The way we live and work is constantly evolving, and the language industry is no exception. The good news is that the language industry is growing and there is significant demand for interpreters. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of interpreters and translators will grow 20% within a decade (from 2021 to 2031), which is significantly faster than other professions.
The most common interpretation services being requested are simultaneous interpreting and consecutive interpreting, although these have taken a new form. But let’s not forget about whispered interpreting / chuchotage, relay interpretation, liaison, and escort or travel interpretation. It’s clear that human interpreters are still not only needed, but are desired assets within businesses, organizations, and public institutions.
For freelance interpreters and LSPs that offer interpreting services, it’s important to understand what is driving demand so that you can take advantage of it, expand your services in the right areas, and ensure that you are providing exactly what people want.
Globalization is a clear driving force for the language industry, and it shows no signs of slowing down. While the pandemic highlighted the need to share information and knowledge, it also prevented travel. Yet, since restrictions have lifted, it seems there has been no lasting damage to travel. Movement of people has taken off once again. People are hitting the runways for holidays or extended travel abroad, business trips are back on the cards, “health tourism” is continuing to rise, and even a tumultuous few years couldn't stop people’s desire to permanently up sticks and move.
So, what are you waiting for? This could be your chance to branch out and extend your services beyond just business meetings and conferences. Individuals, travel, real estate, leisure, and health are all viable sectors for interpreters.
Technology has always been there, but it has become increasingly pervasive in interpreting, particularly with the shift to remote working. Technology offers new opportunities, and — if used appropriately — contributes to better accuracy, productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency. Using the tech that is now widely available reduces carbon footprint and cuts costs for organizers of big events, meetings, and conferences as you save on accommodation, equipment logistics, and travel.
Thanks to technology, there has been a surge in demand for remote interpretation — both simultaneous and consecutive — and live translation. Remote interpreting is not only possible, but can be actually incredibly effective.
Remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI), over-the-phone (OPI), and video remote Interpreting (VRI) allow businesses and users to be more connected than ever and ensure cost-effective, fluid communication.
Whether you’re reading this from a freelancer or agency perspective, staying up-to-date with the latest technology, knowing how it works, and even adding these services to your repertoire, will make you a more attractive choice to direct clients and LSPs.
The pandemic highlighted the need for everyone to have timely access to the latest medical information and for this to be communicated accurately and efficiently. It’s no surprise then that the need for interpreters in the sector has increased. As a language mediator in this sphere, an interpreter may aid interlingual communication face-to-face, over the phone, or via video for scenarios ranging from routine consultations to more urgent medical situations.
The medical, healthcare, and pharmaceutical industries are giants in their own right, so the need for interpreters to aid their work in an increasingly interconnected world goes without saying.
Advancements seem to be non-stop. Whatever your area of expertise, it’s essential that interpreters keep abreast of all the latest news and developments so that you continue to be exactly that — an expert. For instance, while pharmaceuticals was once a field based in synthetic chemistry, we have now witnessed the advent and increasing use of biotech products. Equally, surgery, new treatment methods, and engineering techniques now involve more robotics than ever before.
An interpreter must do their research and ensure their knowledge of the latest trends, technologies, techniques, and main actors is second to none; and that they have all the terminology to go with it. Creating a glossary of terms — using a translation memory, an Excel spreadsheet, or on a piece of paper — is highly recommended.
With 1.1 million minutes of video being streamed or downloaded every second, there’s a clear market and need for language professionals. The ever-growing volumes of audiovisual content need to be created, translated, and localized for our multilingual and multicultural world. This can range from short, snappy content like videos for social media, to longer length videos for educational purposes, information sharing, and covering news, or even podcasts.
This type of content is increasingly being dubbed into a bigger range of languages: a potential opportunity for interpreters to use and hone their vocal skills. Although dubbing artists are typically voice talent and often actors in their own right, if you have a flare for acting and a voice for radio, why not try your hand at dubbing?
It’s safe to say the interpreting community won’t be short of work for a while. Knowing how you can adapt, what to offer, and areas for expansion are essential to a successful business.
With the increased significance of sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion for companies and organizations, the demand for language services is no doubt set to rise.
According to Mari Perez, Head of Sales at Interprenet, “Multiculturalism and languages are a natural way of being inclusive” so businesses are adding increasing significance to interpreting to reach a more far-flung audience. Now’s your chance to take advantage of copious opportunities in the interpreting world.