in All Things Localization, Language Technology

With globalization and language services becoming one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, people use more and more foreign languages both at work and in their personal life, and the demand for translation is increasing. The language service industry has penetrated into all aspects of social and economic life, ranging from the translation of a driver’s license, notarized documents and transcripts to international conferences, various negotiations, and technical documents. Globalization trends and technological progress also drive the continuous transformation and development of the language service industry. So what are the main trends of the language service industry in 2017?

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1. The language service market is growing rapidly

In 2017, the language service industry, which focuses on translation and localization services, will grow at an annual rate of 5.52%. According to Common Sense Advisory, the size of the overall global language industry in 2016 was estimated at $40 Billion (USD), of which Europe was the largest market, accounting for 53.9%, followed by the North American market accounting for 34.82% and the Asian market accounting for 10.49%. The projected growth rate is 6.5-7.5% annually through 2018, and the market size of the whole industry will reach up to $45 Billion by 2020.

2. Constant advances in machine translation

In recent years, there have been many new breakthroughs in machine translation technology. The machine translation based on the big data of the Internet has greatly improved the accuracy and practicality of translation. Machine translation in the past was more like an intelligent dictionary, whereas these days with advances in voice and image recognition technology, machine translation can now be integrated into everyday life. For example, when you go abroad you can understand the menu or commodity information by taking pictures and using machine translation, you can communicate with foreigners with instant voice translation, and you can even implement multi-language online voice conferences. Although machine translation cannot completely replace human translation, it will profoundly affect the language service industry.

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3. Mobile translation is leading the revolution

With the popularity of mobile devices, the mindset of both businesses and individuals have changed to “mobile first”. In addition to websites, many companies have begun to think about how to better and faster serve mobile users. Mobile translation is a game-changer and leading the revolution of the translation industry, just as Uber and Didi Chuxing did in the ride-share industry. For instance, mobile translation App, Stepes, can provide high-quality live-human translation services for overseas travel and business negotiations anywhere, anytime. It also launched shared interpreting services in 2017. You can view nearby translators on a map in the App and connect with them for all of your language interpreting needs.

4. The minority language market is dynamic

The trend of globalization is not only embodied in the European and American markets, in fact, trade and cultural exchanges between other regions are becoming more and more prominent. The language service demands between Asia and South America, South America and Africa, as well as Asia and Africa, are rising. In May 2017, China held the “Belt & Road” international cooperation forum, which is set to promote China’s trade and cultural exchanges with more than 60 countries and 50 languages involved. Undoubtedly, the localization needs of minority languages will become increasingly large.

5. Voice-based content localization is increasing

This isn’t necessarily a new trend, but one that will continue to grow along with the rapid growth of the entertainment industry. Take the game industry as an example. The video game market has been expanding drastically over the last few years and will continue to increase at a CAGR of 7.9% from 2016 to 2021, according to Digi-Capital Research. When going global, the game must be adapted and localized to ensure the full gaming experience for users of all languages and cultures. However, many companies simply do not have the resources to re-create video content in multiple languages, so the need for localization of subtitling and voiceovers will remain important, and they must choose a professional language service provider to achieve proper localization.

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