According to a report by IbisWorld, translation services are expected to keep on growing and reach USD$47 billion globally by the end of 2018. The US represents the largest single market for translation services. Europe is a close second and Asia is the largest growth area.
Currently, business is generated from the government and private industries alike. According to the US Bureau of Statistics, the translation industry is expected to grow by 42% between 2010 – 2020. The most important reason for this growth is globalization.
There is a proven correlation between multilingual Internet presence and online publications and revenue. As companies take products overseas and can run multilingual marketing campaigns from their home base, the need for translation services was driven upward. Globalization will keep the industry in demand for the coming years despite downwards cost pressures on the service.
One particular area of growth in the translation industry is the e-commerce sector, as more and more companies trade online across different markets. Hand in hand with this is the growth of the legal and patent sector, as those companies seek to protect their business interests and intellectual property in the wider international marketplace.
For the interpreting industry, the Public Sector is one of the largest sectors, with requirements ranging from Police and Court interpreting to community interpreting for counselling and victim support services.
By contrast, business and conference interpreting range from linguistic support at customer meetings to booth interpreting, at business conferences and within political organizations and institutions. Sometimes, however, the work of the interpreter is very much in the front line, working with or for the military in conflict zones to liaise between the armed forces and local people – a vital role in many areas around the world, and one which is not without its dangers.
The language services industry has experienced a significant disruption as translation services have emerged and expanded in China. China’s emerging market is forcing the translation industry to adapt global standards and reevaluate that fine balance between quality and speed.
In examining the industries in the East and the West, two major differences point to interesting indicators for the future of the industry. First, the industries vary greatly in age and quality control. The US and Europe have clearly paved a path for the industry based on quality, standard-setting and information sharing. China, whose industry emerged just recently in the late 1990’s, is in the midst of creating its own standards, industry history and building its own associations for information sharing, which will inevitably intersect with those standards already set by the West.