The work of translation has been around for centuries. Ancient writings such as those in Mesopotamia, the Gilgamesh or Sumerian poems, have been translated into the Asian language after they were written. The first major translation work, it is said, was the translation of the Bible from Hebrew to Greek in the 3rd century BC. These are just some of the significant examples from early times, and translation work has not ceased since then.
We want to get an insight into the future of translation by taking a look at the trends and where they will be bringing us in the next five years or so. To be able to do that, we have to analyze how translation work has progressed during the course of time.
So, what has changed from the early days? Obviously, the advent of technology has catalyzed the work of translation. Globalization also played a crucial role in bringing the translation industry to the forefront.
From the tedious work of translating words by hand into different languages during ancient times, today, several tools have been created to expedite the job.
From the tedious work of translating words by hand into different languages during ancient times, today, several tools have been created to expedite the job. Machine translation became a viable tool in the last ten years. Translating one content from a source language to a target language without human input was a dream come true for computer scientists. Machines have largely taken on the job for us. Google Translate, Babel Fish, Linguee, WorldLens – these are just some of the popular tools that now aid us in translating from one language to another.
The opening of the world’s borders resulted in the integration of the global economy where free trade and the free flow of capital became the new norm. In order for countries to participate in this global market, they had to learn to communicate more clearly and effectively. Translation played a crucial role in this process. It became a highly effective marketing tool, making the foreign attractive by making it familiar to the local market. Conversely, globalization also drove the translation industry into high gear.
As the digital world pushes for more globalized and shared experiences, the demand for translation services is expected to rise in the next few years. When the pandemic forced people to stay in their homes for work (or play) in front of computer screens, this became the ideal moment for multilingual content for helping businesses get ahead of the game. Post-editing machine translation, video translation, e-commerce, and education are some of the significant trends in the global translation industry.
Simply put, this is a mix of machine translation and traditional human translation. Machine translators work at a faster pace and will save the translator hours of work, allowing mass translation operations to be completed quickly. Human translators take the text once it has been translated and proofread and edit it for correctness, clarity, flow, and local resonance. In other words, they double-check the machine’s work and inject the content with the kind of translation quality that only a person can deliver.
This human touch adds a localized context to the experience that robots can’t equal. This is particularly vital when translating information that is highly technical, deals with sensitive cultural topics, contains jokes or wordplay, or captures a specific tone.
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Who hasn’t watched movies or series on Netflix, Disney Plus, and other video streaming apps? Thanks to translation, where Hollywood once dominated the movie scene, people have learned to appreciate both full-length or indie films and TV shows from every part of the world. K-drama, Bollywood, documentaries, and movies and series from every culture and language have received acclaim and appreciation thanks to the stellar translation work on their subtitles. These stories have become more relatable, more intriguing, and more addictive once we learned to fully grasp every nuance, every word as translated in their proper context. And we will continue to see a rise in videos with subtitles in the coming years.
How likely are you to go shopping on a site where the product descriptions, reviews, blogs, and other content are in your native tongue? Online stores and services that have localized their content to their target market have seen a rise in revenues thanks to the translation work that these businesses have invested in. More and more people have taken to online shopping, especially during the pandemic, and even after restrictions have loosened up. Online shopping has become a global hobby of sorts, and a good marketing approach always involves localized store content that will appeal to every buyer from every part of the world. Translation work in the e-commerce sector is sure to maintain its momentum at least in the years to come.
Now students can enroll in a university halfway around the world without leaving the comfort of their living room, thanks to the boom of open universities. Thanks to the pandemic for making online education the norm rather than the exception. Even as schools have opened their doors to face-to-face classes, online education will continue in the next few years. International courses have become more accessible and the challenge is always to make the lessons available in a variety of languages. For a Chinese national to access lessons in a French or German University and have the lessons available in their native language would not only boost interest, but also facilitate better and more effective learning. Universities would therefore be wise to invest in efficient and accurate translation work for their learning platforms and resources.
Now students can enroll in a university halfway around the world without leaving the comfort of their living room, thanks to the boom of open universities.
These are just some of the areas where the future of translation industry will continue to make a huge impact in the coming years. Who knows what else is in store as the trends continue to change and develop along the way?
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