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Thursday, March 02, 2006


The translation industry started feeling the effects of globalization earlier and has been affected more profoundly than most other industries, because it's much easier to outsource the translation of a text than to start manufacturing operations in another country or even to import a product made abroad. Since translation buyers are constantly looking for the lowest-cost providers, globalization has benefited translators in low-cost-of-living countries, while it hurt those living in the First World. Obviously, not all language combinations are equally affected, since it's not easy to find a translator into Swedish in Sri Lanka or China.

What will be the long-term effect of globalization on the translation industry? Should translators in certain language combinations in the U.S. and Europe look for another career? Will rates level off as translators in developing countries find out they can earn more by charging higher rates? At what level will this leveling-off occur? Can higher productivity via technology compensate for lower rates?


Blogger Shunra said...

I'm not very worried - because the sheer growth of communication needs would stress out all existing humanpower in translation.

After a period of adjustment, we'll probably all be seeking ways to get even more throughput in words.

A particular menu making the rounds of the blogosphere (my blog included) today will show you just how much room there still is for translators. I've found dozens of stories like this (although usually not quite as funny) daily.

Our profession is in no danger of disappearing, not even in the "developed" world.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Translation India said...

It's with every business not only for translation.

Part of business.....

5:09 AM  
Blogger Ari said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:27 AM  
Blogger JIN said...

I feel that the long term effect of globalization on the translation industry will cause the translation industry to increase. I understand that right now times are rough but like it was stated in another post, that is with all industries at the moment. However, as long as business continue to have ties with other countries/business there will be a demand for translators. The cheapest methods possible will not last for long when companies realize it will cost them both time and money to fix any mistakes they made with a cheap translator.

10:06 PM  

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