So far the prediction for the rest of the year is the demand for translation services by the language-translation market is likely to continue to grow and reach a value of approximately $56.1 billion globally. Some of the key trends in the language translation industry throughout the world include video translations, post-editing machine translations and transcreation.
In Europe, there is expected to be a rise in the use of machine translation post-editing (MTPE,) and artificial intelligence (AI) in the translation process. The European Commission’s official website indicates that 78 per cent of language service providers (LSPs) are intending to start or boost the use of MTPE.
North America’s translation industry concentrates on the machine and technical translations, with the former likely to experience even more growth up to 2025. This is driven mainly by businesses expanding into overseas markets. The prediction is that translation services like blog post translation, translation of product information, and marketing text are likely to be in higher demand when compared to interpretation services.
Portuguese is the most commonly spoken language in South America followed by Spanish and both these languages are considered to be the business languages of a district, even though a smaller number of South American countries do have French, Dutch or English as official languages too. The future prediction in South America is that the demand for translations will increase in the same way as in North America. Additionally, there is expected to be a demand for interpreting services as well especially in the legal sector. Typically South America is in the third position for the total number of translation and interpretation associations, following North America and Europe.
The language industry is on the rise in the Asia-Pacific particularly in China and Japan. The predicted trend in this part of the world is for more language service providers to partner up with companies in the technology sector, meaning that more use of machine translations is likely to occur. The prediction is that the world machine translations market will experience a yearly growth rate of 19 per cent until 2024. This doesn’t actually mean that human translations will be obsolete in the future it is just that there will be more computer-assisted translations taking place.
Similar to the activity in the Asia-Pacific there is an ongoing trend leaning towards machine learning in Africa with the focus on the adapting of neural machine translation (NMT) for the African languages. NMT lets AI learn far more complicated things at a faster rate.
Computer-assisted translations, automated translations and human translations are the three commonly used methods for translation today. Each of these has a role to play now and in the future. Human translators are still likely to be a step ahead of other translation methods as they understand context, creative writing and colloquialism better than robots will ever be able to do. Human translators are going to continue to stand out as the best option available for the translating of creative material like a copy for marketing and literary texts like novels. Also for using their specific expertise like texts filled with legal, medical or engineering terminology.
Computer-assisted translation (CAT) is when translations performed by human translators use professional translation software to help them. The advantage of CAT compared to human translators is that is typically speedier. However, the disadvantages of using CAT are that with the software it is common for the CAT technology to become confused when vague phrases need translating. Also often it is impossible for a few colloquialisms and slang words to be translated or they may be mistranslated.
Automated translation (AT) does have its disadvantages, which are mainly due to inaccuracy. Google Translate is an example and most people who use it know it isn’t completely accurate.
The trend for audio-visual translations
Today videos dominate the internet and this trend is likely to continue in 2021. Video translations can deliver a surprising return on investment.
Subtitling and closed captioning in 2021
Along with the rise in demand for the use of videos and video translations, there is a similar increase in demand for subtitling and closed captioning. More than 500 million view videos on Facebook each day and statistics reveal that 85% of viewers turn off the sound. This explains why there is such a high demand for translating subtitles and closed captioning because the viewers want to be able to understand what they are viewing.
Even though technology will continue to dominate the language translation industry there is no intention of replacing human translators with machine translations.