situation. They can try getting job experience, but that’s not possible because most companies are only hiring experienced translators. That’s only fixable with apprenticeship, part-time tryouts, etc.
Globalization means that businesses are now becoming more international. So, the demand for websites, advertising material and loads of other stuff to be in multiple languages has driven demand for quality translators. The demand according to many experts will only rise further as an increasing number of businesses continue to focus on smaller, more obscure markets.