The Challenges and Opportunities for NAATI Translators in the Era of Globalisation
Last Updated On: June 5, 2023 by The Migration Translators
Although the pace of globalization slowed somewhat during the pandemic, the pre-Covid rate has now resumed. People and their businesses and organizations are communicating as never before. The main obstacle remains the numerous language barriers. The translation industry is intimately tied to the need to communicate across the language divide, presenting opportunities and challenges along the way.
For translators based in Australia who have the advantage of a national accreditation authority, NAATI (the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters), the growth in the worldwide demand for quality translation services gives them a head start over other native English-speaking translators elsewhere in the world. NAATI-certified translators are certainly in demand and the onus is on them to respond to the positive effects of globalization on them.
The opportunities for NAATI translators in the era of globalization
The main advantage of globalization as far as NAATI translators are concerned is that it provides a global market for their services. Not all translations can take place through online communication, but a surprising amount certainly can. In what seems now the dim distant past, the average trained translator would have an office and deal with clients on a face-to-face basis or through the medium of postal services. Most clients would have been local. Now, there are virtually no boundaries, meaning translators in Australia have potentially almost limitless numbers of clients.
The very reason why globalization is occurring, i.e. the existence of the internet and vastly improved forms of communication also allows NAATI translators to have virtual offices. The translator based in a small, country town in outback New South Wales has the same opportunities to carry out translation work as a translator in metropolitan Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane. Home-based offices have tremendous advantages in terms of the cost of maintaining a business as there is no longer any need for renting office space and personnel to maintain it.
The challenges for NAATI translators in the era of globalization
Of course, there are challenges associated with globalization, too. The demand for traditionally popular language pairs such as French and Japanese has been swamped somewhat by the diversity of other language demands. For trainee translators, this does provide more opportunity than a challenge as there are many more languages to become familiar with and offer in translation, but for older translators, there may be less demand for some of the languages they may have offered in the past.
Translation has also become a more complex and demanding career as the need for more technical translation has increased. The growth in globalization has its parallel in the growth of scientific and technical communication, necessitating a better familiarity with scientific and technical terminology. Cultural nuances have become more diverse and translators must accustom themselves to the need for more localization techniques to retain the relevance of the material they are given to translate, especially in marketing translation.
Lastly, there has been a steady increase in the proficiency of machine translation technology. While it has yet to match the current level of development of artificial intelligence, the reality is that machine translation tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated. As yet, for most commercial and professional translation tasks, human translators are still a necessity, it is important for NAATI translators to keep a close eye on the trends and make themselves familiar with the trends in technology which can actually make their jobs easier.
How NAATI translators can overcome the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities
The steady pace of globalization presents both opportunities and challenges for NAATI translators. The challenges must be met to take advantage of the opportunities. Examples of ways that translators can help to adapt to a more diverse and dynamic translation environment include:
- continue to learn about new technologies and how these can help to expedite translation tasks;
- build professional links across the translation industry;
- branch out into more specialized niche translation markets to take advantage of the growth in these areas;
- become more astute in self-promotion and marketing of one’s own translation strengths.