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Top 6 emerging translation trends of 2022

What types of marketing translation trends are becoming prominent in 2022? Here’s what to expect for the remainder of the year.

Content translation services have seen a massive increase in demand, with much of this growth being linked to the internet, the pandemic, our global expansion and uses of technology. The market worth of this industry has grown and is looking to grow further in 2022 as the pandemic has slowly stabilised and more people and places of business took their work and education online and have kept it there. 

What has driven growth in the translation industry in 2022?

Man in pjs

The pandemic saw more people working from home and increased online spending. – Photo by Thirdman

The biggest driver behind the growth of the translation industry has been the increased need for people to access information in different languages and cultures, coinciding with the growth of technology and our reliance on it. Technology has made it possible for people to communicate in meaningful ways across the globe in various formats and languages, which became increasingly important during the pandemic. Language translation technology has also come a long way, making it faster and more accessible for people and businesses to get what they need.

While translation solutions come in many forms, depending on your business or need, these areas are some of the most noticeable upward trends of 2022. They are relevant aspects to consider if you’re looking to expand globally. 

Multilingual customer support

Chatbot

Trends show that people prefer to contact companies via messaging apps when looking for support. – Photo by mohamed_hassan

If you have a platform that has been localized for customers, you’ll also need multilingual customer service support. As more people use their phones for everyday tasks, from emails to banking, these services must be provided and serviced in the customer’s language. The same goes for customer support. Today, 67% of consumers expect to be able to message or chat with a business when they need support. As this number is likely to increase, businesses that want to continue to reach their customers globally must consider multilingual customer support in their localization strategies. A marketing translation agency can provide support and resources in multiple languages to help fortify an existing localization strategy or start a new one. 

Increased use of machine translation post-editing

Machine translation has become an essential part of the translation industry and is a trend that has continued upward for several years. 

What is machine translation post-editing?

Machine translation is when you enter content into an automated software translation tool, and the machine converts it into the target language. Google translate is the most well-known machine translator that most of us use in our daily lives. However, the results of these machine translations alone vary drastically in terms of accuracy and are not sufficient enough to be used in business for a variety of reasons.

Related: Why Google translate isn’t effective enough for business

The post-editing portion comes after the machine translation. A professional translator will go over the machine translation and compare it to the original text to get the most accurate translation. Machine translation post-editing is desirable for businesses and marketing translation as it offers a quick turnaround at a lower cost.  

The machine translation market has been steadily increasing and is anticipated to reach 230.67 million USD by 2026. 

Increase usage of eLearning platforms

Woman wearing a mask

The pandemic changed our lives, but one of the largest impacts was felt in the education sector. – Photo by Edward Jenner

The pandemic may have kept us at home the last few years, but eLearning platforms kept us learning and connected. Forbes estimates that by 2025, the eLearning sector could be worth as much as USD 355 billion dollars. As the business and education sectors looked towards online learning tools and software to maintain a global reach, the videos, courses and quizzes also needed to be updated and translated for global audiences. This newfound flexibility offers benefits to businesses, educators and students as people can work and learn on their own time from the comfort of a home or café. eLearning and eLearning translation shows no signs of slowing and will continue to increase in demand as more and more people and businesses maintain a work/study from home approach. 

Businesses using media localization

Two different types of media are trending right now, podcasts and videos. Podcasts are now being used for business, pleasure, and education and have seen a large rise in listeners, especially considering they’ve only been around for two decades. It is estimated that there will be around 424.2 million podcast listeners worldwide in 2022 and that podcasts will be a USD 94.88 billion industry by 2028.

Videos are also an essential part of today’s media market. In 2019 alone, the average person’s video consumption was 84 minutes daily. Enter the pandemic, and by 2021 that average was nearly 100 minutes per day. Now we’re in the beginning part of 2022, and video streaming and downloads are anticipated to account for 82% of the global internet traffic. A study done by Wyzowl found that 81% of businesses now create at least some video content. Point of fact, if you’re not using videos in your business marketing materials, you should be. 

With the impressive rise of both video and podcast consumption, the need for localization, such as audio transcription services, multilingual voice-over services, or subtitling services, becomes necessary for going global and is a trend that will continue well past 2022. 

Subtitles have become a must

As previously mentioned, videos are currently making up the majority of consumer internet traffic. To make business ads, videos, and video courses more accessible for everyone, subtitles have become essential. 

Even outside of any language or subtitle translation, many of the videos people consume on social media are often viewed on mute, meaning that if a video doesn’t have subtitles, it’s more likely to be skipped and scrolled past. Subtitles have become a required feature for views and impressions, even when the language hasn’t been changed.  

Further, if you do require language translation for a video to reach new audiences, subtitling is generally more affordable than dubbing and is just as effective in reaching your target audiences. 

Multilingual SEO strategies 

By now, it’s obvious that the biggest trend is the translation and localization of businesses in general. This is an upward trend that was growing even before the pandemic. Going global means having an online presence and reaching and connecting to audiences in new and meaningful ways with technology. While website localization is becoming more common, it is often an afterthought. Businesses are now opting to create a multilingual SEO strategy from the get-go so that their business content and practices are aligned with their global goals from the start.

What is a multilingual SEO strategy?

It is the practice of optimizing your SEO in more than one language. This includes everything from websites, eCommerce platforms, video content, social media, customer support and more. The best way to develop a multilingual SEO strategy is to work with a translation project management company that offers multilingual translation services and marketing translations. This ensures an effective strategy that is aimed at a specific target audience and ensures effective use of your business’s resources along with a quality translation that showcases the values and goals of your business. 

Into23 offers quality translation solutions for all major global languages to help your business enter any global market. Bring your business into 2022 and beyond with our transparent and quality language solutions. Contact us today for a free quote to start your global journey.

Words that altered history – translation blunders in international relations

Poor translation in international relations can have profound and far-reaching consequences, sometimes for several countries, especially when it comes to negotiating complex trade agreements, like the one the European Union recently signed with the UK after years of torturous negotiations detailing Brexit arrangements.

translation blunders in international relations

Don’t let your translations build walls

Mokusatsu

In perhaps the most shocking instance, a mistranslation of a Japanese word contributed to the dropping of nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in the final days of World War II.

On July 26, 1945, towards the end of World War II, the United States, Great Britain and China called on Japan to surrender unconditionally. The demand, issued at the Potsdam conference, which was convened to discuss what peace would look like, came some two months after the fall of Hitler. However, the war raged on in the Pacific, with Japan showing few signs of letting up. The declaration pledged that the country would not be “enslaved” or “destroyed”, and warned that a negative response would result in “prompt and utter destruction.”

Answering the demand, then Japanese prime minister Suzuki Kantaro responded with the term “mokusatsu,” the translation of which has subsequently become the focus of heated debate.

Notably, he was speaking to reporters off the cuff, before the government had formally decided on its stance. In this context, mokusatsu can be translated as “no comment.” The word has other meanings, and the international press variously translated the response as “not worthy of comment,” and “held in silent contempt,” which riled the US and the UK, who saw the perceived response as aligning with the kamikaze spirit.

Ten days later they decided to drop two nuclear bombs on the country. Linguists have called this the world’s most tragic translation.

translation blunders in international relations

Keeping the peace requires precise, nuanced translations

From Russia with love

Not only did a mistranslation play a part in determining the way World War II ended, another mistranslation arguably increased the likelihood of World War III some 50 years ago.

Against the backdrop of simmering Cold War tensions, and the growing threat of nuclear war, comments by Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev caused a stir. Speaking in 1956 to a gathering of ambassadors from Western Block countries at the Polish embassy in Moscow, Khrushchev’s comments prompted the envoys of 13 countries to turn their backs and leave the event.

Khruschev was reported to have told the diplomats, “we will bury you”.

However, the context of the quote was not precisely conveyed in the translation. The translator was one Viktor Sukhodrev, who was dubbed the king of interpreters. Sukhodrev has commented that Khrushchev was a difficult speaker to translate as he told jokes and sprinkled his speeches with proverbs.

Some observers argue the translation was too literal, as other meanings of the phrase used include “we will live to see you buried,” or “we shall outlast you.”

Putting the phrase into the context of the whole speech, which was about ideology and not war, shows the threatening element of the “we shall bury you” quote is overblown when taken out of context.

Indeed, Khrushchev later clarified the statement, saying, “I once said, ‘We will bury you’, and I got into trouble with it. Of course, we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you.” This sentiment aligned with communist ideology, which saw the proletariat as the undertaker of capitalism. The sentiment being expressed was that Communism would outlast Capitalism. In the end, Sukhodrev’s translation was technically right, but he had arguably misjudged the audience’s level of understanding of the cultural context of the phrase.

Observers continue to debate whether it was a misinterpretation or a full-on mistranslation.

Persian problems

In 2005, then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kicked up a brouhaha with comments he gave at a conference titled The World Without Zionism. The UK’s Guardian newspaper reported that the then newly installed leader had said that Israel was a “disgraceful blot” and it should be “wiped off the face of the earth.”

France, German, Israel and the US swiftly condemned the statement. Indeed, previous Iranian leaders had previously issued similar comments, though not for several years, and in that time, relations between many Muslim states and Israel had improved.

However, linguists like Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, pointed out that the original Persian statement did not express the thought that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth. Rather, a more accurate translation is, “Israel would collapse.”

It seems newswire translators had mistranslated the statement. These translators had relied on a quote from a speech given in the 1980s by Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which had also been translated imprecisely, as a reference for the quote.

Not only did the transaction mishap stoke international tensions and the perception that Iran was adopting a more militaristic stance on Israel, in Iran the quote in English was taken up by nationalists and plastered on billboards.

Poleaxed in Poland

On a lighter note, US president Jimmy Carter was subject to some colourful mistranslations on a visit to Poland in 1977. In one speech, he intimated that he’d like to get to know the Polish people’s “desires for the future.” The interpreter, however, mistranslated it as Carter expressing sexual desire for the country. The comment was met with stone-cold silence.

translation blunders in international relations

With so many languages spoken in international relations, slip-ups are all too easy

The interpreter also mangled another part of Carter’s speech, reported Time magazine. In this instance, “I left the United States this morning” became, “I left the United States, never to return.” Queue more silence.

The interpreter was replaced, but the problems didn’t end there. While giving a toast at a state banquet later that same trip, Carter looked up from his speech to be met by another wall of silence. The new interpreter had found the US leader’s English too challenging, so instead of interpreting, he just stayed silent.

It’s not just international relations where precision and context are key. Interpreting business requirements need the same level of skill and experience. For example, eliciting the same responses as the mistranslations above in customers would be disastrous if you’re engaging in the likes of a media localisation agency, audio transcription services provider, or legal translator. Correct translation and translation quality assurance are incredibly important.

These examples clearly demonstrate the need for precise translations that are nuanced enough to take account of the cultural context. Whether you’re looking for a Russian translation agency, or want to access a Arabic vs Urdu vs Farsi translating and interpreting service, to avoid diplomatic faux pas, get in touch with Into23’s team of expert, and very precise, polyglot translators.

What we can learn from the Squid Game subtitle debate

Phenomenal runaway South Korean hit Squid Game, streaming via Netflix, was in one regard panned: For many viewers, the subtitle translations obscured the original content’s meaning. Criticism centred on the subtitles not conveying the complexity and nuances of the brilliantly written script. The errors are so bad, according to observers, that the English subtitled version and the Korea are completely different films in terms of not only dialogue, but meaning and character development.

For the uninitiated, Squid Game follows struggling South Koreans who do battle to escape the drudgery of their existence by winning a huge cash prize in a bloody series of games in which the penalty of losing is death.

(The script by director-writer Hwang Dong-hyuk had been rejected by movie companies on numerous occasions over the course of a decade, before it was made.)

One American Korean-speaking viewer, put their finger on the frustration this caused fans of the show. “Not to sound snobby, but I’m fluent in Korean and I watched Squid Game with English subtitles and if you don’t understand Korean, you didn’t really watch the same show,’ she tweeted. ‘Translation was so bad. The dialogue was written so well and zero of it was preserved,” she was reported by Elle as tweeting.

How bad was it, really?

Because of the changes of meaning in the subtitles, some of the characters came across as very different from that originally envisioned by the filmmaker, who is releasing three of his films the streaming platform.

The intensity of the situation contestants found themselves in was somewhat marred by the soft expletives they used whilst battling to the bitter end. In the original Korean, the language is far more gritty, as would befit such a hellish scenario.

Squid game-video translation services

Source

One aspect of Korean that was wholly lost in translation was the use of honourifics. In many East Asian languages, honourifics are important parts of communication between people of different generations. They convey rich meaning about social relations, which was lost in the subtitles. These honorific comprise words like verb forms and pronouns that reflect and recognise the speakers’ social hierarchical status. There are certain pronouns that a younger speaker would use to address an older speaker. ‘Older brother’ is commonly used by a younger make when referring to an older man. It indicates a degree of closeness and fondness, but this was lost in the translation.

Another instance is when Pakistani shop worker Ali meets company chief Sang Woo. At first, Ali addresses Sang Woo with the moniker, Mr Company President. As their relationship deepens in the face of extreme adversity, Sang Woo bids Ali call him, hung, or big brother, instead. This affects the way a scene where Sang Woo betrays Ali, as the English translation was ‘call me Sang Woo,” which is not as poignant. The intimacy conveyed by the big brother moniker powerfully conveys the exploitation and selfishness of humans in general. Lastly, the lead film’s entire meaning was warped through the subtitle translations.

There are two English subtitles, one of which is closed captioning, has fewer errors. Closed captions display more than just what’s said, they convey other aspects of the visual display. It’s used for when the sound is unavailable or can’t be understood. The other version comprises a transcription of the dubbed version.

What is subtitling? (Subtitles, closed captions and dubbing)

To understand where it went wrong and how you can get it right first time, it’s necessary to understand the subtitling process and its limitations.

Subtitling falls between translation and interpretation and requires video transcription services with a specific set of skills, including the ability to condense dialogue into a set parameter – the on-screen closed caption space – whether the dialogue is intensely complex, or incredibly simple. Expert subtitles must be totally up-to-date with changes in vernacular language as much television content features everyday language, often spoken by young people, who are on the cutting edge of changes to language. Just as a dubbing studio would have a dubbing artist, audio and video transcription services include highly honed subtitle experts. A good subtitle translator is hard to find, so do your due diligence. A good subtitling agency will be able provide premium subtitling services that are fit for an international hit. When consider a dubbing and subtitling services company, make sure to look at the reviews of existing customers, and assess the level of content they have produced before. Many companies will provide audio transcription services, voice dubbing and video translation services under one roof.

Subtitle challenges

Translating phrases in a way that takes the same amount of time to say the same thing in two languages is incredibly challenging. Copying actors’ mouth movements is important as it increases the feeling of authenticity and audience engagement. There is a fine balance between matching the actors’ mouth movements and staying true to the actual words.

The language pair being translated also has a bearing on subtitle challenges. For example, when translating from Korea to Japanese, as the latter language also uses a similar set of honourifics, then its easier to convey the precise meaning of the original.

But with a language pair like Arabic and Korean, the difference is going to be much greater. One reason for this is a language’s compactness. This refers to the number of words used to express a thought. Some languages have single words to explain a thought or action, for example, whereas others will use several words. Another way to put, is that a compact is a more efficient language.

Writing in The Atlantic, John McWhorter postulates that the least efficient language is Kabardian, which is spoken in the Caucasus. He notes that in the simple sentence “The men saw me,” the word for “saw” is sǝq’ayǝƛaaɣwǝaɣhaś (pronounced roughly “suck-a-LAGH-a-HESH”).

Why is it becoming more important?

Global audiences are becoming more comfortable with watching content in foreign languages with subtitles. Indeed, many of Netflix’s top hits are foreign language series like Borgen and Call My Agent. Foreign content is also becoming increasingly accessible. If you want to increase your content’s audience, then expert subtitling is the way to go. Contact us today to explore your options.