From September 22nd to the 24th, the CSOFT 12th annual summit, themed “Thriving in a Global Economy: It’s A Small World After All”, was held in the Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai, China. This year’s Summit gathered together CSOFT executives, chief linguists, industry experts, academics, government officials, and associated media from 30 countries for an insightful discourse on how innovation is shaping the global economy, with a particular focus on translation and localization.
One of the themes in everyone’s minds after this year’s summit included the effect of the translation industry in China, and subsequent changes to its market development and necessities for adequate and suitable translation and localization services that have developed as a result. Huang Youyi, Member of People’s Political Consultative Committee & Executive Vice President of the Translation Association of China and Carl Yao, the Founder of Stepes, explored the way that China’s changing economy and its translation industry have impacted one another.
In Huang Youyi’s speech, “Lead by Language”, he explained that the growth of the language services industry is a clear reflection of the domestic social and economic changes taking place in China. As China participates increasingly in the global economy, Chinese companies have to continually meet the needs of a global market, which requires high-quality translation. Mr. Huang revealed a survey by the Translation Association of China taken in 2011 that demonstrated that for the first time ever, more Chinese businesses are translating Chinese into foreign languages than foreign languages into Chinese. This definable trend of Chinese businesses beginning to lead in their respective fields, and requiring adequate translation services, depicts an economy consisting of companies that require an increasing amount of expert assistance and consultation to present their brands and materials in the most professional way possible. As many companies have learned, nothing can damage a company’s international reputation like a bad translation.
Mr. Huang went on to remind summit goers that Chinese enterprises should recognize the power of language and the value of translation in the process of expanding internationally. “Many companies do not understand the value of language service providers, in fact, translation is not just a simple text translation, but also brand and cultural translation.” And yet, he pointed out, the current translation industry is facing great challenges. There are not many proficient language service providers, most LSPs today are small. Only 25% of the companies have ISO certificates and 24% of the companies registered more than 10 million yuan in capital annually.
“In the process of Chinese products going global, we must keep in mind that culture is a very complicated thing, which a lot of Chinese enterprises are still not aware of yet.” Huang said, “CSOFT provides expert globalization and localization solutions to companies and organizations all over the world, and is willing to build a cross-cultural bridge for Chinese enterprises going global.”
Carl Yao of Stepes, the world’s first mobile, human translation platform, said that the translation industry is overdue for a major disruption to catch up to the 21st century. Today, 70% of all digital content is created and consumed on mobile devices, so mobile phones will lead the coming revolution. This means that translation will be easily accessible by translators on the move, and the process will shift from a more formal, office-based task to a more flexible profession.
The world is experiencing an incredibly dynamic period in the evolution of the translation market and translation technology. The market is growing exponentially, and even the technology that we use has adapted to provide the easiest and most effective solutions for translators and consumers alike. With such a mercurial market and with such fast-paced development in translation technology, it takes a company with the right vision, staff, and resources to be able to take advantage and grow in such an environment. At CSOFT we are prepared for the incredible potential and change in the translation industry, and as the market grows with the potential of the technology, we will utilize our resources to continue as China’s leading provider of localization services.