The translation jobs outlook for 2022 is mainly a function of the industry’s growth outlook. While machine-aided translation will gain ground shortly, this doesn’t mean human translation jobs are on the way out. The opposite is true. There will indeed be some level of rejigging of roles as technology advances, but the industry is on track for stellar growth, which translates to well-paid positions and job security. For example, the legal translation services market was valued at US$ 39.37 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand to US$ 46.2 billion by 2028.
In the US, for example, the translation job growth rate for 2020 to 2030 is estimated to be 24%, which is much higher than the average job growth rate of 8%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another indicator of the industry’s growth is that the translation workforce doubled from 2013 to 2020. This growth is fuelled by globalisation, the rise of cross-border travel and business, and increasingly diverse populations in many parts of the world. As a consequence, globalisation and localisation are key translation growth areas.
For example, the US is transitioning from a predominantly English-speaking country to a mixed Spanish- and English-speaking one. This will mean that Spanish is increasingly needed as a translation and interpretation language. Currently, around 13% of the US population speaks Spanish at home.
This example serves to highlight the nuances behind the headline growth rate. When considering a career in translation, or indeed, a job move within the industry generally, it’s always a prudent idea to research which areas will experience higher demand. After all, higher demand usually translates into better opportunities and working conditions. To find out what areas of the translation are up and coming, read the evidence-based blog below.
The Google Neural Machine Translation was launched in beta version back in 2017. It was a milestone in good machine translation. Whereas some observers forecast the imminent demise of human translators at the hands of more efficient machine competitors, a hybrid working model has emerged. Despite its breakneck development and advances in AI translation software, machine translation lacks the nuances a human translator brings to the table. It is great at translating high volumes of more generalised content, but it lacks nuance. The machine translation process usually requires a human editor, and this is an area that is seeing rapid job growth. Machine translation post-editing (MTPE) combines the best of machine translation’s speed and efficiency with humans’ abilities to contextualise meaning.
While English today remains the de facto lingua franca, its dominant position is threatened by an array of fast-growing languages. Potential job candidates would be well advised to follow demand and train in the world’s most up-and-coming languages. We’ve already mentioned the growing importance of Spanish in the US, but there are many other examples. One such example is Chinese. China’s economy is the world’s second-largest and will overtake the US economy in the not-too-distant future. More and more international companies are targeting the massive Chinese domestic market, and Chinese companies are venturing out abroad, either through investment or extending their footprint. One example of this trend is the rising prominence of Mandarin in Africa, where China has been investing in huge infrastructure projects. Not only that, but the massive Chinese diaspora is prominent in business across Asian markets. Mandarin is not only the most widely spoken language in the world, but according to the World Economic Forum, the economic importance of its speakers is also rapidly increasing. Therefore, Mandarin is highly on the list of the most sought-after languages for translation jobs. Google ‘who speaks Mandarin?’, and you’re guaranteed to be amazed at the results.
Blogging, vlogging and podcasting have become huge in a relatively short period. Driving this expansion is the rise of platforms like Weibo, YouTube and TikTok. Now everyone can share their views online. This has created a huge market for influencers, people who have large online followings and work with brands to promote their products and services. International brands increasingly turn to local influencers to market directly to their target consumers. Content marketing is forecast to hit astronomical sums in the not-too-distant future. This is fuelling a corresponding spike in demand for transcreation and translation services as brands increasingly want to convey their message in a locally appropriate manner via influencers. Job opportunities in this subsection are likely to grow fast. Knowledge of marketing and branding would benefit translators who wish to tap this area.
The ongoing vaccine drive, the largest in human history, demonstrates why there’s a burgeoning demand for healthcare language services worldwide. Not only is this a highly specialised area of translation, but it’s also subject to a great deal of specialist language and strict regulation. A great example of how medical translation can benefit companies is the inclusion of Western medicines in China’s national healthcare system. Any pharmaceutical company wishing to tap this vast market needs top-notch translators and experts familiar with not only the complex technicalities of this field but the legal framework within which it operates. While there will likely be an increase in machine translation, the technical nature of this field means humans will reign supreme for the foreseeable future. However, that’s not to say machines will not contribute massively.
The translation jobs market is set for above-average growth, and highly skilled translators, experts who are recognised in their technical fields, will be in high demand and will be able to command the salary and working conditions to match. While machine translation is nowhere near replacing humans, the rise of this technology means the nature of translation jobs is changing. If you want to future-proof your career in translation, specialising is highly recommended. The human ability to contextualise meaning will not be surpassed by technology shortly. Job security and career progression count for a lot when it comes to careers, and a career in translation provides plenty of both if you look in the right places. So, before you embark on a career in this noble profession, make sure you know whether Chinese-to-Japanese translation is more in demand than translation services from Chinese to English, for example, and whether you’d prefer to work in website translation services or to become a freelance translator.
To explore a career in translation, get in touch with Into23 today.