The Global Translation Industry: How it is Changing

Translators are professionals who convert text from one language to another. The demand for translators parallels the original emergence of text as a form of human communication and the growth in the need for human communication in text form. As the demand for professional translators grew over the centuries, there developed a translation industry. All evidence of current trends shows that this industry is going to continue to grow in size. The reasons for this will be explored further below.

In addition to a growth in size, the industry will see the greatest evolution over the next two decades, possibly faster, because of the rapid development of a range of technological advances that make translation work easier and faster.

The role of globalization in the evolution of the global translation industry

The demand for translation is directly proportional to the demand for accurate communication between people who speak and understand different languages. Whenever people, as individuals, companies, corporations, small businesses, government departments and agencies, volunteer and not-for-profit groups, and other organizations wish to communicate by text they can only do so if what they want to communicate can be read and understood. Professional translators, as individual freelancers or as employees of translation agencies, make this communication happen.

There is no doubt that global communication has grown immensely in the last few decades, especially due to advances in communication technology the opening up of trade routes, and the removal of trade barriers. This growth in global communication is part and parcel of globalization, an important change in human society. Intimately tied to globalization is the demand for economic growth and the desire of once impoverished and marginalized nations to become wealthier and more modern. 

The advent of the internet and its widespread adoption around the world has meant that the desire to communicate between people of different languages can be fulfilled more easily. At the same time, technology by itself does not allow language barriers to be bridged. It is the work of translators themselves who make this possible.

The impact of new technology on the global translation industry

Traditionally, translators would be given a standard paper version of the text and expected to translate it as accurately as possible. This still happens in some places, but technological advancements have meant that traditional translation companies have quickly adopted whatever new technology became available as long as it made their work easier and faster. 

The first technological advances would have been the development of print and printers, typewriters, and then computers. Instead of laboriously reading written text (although this still happens), the modern translator reads printed text and usually it arrives by email attachment or Google doc through the internet. Computers allowed proofreading and editing to be much more efficient and faster than what the older technology was able to process.

The pace of change is ongoing and it is quite likely that the translation companies of say ten or twenty years into the future will look back at what is available today as redundant as typewriters or the humble pen may be regarded today.

The relevance of the technology of the future for professional translation companies

The main advances in technology which will shape the future of the translation industry are:

  • Improvements in translation software and machine translation. At present, human translators are still regarded as more accurate than the current level of efficiency that machine or automated translation can provide, but the gap is steadily being eroded. Machine translation is being used already by modern translation companies, but never used alone. The product of machine translation is always subject to rigorous amendment and proofreading by human translators.
  • The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) will no doubt have the most far-reaching consequences for all human endeavors in the very near future, not just for the translation industry. The evolution and adoption of AI will be a double-edged sword. It may mean much faster translation times and even help to make mistakes and errors as well as editing redundant, but on the other hand, could mean that human translators will find themselves in competition with machines. The only thing that will prevent the loss of jobs in the translation industry may be the very growth in demand for translation itself.


Like any other industry, the translation industry has evolved over the years. The demand for the accurate translation of text is not going to go away in the near future, mainly due to globalization and the growth in the global economy. Although this should ensure a promising future, advances in technology, especially machine translation software and AI could reduce the need for human translators as the major part of the work is taken over by machines.


How to Make Game Localization Faster?

Many videogame developers want to release their new games simultaneously around the world, but that is impossible without game localization. Not all video games are text-rich, but those that are more dependent on finding ways to speed up localization without compromising on quality and consistency. Here are a few tips for video game developers seeking ways of improving the speed of their game localization.

1. Use specialist game localizers

This may sound obvious, but far too many video game developers try and cut corners by using online translation tools for their videogame text. This invariably leads to confusion and the failure of the release of that version of the game when this method is used. Note that even when professional translators are used, there is a world of difference between a translator who has developed expertise in game localization and a translator who has spent most of their career translating legal texts!

2. Start the localization process early

Although this is especially important for video games that are text-rich, it applies to all video game development. It takes time to do the localization properly, so this should be started as early as possible in however many languages that are part of the business plan. Ideally, the localization projects will have been completed and trialed (see below) well in time for global release.

3. Decide which parts of the text need localization

Not all video game text will need localization. Some of it will respond to more conventional forms of translation. This process of elimination and refinement will help to speed up the whole project a lot. What needs localization and what does not depends on the type of game and it’s content partly as well as inherent linguistic and cultural differences between target countries and their languages. For example, the differences between Japanese and Korean are not as significant from a localization point of view as they are for Chinese and English or another Western European language.

4. Give as much help and information to the localization professional as possible

It helps to give the language professional a feel for the game, who the characters are, what the themes are, how it works, etc. Give them a style guide for the type of language you want to convey and what you might want to avoid, the tone of the text, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person working on the localization project, depending on how big the project is, and the more reference material and parameters you provide the greater the consistency between all those people working to localise the game text.

Changes to Australia’s Immigration Rules in 2019

There were several major changes to the immigration rules in Australia that took effect from 1st January 2019.

These were:

  • a longer processing time for overseas partners’ visas;
  • a new visa for parents for temporary visits to Australia;
  • changes to foreign students cash flow;
  • ensuring that migrants sponsored by employers are paid what has been agreed;
  • visas for South Australia start-up entrepreneurs.

1. Longer Processing Time for Overseas Partners’ Visas

The first change is the processing time has been increased for partner visas. As a result of the Family Violence bill that the Senate passed in November 2018, concern had been raised about violence that has been occurring between Australian citizens and permanent residents and the partners who had joined them from overseas countries.

The most significant change is that the partner visa sponsorship will have to be approved before the application is submitted. Any partner from overseas is now expected to pass a stringent screening process which will assess their past life and character before an application can be filed. The process will take longer overall than is usually the case.

The new law now makes it harder for people with a history of domestic violence to be able to sponsor an overseas partner visa. Up to this year, all partner visa applicants had to pass a character check, but not a police check, unless a child was included in the partner visa application. Now, a partner who has a violent criminal background will be refused a partner visa.

2. New Visa for Parents for Temporary Visits to Australia

This visa is for parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents. It allows eligible parents to stay for short periods in Australia with their children, either three or five years. Each year the quota for these visas is fixed at 15,000. The cost of the visas is $5,000 for 3 years and $10,000 for 5 years. It is possible to renew these visas, but only for up to a maximum of 10 years. In addition, the government passed an amendment that ensures the parent applying for the visa wouldn’t place any extra burden on the healthcare system in Australia. If the parent needs healthcare but doesn’t have insurance, the child in Australia will be asked to cover the health costs.

3. Changes to Foreign Students’ Cash Flow

This year, foreign students must be able to show they have at least $20,290 of cash available. Also, if a partner is accompanying them, this will cost $7,100 and each child will cost $3,040. This new rule doesn’t affect an overseas student’s right to work in a casual job to help cover living costs. This is 20 hours a week while college or university is in session and full time in vacations.

4. Ensuring That Migrants Sponsored by Employers are Paid What has Been Agreed

Due to a trend of underpaying this group of workers, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) tax records are going to be checked using the tax file numbers of 457/482 TSS visa holders. This is to ensure they are being paid the correct amount based on the agreed salary.

5. Visas for South Australia Start-Up Entrepreneurs

With the growing trend of migrants’ preference to settle in the large urban areas like Melbourne and Sydney, the Federal government has initiated a pilot program this year for owners of startups who wish to migrate to Australia. South Australia is the targeted state and the requirements aren’t as stiff as those required for the Business and Innovation visa. The new visa won’t require the $200,000 funding and the IELTS score is set at an average of 5. Each applicant will need to provide to the state a business plan with an original business idea.

$400, 000 Raised For the Bible to be Translated Into 16 Countries’ Sign Languages

Just recently, thousands of Christian students and their leaders attended a Christian conference in the USA which raised $400,000 to help in the translation of the Bible into non-standard sign languages in parts of the world that have had little exposure to Christianity.

The gatherings took place in three U.S. cities which were Dallas, Washington D.C., and Atlanta, which attracted almost 40,000 18 to 25-year-olds. The Passion 2019 conference generally gathers to worship and learn about Christianity. However one of its aims was to raise money to make sure deaf people from other areas of the world can gain access to Christ’s teachings.

It was the Deaf Bible Society that initiated this fundraising and the $448,270 will fund their campaign to distribute as many copies as possible of the Bible in sign languages that are unique to 16 quite different countries.

Countries that will be recipients of the Bible in their sign language dialects include Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, South Sudan, Thailand, Myanmar, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Colombia, Egypt, Cuba, Moldova, and Mexico. The Deaf Society recently revealed that 70 million people worldwide use sign language as their main way of communicating. Presently the Bible has been translated either fully or partially into many of the world’s languages. The New Testament has been fully translated into 1,521 languages and the whole Bible can be read in 683 languages.

The different sign languages around the world

Overall, there are more than 200 sign languages used throughout the world today. The number changes as new sign languages emerge rapidly due to creolization. In a few countries, like Sri Lanka, each deaf school may use a separate language, which only its students know and use. JSL is Japan’s sign language and it’s not the same as American Sign Language (ASL). ASL does use mouth movements, but not as much as JSL. Also, fingerspelling is used more often in JSL than in ASL.

French Sign Language (LSF) is used by around 100,000 people in France and it’s accepted by educators. It has had an influence on sign languages such as ASL, Russian Sign Language (RSL), and ISL. Charles Michel de l’Épée is often given the credit for inventing LSF, but in fact, all he actually did was to take the sign language already being used by Paris’s deaf community, added some rules which made it far too complicated, and then established a free deaf school where his sign language could be taught.

The Americans and the British don’t share the same sign language. British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language don’t even share the same language family. Between 250,000 and 500,000 individuals in the U.S. claim that ASL is their own native language. Also, S.E. Asia, Canada, and West Africa use ASL. ASL resembles LSF but is also influenced by what’s called Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, as well as other local sign languages. Like LSF, ASL uses a one-handed finger-spelling alphabet.

Irish Sign Language (ISL)

Irish deaf people speak Irish Sign Language (ISL), which originates from LSF. However, ISL has, to some extent, been influenced by BSL, it is still quite distinct. In 2014, about 5,000 deaf individuals, mostly in the Irish Republic but some in North Ireland, do use ISL to communicate.

Chinese Sign Language (ZGS or CSL)

Sign language is used by up to 20 million people who are deaf in China. Many today use CSL to communicate. Most Chinese deaf children receive treatment at “hearing rehabilitation centers,” which prefer the oralist approach. More recently, more Chinese deaf schools have opened where CSL is preferred. The sign language is unique and doesn’t parallel sign languages from other countries like ASL.

Brazil’s Sign Language or Libras

There are approximately 3 million deaf users in Brazil and to communicate they use Libras, which gained official language status in 2002. It could be linked to Portuguese or LSF but overall it’s considered to be a unique sign language.

Indo-Pakistan Sign Language

The sign language used in South Asia is Indo-Pakistan Sign Language but has never been given official status and it’s not part of the public school curriculum. But some NGOs often use sign language when teaching vocational and academic courses. There is a large shortage of Indo-Pakistan Sign Language interpreters, with only two hundred and fifty sign language interpreters who are fully certified in India where there is something like 1.8 million deaf people.

Joint Translation Award to Author Yuri Herrera and Translator Lisa Dilman

Of all the different ways that translation is conducted it only comes out well if a human translator is used. Yuri Herrera, the author of ‘Signs Preceding the End of the World,’ and his translator, Lisa Dillman, have proven this by winning the book award for the best translated book. The book is the story of a young woman who crossed the border from Mexico to the U.S. It relates how this young woman, Makina, goes out to look for her long lost brother and negotiates a deal with a gang leader that if she takes a packet for him he would guarantee her a safe crossing of the Rio Grande.

Herrera is the 1st Spanish speaking novelist to win the $10,000 fiction award, the prize being divided equally between translator and writer. Herrera and Dillman beat other well-known authors such as Elena Ferrante, who is Italian and Claris Lispector from Brazil.

The Guardian newspaper reported that Herrera said that Lisa took on the translation as if she was preparing to run in a marathon. She saw it as a challenge, but persisted until she got the translation just right. He said she not only read the text carefully but she questioned the context of the text until she got the translation perfect. He believed that professional translation services and translation services in Australia were not recognised or paid as well as they should be, given their skills and expertise.

Another commentator, Grunebaum, stated that the novel was just perfect in the way the language had been translated so that both author and translated converged to bring about a perfect translation that enables readers to immerse themselves in the wall-building world that today is.

It wasn’t just a novel that won a translation award but Angélica Freitas, a Portuguese poet along with her translator Hilary Kaplan, walked off with the poetry translation award with Rilke Shake.

The judge Tess Lewis awarded Freitas and Kaplan $5,000 each for the poetry collection. There were 6 poetry collections amongst the short list which included Liu Xia from China, who is the wife of Lui Xiaobo a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who was imprisoned. Also, ‘Load Poems Like Guns’ which were written by 8 Afghan female poets.

New York City Schools Need More Translation Services to Help Parents

The reason for having more and better professional translation services in New York City (NYC) schools is so the schools have representatives of the various different language groups which helps to address student issues in schools.

Also, when parent representatives have to communicate in a diverse range of languages, they should be assisted by any means possible to understand each other.

Families who are immigrants face many problems when speaking with their children’s teachers and feel intimidated if they have to talk to the school’s Principal. Ensuring there are good interpretation and translation services means parents can play an active role in their children’s education.

Recently, the New York Immigration Coalition and other organisations have got together to represent the Arab, Asian, African, Caribbean, and Latino communities to launch the “Build the Bridge” campaign which is advocating more interpretation and translation services for immigrant parents.

As a result, 9 full-time jobs in the Borough Field Support Centers and other relevant groups have been employed to assess the individual requirements of all NYC schools and organise the necessary translation support.

The expansion also includes new direct access to over-the-phone interpreters available after 5 p.m. In the past, schools had to contact the Translation and Interpretation Unit, which then connected the call — a step that has been eliminated. This will help reduce wait time for an interpreter, and allow teachers and staff to call non-English speaking families after business hours. Interpreters are available in 200 languages.

In addition, starting this month, members of the Citywide and Community Education Councils will also receive additional language support. Elected parent leaders are expected be representative of the city’s diverse school system and the city wants to make sure they are able to communicate among themselves no matter the language they speak.

The state’s Department of Education (DOE) feels that being able to communicate effectively and quickly with parents in a language they understand is essential. The department is committed to work together with professional translation services in the city to ensure that the bridge to communicating with immigrant families is maintained and strengthened.