Translation services: China’s latest money spinner
There was once a time in China when translation errors were a common sight in the country. Rather than being helpful, translated sign boards and advertisements were a source of amusement for visitors and speakers of different languages. However this trend too is fading away as China continues to develop rapidly. This change is due to a boom in language service start-ups looking to fill the rise in demand of translation and localization services. This has resulted in higher quality translation work and China is better off as a result.
China’s rapid growth and development in the last few decades has led to quick development of all industries and now it’s the language industries turn. According to Translators Association of China (TAC) in 2010, there are more than 15,000 companies who offer translation and/or localization services that generate a total of 1.9 billion dollars’ (12 billion Yuan) worth of revenue. This conservative estimate accounts for 7 percent of the global language service market and this number is only expected to increase in the coming years.
The surge in the market was expected as a result of globalization and China’s growing role in the global economy. The upward trend is also being encouraged by education institutes. More and more universities in China now offer translation and interpreting courses. This has resulted in the creation of skilled translators and interpreters who hail from China. Just recently at the International Federation of Translators (FIT) world congress, Chinese translators had the third largest presence behind Americans and Norwegians.
Businesses understand the importance of translation and localization in this interconnected world. The high number of companies offering translation and localization services differ greatly in the quality of their output. Increased competition has resulted in varied prices and service being offered. The TAC understands the challenges and future prospects of this flourishing industry and it aims to help keep it in a good position.
As with any new industry, regulatory and accreditation authorities are sparse. China only has one national accreditation test for translators and interpreters. A More robust and efficient system needs to be created in order to produce better translators and interpreters. TAC’s long term aim is to develop an industry that can compete on a global level and they are making an all-out effort to achieve this as soon as they can.