Last updated on May 23rd, 2023 at 09:14 am
A translation company is a good barometer of the global economy. What happens around the world reflects on translation and interpretation services that our customers request, for the industries and languages that support global development.
In 2020, the way the United States of America and the world did business changed overnight. The sudden worldwide shutdown necessitated the increased use of virtual and digital services in all industries. In the following months, we saw a massive spike in Zoom interpretations, telephonic interpretation, and translation of documents for medical sectors and to explain COVID in different settings. Luckily, many translation companies had the systems in place and resources available to make such a switch, including our translation agency, JR Language Translation Services.
Last year we saw a large influx of demand in the health care, cleaning product, and education industries. In contrast, we saw a sharp decline in the travel, tourism, and food service industries, which we all know is the consequence of the pandemic. Over the coming months, we expect to see some trends from last year continue, while new ones will rise. Below we will discuss translation service trends for 2021.
Of course, the biggest changes of the past and upcoming years continue to be in the medical field. Data and changes about the new mutated coronavirus strains that continue to emerge must be translated and distributed throughout the world. In addition, translation of medical charts, patient meetings, treatment plans, and pharmaceutical recommendations spiked as each new case provided insight and context to cases around the world.
We expect to see this continue as the year progresses, and new versions of the vaccine are rolled out on a greater scale. Research on different vaccines is being conducted around the world, and it’s increasingly important to provide accurate translation services to ensure the fastest road possible to scientific breakthroughs.
A positive change that has resulted from the pandemic is the increase of telemedicine services for people who lack English proficiency. It is easier and more cost-effective than ever to add professional interpreters to these virtual meetings and provide the best possible service for the patients in their language. Medical remote interpretation requests are on the rise.
The biggest shift in the 2020 landscape was the sudden pivot to virtual services around the world. In the world of language services, onsite interpretation came to an abrupt halt, and remote interpretation services in the form of Zoom interpretations and telephonic interpretations spiked. The Zoom platform was well prepared for this; up to six separate rooms are offered, each for a different language, where professional interpreters can deliver the message simultaneously during virtual business meetings, conferences, and tradeshows. Other platforms have come along and are following the model of Zoom interpretation services to offer the service of having other languages available in business functions.
From corporate communications to parent-teacher conferences, all in-person meetings now can be handled remotely and virtually. One benefit of this trend is that many businesses found they could save money in the switch from on-site interpretation to remote and can arrange a multilingual meeting faster with less time needed for the coordination, finding the appropriate resources, and setup.
Even as more companies return to the office, we expect to see virtual meetings continue. In addition to saving time and money on travel, they also provide the opportunity to easily record and repurpose video content from the meeting. Many meetings will still need the on-site approach, but the positive experience that the business world had with video remote interpretation will make that a valid option for interpretation services modalities, for both simultaneous and consecutive interpretation.
While video content has been rising in popularity in every industry for the last decade, the sudden shutdown in early 2020 saw video becoming a necessity, rather than a luxury.
The major benefit of switching to video instruction is the time and money savings. Training and vital information could be presented and recorded once and also translated into as many languages as needed and distributed the world around. Providing subtitles on a video, even with English audio, allows this video to reach a multitude of new audiences with little effort and can be done quickly. Multilingual voiceover, or the use of both voiceover and subtitles in another language, is an option to facilitate the communication of the learning experience.
With the country and the world doing business online, customers suddenly found that the world was indeed their oyster. Online shopping grew exponentially as people stayed home and found new websites and vendors to purchase from.
All websites, including e-commerce sites, can easily be translated. Having language options on your website provides opportunities for new audiences and increases sales. Without moving or changing operations, businesses found they could reach new audiences all over the world – and within America itself.
While increased language options on websites have been a slowly rising trend for years due to increased globalization, the abrupt shift to online shopping in early 2020 both accelerated and solidified this shift.
With the ease and convenience of online shopping, e-commerce sites with multiple language options available will find themselves better positioned to take advantage of new markets in the coming months. Now companies need to consider the importance of website translations and analyze if a multilingual website is an important element in the marketing mix.
Educational institutions were also forced to pivot as international students returned or stayed home. Facing the impact of reduced enrollment and tuition, e-learning courses rose in popularity. Many courses are taught in English but providing marketing materials in native languages to increase enrollment is a smart move.
At home, many Americans also turned to online courses when faced with the prospect of staying home for several months. Expect to see this trend continue as e-learning content is faster to produce and more cost-effective to share on a larger scale.
As a ripple effect of a new strain of the disease, the cleaning industry saw a spike in the need for translation services as well. Record numbers of people and businesses are taking care to sanitize, disinfect, and kill germs. Aisles of cleaning products were sold out and back-ordered for weeks on end. Translation services rose here too as product information, formula changes, and marketing information was pushed out at a faster rate and higher volume than in previous years. The USA has a multilingual population, and the information needs to be translated to reach everyone. We saw an increase in document translation to support the needs of the cleaning industry and new regulations by the government.
As we look forward, we can be confident that there are many facets of life that will not return to the way they were prior to March 2020.
COVID-19 has highlighted the need for businesses to be able to pivot and shift their services on a dime. Client needs remain the same regardless of external factors, and the businesses that thrive and succeed long-term are the ones ready to change and improve communications. Language translation services are the cost of the opportunity to engage with and help a multilingual base.
While we expect to see a return of on-site interpretations for meetings and corporate communications, video remote interpretation is faster and less expensive, with the same quality for the person who needs it, and for some applications might become the norm. The increased efficiency is not something businesses should quickly walk away from.
The push for increased broadband internet speeds across the country increases and video content continues to become more accessible for the end consumer. Having translation options in the subtitles of videos with English audio allows the video to reach a wider audience, including the 22% of Americans who do not speak English at home. Videos can be produced once and repurposed time and time again, saving businesses time and money on content creation.
Already in 2021, we’re seeing a rise in technical and immigration industry translations.
Throughout the last year, we have remained committed to helping our clients navigate the waves of changes as easily as possible. From pivoting to Zoom interpretations to providing industry-specific translation information, we are committed in 2021 and beyond to keeping an eye on the horizon and helping our clients prepare for whatever this year brings, in any language.