Why the Translation Industry is Growing
The translation industry has grown manifold in India. There is an influx of back end and knowledge processing work being diverted to India. What are the main reasons for the spurt in such activity?
Several factors have led to the influx of international work and therefore the growth of the translation industry in India. Surprisingly it is not the local language translation but that in world languages that is finding a high demand among agencies in India.
The internet revolution was ushered in the age of telecommuting and freelancing. It first created the possibility of diverting desk top work and service oriented work to countries that had cheaper and yet educated and trained labour. What better destination than India, where the middle class had access to English language education and who got connected to the world economy via the internet.
As a result of the internet revolution, outsourcing of shared services, software development and several similar services which required working on computers started coming in to India. The exchange rates were favourable and labour costs in the respective developed countries were comparatively higher. Along with English language processes, there also emerged the possibility of foreign language processes, including translations, using the same paradigm and infrastructure. Luckily enough, the culture of foreign language education in India was not far behind. Having been a British colony, the influence of Europe and their languages was evident. Premier universities and language institutes in India churn out language professionals and qualified translators every year in large numbers. These idealists who studied languages out of their interest found financial gains in the work they love!
The opening up of the Indian economy to the world which started about three decades ago allowed foreign investors and businesses to open shop on Indian soil. With the wealth of skilled workforce both for English and foreign languages (usually the language of the country of origin or the languages of the countries that have their branches) now provide work opportunities to language specialists and translators. With every new company that sets up shop in India, there emerges a need for knowledge transfer into Indian languages and English to make the knowledge accessible to the Indian work force. It is here that the need for translation services emerge. Take for example a Japanese firm that has a factory in Bangalore and requires their training material to be translated into the local Indian languages and English in order to train and develop their local manpower. Here is where agencies take up the work of converting the documents from Japanese to English. Software companies that might set up offices in Germany or Russia or China will need to convert their software interfaces, user and training manuals into the respective languages.
The subcontracting nature of the work has resulted in Indian agencies hiring foreign translators for jobs that require skills unavailable in India. Danish, Polish, Hungarian, Croatian etc. for example.
The outsourcing business has given rise to the growth of related support services in India, of which is translation, interpretation, subtitling and related language services are some. Linguists in India have received an impetus with the advent of outsourcing and internationalisation in India. It’s boom time for Indian translation industry.