Significance of translation in contemporary life

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1. Introduction

Translation is mean of interlingual communication. The importance of translating and interpreting in modern society has long been recognized. Practically not a single contact at the international level or even between any two foreign persons speaking different languages can be established or maintained without the help of translators or interpreters.

Equally important is translating and interpreting for uninterrupted functioning of different international bodies (conferences, symposia, congresses, etc.) to say nothing about the bodies like the E.E.C.(European Economic Council), the I.M.F.(lnternational Monetary Fund) or the United Nations Organization with its numerous councils, assemblies, commissions, committees and sub-committees. These can function smoothly only thanks to an army of translators and interpreters representing different states and working in many different national languages.

Numerous branches of national economies too can keep up with the up-to-date development and progress in the modern world thanks to the everyday translating/interpreting of scientific and technical matter covering various fields of human knowledge and activities. The latter comprise nuclear science, exploration of outer space, ecological environment, plastics, mining, chemistry, biology, medicine, machine building, electronics, linguistics, etc. In the present days translation of scientific and technical matter has become a most significant and reliable source of obtaining all-round and up-to-date information on the progress in various fields of science and technology in all countries of the world.

2. Translation Services Industry

There is a large demand for translation services and it is growing. The translation industry is all about communicating and the importance of translation technology in different spheres of modern life is increasing. With increasing development of the global market, industry, business and commerce function on an international scale, with the growth of freedom and flexibility in terms of exchange of products and services, it is obvious that the translation industry is affected by these changes.

There is increased demand for translation services in many areas such as

· Economic (Free trade agreements)

· Ecological (Greenpeace)

· Educational (Exchange programs)

· Humanitarian (Doctors ) etc.

In-spite of the fact that the English language is important and known to many, there is the commonly held belief that people have the right to use their own language. But still the different languages spread across the globe should not be an obstacle to mutual understanding. To facilitate bilateral and multilateral relationships, linguistic problems can be solved through translation. Thus, different aspects of modern life have led to the requirement for more efficient methods of translation.

Industry composition

The translation industry is made up of many thousands of individual translators and companies. When we talk about individual translators, they belong to a wide variety of backgrounds. While some have actual translation training or education, but most do not. Very often there are translators who have had formal language training and because of this they have some exposure to translation. There are universities and language schools who can provide such individual translators. These are free lance translators. These individuals are divided into three main groups-in-house translators, full time and part time translators. There are professional translation companies who provide translation and translation-related services in all languages. In one way or the other the individual translators do come in contact with the translation companies.

Thus the industry can be divided into the following categories of translation service providers:

· Language Schools

· Universities

· In-house translators

· Full time translators

· Part time translators

· Translation companies

Key market drivers

Several factors have contributed to an increased growth in demand for translation services in recent years:

· Use of greater number of complex products, leading to increased requirement of documentation.

· Globalization of markets and International trade and finance have led to increased demand of product literature and other documents in several languages.

· There is growth in the interpretation market with increased travel, in the form of business trips, conferences, tourism.

· Mobility of people, thereby leading to growth in demand for translation and interpretation.

· The expansion of new technologies, processes, applications affecting terminology.

· Desire to cater to larger markets results in the need for multiple language product versions simultaneously.

· Growing of new platforms and media for communicating and publishing information.

· Changing styles of product distribution and channels.

· Increased presence of software in several products and information environments.

· Growth in the importance of the language element in products and product documentation.

· Growth in the number of languages which must be handled in international business operations.

The top 10 globalising sectors

· Aerospace

· Automotive

· Business Services

· Engineering & Electronics

· Financial Services

· ICT equipment

· Pharmaceuticals

· Printing & Publishing

· Software Publishing

· Trans-national Organizations

3. Translation Services Market

From government to business to industries, translation service companies are in great demand as effective communications with partners, employees, officials, customers in the language of your target market becomes a necessity. As such it is seen today that inspite of the fact that the translation industry is not an organized industry, with a very low number of professional translators, the translation service market is growing. The American Translation Association (ATA), which was formed solely to help in the growth of translation and interpreting professions, says membership has doubled in the past 10 years to 10,000 because of the growing demand for language translations and translation market.

Translation demand for few languages

Some languages which were in great demand for translation in 1991 (the trend which is continuing even today) is shown below:

As seen above English dominates the market.

Market of MT and HT


Machine translation

Human translation

Europe & the United States

2.5 million pages

300 million pages


3.5 million pages

150 million pages

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