Translation apps and machine translation tools like Google Translate are all the rage, but how is this affecting the translation industry? I’m sure everyone has a war story or two about potential clients who think they can get away with using Google Translate, but even with the availability of “free” translation services, demand for professional translation services is growing by leaps and bounds.
According to the The Dallas Morning News, in the United States alone the number of jobs available for translators has doubled over the past ten years, and is expected to increase by another 46 percent by 2022. Wages are going up, too. Jiri Stejskal, a spokesman for the American Translators Association, said:
“Good translators who specialize in a particular subject and become really good at it can really make six-digit figures annually. The professional translators and interpreters … they are pretty happy right now because the economy is good and the jobs are there.”
Meanwhile, the worldwide value of the language services industry is up to $37.2 billion this year, a 6.2 percent increase from last year. Market research firm Common Sense Advisory predicts that number to climb to $47 billion by 2018.
In March, Inc Magazine chose the translation industry as one of the best industries to start a business in 2014, citing massively increasing demand. More and more companies are choosing to go global, and as they expand into new markets, they need to translate their business materials for both customers and employees alike. As Rick Antezana of Dynamic Language told Inc:
“Tracking all that content and translating it accurately takes so much. There have to be multiple steps in the quality control process so the content doesn’t embarrass the company.”
And what about Google Translate? You might think it would hurt demand, but industry experts say the opposite is true. According to the Dallas Morning News,
Online translation services like Google Translate actually raise demand for human translators and interpreters, experts said. “Even Google doesn’t use Google Translate for their business documents,” [American Translator Lillian] Clementi said.