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The Future of the Interpretation & Translation Industry

by Yana Schottenstein, founder of Access 2 Interpreters

A career in interpretation and translation is a bright future these days, thanks to the growth of globalized businesses and increased worldwide travel. Within the American job market, interpreters and translators are more in demand than ever.

Part of the reason the interpretation and translation industry is growing so rapidly is because of the many flexible ways interpreters can apply their skills to daily life. As an interpreter or translator, there is room for specialization as well as general application.

For example, at Access 2 Interpreters, we often receive clients who want to hire someone fluent in numerous languages to interpret university lectures, local speaker events or conferences. The interpretation and translation industry also opens up specialized opportunities to workers. Interpreters are needed in the healthcare, litigation, finance and architectural fields – just to name a few specialty industries.

A 2012 study by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the average job growth across all occupations would increase approximately 11% in the next ten years. Comparatively, the job growth for occupations in interpretation and translation is at 46%.

The sheer number of languages that are spoken daily in the United States naturally requires a large pool of specialized interpreters to help cross those numerous cultural and linguistic barriers. According to the American Community Survey, approximately 1 out of 5 people living in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home, and the United States represents at least 381 unique, non-English languages.

The 2012 Census Bureau found that about 43% of the U.S.’s foreign-born population self-evaluated their English-speaking skills as less than ‘very well’, and 13% do not speak English at all. Interpreters and translators fill this language gap, and help make resources available to everyone in our communities.

However, the need for interpreters and translators go beyond your local hospital. As communication via global technology increases, so will the demand for interpreters and translators. Businesses both large and small are taking advantage of the opportunities globalization has to offer – access to specialists halfway across the world, new overseas markets and more.

As technology advances, the world is increasingly connected, and doing business overseas is becoming a necessity for a company’s survival. A study done at Dartmouth in 2010 reported that out of all the American companies doing business overseas, about 26% of those U.S.-based multinational companies are classified as small businesses – companies that employ 500 or fewer people. Companies of every size, from the local tech startup to the decades-old corporation, are opening up to global communities.

When video conferences are scheduled between the Palo Alto branch and the Helsinki branch of a company, an interpreter may be required to facilitate the language bridge. Tele-interpretation has opened up yet another sector for the interpretation field. Now, interpreters can dial into a conference line and facilitate conversations from a third location. After the meeting, the appropriate documents might be sent through a translator, who can process the paperwork into the necessary languages before sending it to the intended parties.

The possibilities are endless in the world of interpretation and translation. Whether you are interested in translating documents for a private law firm or hoping to interpret large-scale conferences with thousands of attendees, the future of interpretation and translation is continuously expanding.

About the writer

Yana Schottenstein, the founder of Access 2 Interpreters, contributed content to this article. Yana is a recipient of the International Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and is dedicated to providing equal opportunity and access to services for non-English speaking communities. Access 2 Interpreters is a leading translation and interpretation company in Columbus.

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