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How COVID-19 Changed the Language Industry

Translator in the Language Industry

Written by Bernadine Racoma

August 28, 2020

Translators and interpreters are vital stakeholders in the language industry. They provide linguistic services to individuals, organizations, businesses, communities, and governments. They work to connect people and achieve mutual understanding, as well as exchange information. They help inspire, inform, educate, and persuade audiences around the world. People who work in the language industry interpret, translate, localize, internationalize, and globalize various content for a variety of audiences.

How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the language industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant effect on the language industry. Many businesses worldwide have to close due to the pandemic. Lockdowns and home quarantines nearly halted any form of activity everywhere. The situation effectively reduced the amount of translation and interpretation projects.

Effect on interpreters

The work of on-site interpreters is seriously affected because close contact is prohibited and mass gatherings, including conferences, seminars, forums, and international events, were canceled.

Effect on translators

The translators are not drastically affected by the pandemic because most of them work online. The pandemic offers new opportunities. Vital industries and service-oriented businesses have to remain open. One example is the healthcare industry. The pandemic basically requires the sharing and dissemination of vital information in as many languages as possible.

All members of the community should know about the pandemic. They need information regarding the coronavirus – how it spreads, who are vulnerable, what to do to avoid infection, and what to do if they suspect that they have contracted the disease. They have to understand basic health protocols – frequent hand washing with soap and water or using alcohol and hand sanitizer, social distancing, and wearing of facemasks, including how to wear the mask properly.

Importance of linguistic service providers

The pandemic has shown the translators and interpreters their importance. They are more critical today as domestic and international companies go beyond their usual businesses to seize the worldwide opportunities presented by the pandemic.

English is the international language of health safety and science. Interpreters and translators today work closely with health experts and scientists to ensure that valuable health information could immediately reach people who do not speak English. Vital information may save lives.

Today, translators and interpreters work in real-time to provide relevant information to people who make and implement policies that directly concern the world.

Human versus machine translation

Although machine translation has a place in the language industry, it is still an unreliable tool that cannot be used for situations like the pandemic. The reality is that human translators and interpreters are still the most reliable since they are certified and trained professionals. They can catch the subtle meanings or nuances of languages, which are essential in legal, life science, pharmaceutical, and medical translation.

How translators and interpreters help people

The pandemic presented many challenges to humanity. Businesses were forced to close temporarily. Even government offices have to reduce their workforce, requesting most of the employees to work from home and only maintain a skeletal workforce to provide basic services and keep the country going.

But the translation industry is adaptable, resilient, and flexible. With no-contact and social distancing requirements, more clients are now demanding remote options, such as remote interpreting and teleconference services, as online meetings are now the norm. As the health scare is global, it is critical for many professionals, especially those in the medical field, to understand one another.

Effective information dissemination

The precise and rapid distribution of helpful and factual information can help to minimize that negative effect of the pandemic and alleviate the disruption it places on the economy.

Accurate translations and interpretations can help disseminate the correct information on preventing the spread of the coronavirus disease, as well as provide the impetus for people to learn and adapt to novel ways to work.

The global response to the health crisis can intensify, as analyses, studies, data and research results are translated and passed on to professional groups that need that critical information.

The availability of vital documentation that is correctly translated, transcribed, and shared worldwide will form the stimulus to gather global experts so they can collaborate and work together to eradicate of the virus.

Subtitling and transcription

With the lockdowns and forced home quarantines, people have to rely on news and online streaming to stay informed. Broadcast stations are employing ASL interpreters, so people with hearing and speaking deficiencies know what’s going on. Subtitling and transcription services also have several opportunities to help reach as many people as possible worldwide.

How the language industry adapted

If you look closely, the translation industry is benefiting from the pandemic. Translation services are in high demand, especially in the healthcare and medical sector. Translators do not feel the pinch that much because they are used to working online. The interpreters though are at a disadvantage, particularly the simultaneous and consecutive interpreters who often provide on-site interpreting services.

But off-site and remote interpreting services are now in demand. With teleconferencing becoming the most effective way to meet and discuss, interpreters can still find work. However, for specific meetings, such as those that concern medicine and healthcare, subject matter experts are required.

The translation industry continues, and translators are working on different content. Right now, the translation industry is experiencing a surge in demand for document translation, especially those that concern COVID-19. Marketing translation is also on the rise since businesses have to find new and better ways to reach out to their customers. As delivery services are in demand, companies need to attract the attention of current and potential consumers.

Language services companies are quickly adapting to the situation. They are responding to the demand and adjusting their services to the current requirements. While the translation demand from significant industries has decreased, translators are finding plenty of work for digital and e-commerce services. Many language service providers are changing their target audiences, skewing their service to small and medium-sized industries that are quick to change their business models.

Contact us – We will help you face the disruptive challenges of the pandemic

Although the world is still amid the pandemic, it is going to pass, and the world will be back to its feet. In the meantime, it is vital to keep the communication and sharing of information going. We at eTranslation Services continue to provide excellent language services for your business. Our extensive network of professional and native-speaking translators and interpreters can handle more than 200 languages. We are sure that you can get your message across to your multilingual audiences wherever they may be. Do send us an email at contact@etranslationservices.com or call us at (800) 882-6058 so we can discuss your needs.

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