Translation industry trends in 2017
The translation industry responds to changes in language, technology and societies. Translators and translation companies must react and adapt their services to the expectations of the customers in response to each development, to each paradigm shift.
In 2016, the industry benefitted from the increased demand for translation services from companies and public institutions seeking to communicate with their customers in the most accurate and effective way possible.
Technology has introduced the possibility of translating new formats and languages, has resulted in the a permanent implementation of automatic translation and has forced businesses in all areas to focus on localization as a way to internationalize.
Demand in this increasingly competitive industry is for high-quality translations that are completed quickly and at low cost. Here we assess the past year and look ahead at the challenges facing the translation market in 2017.
Translation is necessary
Translation is no longer an optional extra for products or services or an option in the areas in which it can be applied. In recent years the industry has been consolidated as a basic requirement.
From internationalization to the day-to-day business of a brand or profession, the tendency in 2017 will be for localization – the translation and adaptation to the culture of each society – to become even more important in business practice.
A growth industry
While translation was initially used only in specific cases and with objectives that were not always shared with everyone, the industry today is growing as a result of the constant need for translations.
The creation and production of content (particularly digital marketing content) is one of the main factors of growth of the translation market, a growth that will continue to be one of the main brand focuses in 2017.
New automatic neural translation
In 2017 we expect to see even greater development of automatic neural translations, a recent approach inspired by the nervous system, which uses a neural network to learn and to reduce errors in automatic translations.
Google Translate uses neural translation for some of its more difficult language combinations, including Chinese-English. Given its higher quality, we believe this approach will become much more common in the coming years.
Instant translation as standard
In 2016, automatic instant translation software became commonplace on websites, social networks and mobile apps: in 2017 it will become the norm across all digital platforms.
Real-time translation, which seeks to break down language barriers to online communication and promote global understanding of all the internet has to offer, is one of today’s most common demands.
New translation formats and languages
Ever since emojis first appeared as a complement to written language in digital environments, their use has only grown, which has led companies to seek to employ “emoji translators“ and has even resulted in the Bible being translated into emojis.
In 2017 a new format – one that was much discussed in 2016 – will be a growth area for translations: virtual reality or augmented reality software (VR).
As a means of enhancing the experience for people who speak different languages and who are from different cultures, VR will require the translation and localization of images and sounds more than of text. The impact of this format will be increasingly felt in the translation market in 2017.
Other formats and technologies that will offer new ways of applying translation services may also emerge during 2017.
In the past, meeting deadlines and producing high-quality of translations were the main factors in choosing a translation. Nowadays, however, the use of automatic translation software is also an important factor in competitiveness.
Whoever is at the forefront of this technology, whoever knows how to adapt to the innovations of the time and manages to provide work efficiently and at a low cost will have a competitive advantage over the competition.
The translation market is increasingly competitive and in 2017 the need for efficiency will become even clearer.
Quality above all else
Despite the growing demand for translation services and lower costs, the demand for high-quality translations remains. This requires translators to have strong specialization on a number of topics and languages.
We foresee the perfection of terminological databases used in automatic translations as a tool for helping the work of translators in 2017, and that the focus of projects will therefore shift towards revision.