As 2017 comes to a close, we are often faced the sort of renewed spirit and motivated that is typically associated with the beginning of the upcoming New Year. Sometimes it’s to make New Year’s resolutions to spend more time with family, resolutions to exercise more and spend less time devouring junk foods, or even to make a switch to a new career. If you happen to fall into the last category and you are looking for a new career and you are fluent in multiple languages, you may need not to look any further as a career in interpreting and translation just might be a viable option for you.
In a report of the outlook of Career Opportunities for College Graduates in 2017 published by the University of California San Diego’s Extension Center for Research on the Regional Economy, they highlighted the top 10 emerging careers for graduates with a bachelor’s degree. The results are as follows:
- Interpreters and translators
- Operations research analysts
- Personal financial advisors
- Computer systems analysts
- Software developers, applications
- Market research analysts and marketing specialists
- Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors
- Information security analysts
- Meeting, convention and event planners
- Management analysts
At the number one spot, Interpreters and Translators were highlighted as being the top emerging career path for 2017. What’s even more surprising is the fact Interpreters and Translators did not even make the cut for last year’s report. So the question becomes, what trends and factors in the language service industry have influenced the need for interpreters and translators?
Increased Language Diversity in the US
For starters, the United States is becoming more and more diverse. Here’s an astonishing statistic: there are approximately 120 million multicultural residents in the US. The total overall growth in this population make up 92% of the total growth in the US! It’s safe say that the increase of multicultural residents equates to an increase in the number of spoken languages in the US. However with the increase of language diversity in this country, the challenge then becomes how can we communicate effectively with this population of residents. Enter Language Services.
According to Common Sense Advisory, a research firm, focused on the language industry, the size of the overall global language industry in 2016 was estimated at $40 Billion, of which Europe was the largest market, accounting for 53.9%, followed by the North American market accounting for 34.82% and the Asian market accounting for 10.49%. The projected growth rate is 6.5-7.5% annually through 2018 while the overall market size reaching up to $45 Billion by 2020. The number of translators and interpreters in the language services industry has doubled in the past seven years while the number of companies in the industry has jumped 24% percent over the past 7 years. But one can’t just look at these numbers to make a determination for the why it’s an emerging career. What other factors could spur this sort of rapid industry growth and call for such a demand for interpreters and translators?
A New Tool for Language Services
While the advent of technology may have once been feared to negatively impact the language services industry, it has actually been a boon as it has created for demand for highly skilled interpreters and translators. One major technological advancement in the language service industry over the past year has been Video Remote Interpreting. Video Remote Interpreting or VRI is a video telecommunications service similar to Skype or Facetime that connects a Deaf or Limited English Proficiency (LEP) client to a qualified interpreter within seconds. Its ease of use and convenience is changing the way professionals in healthcare, law, education, and international businesses communicate between Deaf and LEP clients.
Many multilingual speakers are readily able to find freelance work as a VRI interpreter. These positions typically pay per minute of VRI interpreting and are attractive to those looking for freelance work as they are able to work from home and schedule their own hours. VRI platforms have been experiencing increased usage in hospitals and courtrooms were time and ease of access is absolutely necessary. VRI is poised to be an integral part of the language services industry in years to come especially as the technology improves.
Globalization and Technology Growth
As the economy becomes more globalized and businesses begin to recognize the value that language services provide in order to become competitive in the global marketplace, the opportunities for people with advanced language skills will continue to grow sharply.
The advancements in video streaming technology over the years has allowed for the widespread distribution of content from all around the world. With the world becoming so much smaller, companies looking to take advantage of the global marketplace are considering both globalization and localization services for their products and brand. These language services help to ensure the brand’s message or product resonates with the local audience of the target country. Companies such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO and other streaming video providers typically offer a large selection of localized content in order to connect with the local audience.
In fact Netflix developed a platform called HERMES to aid in developing translators who are then recommended to its preferred localization partners with the opportunity to work with its in-house localization team. The HERMES system allows individual translators to apply based on availability and language skills. They must also complete a timed test to demonstrate their translation skills. This allows Netflix to judge and accredit each individual translator working on behalf of the company, creating a database of translators for future projects.
As evidenced by the recent focus on globalization, the demand for highly qualified translators and interpreters is poised to continue to grow. If you are fluent in multiple languages, have the desire to aid in communication between people and cultures, and you are considering ways to turn your linguistic skills into a career, Interpreter Education Online can help you reach your potential.
Linguist Education Online (LEO) offers comprehensive training programs for health and legal interpreters. IEO’s course are designed to help both healthcare and legal interpreters meet eligibility requirements for certification exams, improve interpretation techniques, and expand knowledge of the U.S. healthcare system by including medical procedures and specialized terminology into its curriculum.
For information about other careers for bilingual speakers, check out the blog, Best Job Opportunities for Bilingual Professionals. Be sure to contact us to learn how you can get started in your career as an interpreter and translator.