Monday 13 January 2014

Predictions for the Translation Industry in 2014

Happy New Year to you! Another chapter has just begun in our lives and most of you probably wonder what 2014 will bring to you personally and professionally.

 I was wondering, however, what 2014 will bring to the translation industry and to the translators themselves. In order to find out, I asked a few successful professional translators what they think we can expect to happen in 2014. Here’s what they said:

Rose Newell

Freelancers will improve their professional practices
Translators and interpreters are increasing their awareness of and resistance to dodgy practices that endanger not only their livelihoods, but the general public as well. We saw many examples of this in 2013 (the Interpreters for Justice Campaign, talks at the IAPTI Conference, discussions on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blogs), so I am optimistic that we will see even more in 2014. 

Freelancers will get out there

Information on good marketing practices is available in so many forms nowadays - from discussions with peers in person and online, to translation and marketing books, blogs and podcasts. We are learning that to remain competitive, we must be able to communicate the quality we offer. More of us will be approaching quality-focused agencies and direct clients in person, online, by telephone and in print.

CPD will become the norm
CPD will become an expected part of being a professional translator. More of us will be recording or even publishing details of what we are doing to stay on top of current trends in language use, our specialist fields and the translation industry. This coincides with changes to recognise CPD efforts in the ITI. Businesses like eCPD will see a steady but stable growth in popularity, and associations are likely to take the opportunity to offer more in the way of webinars and in-person seminars. 

We will get asked to post-edit...
...and not infrequently. But we will say no. Because we know what trash this produces and that any time it saves (at all) is disproportionate to the significant discounts demanded in return for its use. 

Megan Onions

We will determine what happens next. We are the masters of our own destinies, after all. As many colleagues have pointed out, the gulf between the premium and bulk markets is growing, and that will continue this year. Translators in search of more direct clients, higher rates and more fulfilling business relationships will find that it is possible, but you have to work hard for it. It’s very easy to stay in your comfort zone but that’s not where the magic happens.

Marta Stelmaszak

With global economy recovering from the crisis, we're going to witness more and more demand for professional translation and language consultancy services. Multinational corporations, small and medium enterprises, start-ups and freelancers will all compete on international markets, leaving us with plenty of work in 2014!

Catherine Christaki

Translators have become much more social in the past few years. In 2014, a significant number will abandon their cozy home office and comfy pajamas to try co-working in offices with other professionals. Translation conferences are more popular than ever and there is a plethora to choose from all around the world. Linguists have realized their value and will attend them in masses this year. The topics of sessions have also changed, moving away from theory to practical tips about finding clients, networking, translation tools as well as blogging and social media. Based on those tips, many new translation blogs will be created (can't wait!).

Another thing that I'm sure we will see in 2014 will be translators reaching out to direct clients. Every year we become better and wiser and with help from our colleagues in blogs and social networks, we know which agencies to avoid and what are the best methods to find new and better clients. Last but not least, 2014 will be the year we realize we are not competitors but colleagues, that our individual businesses are better when we share experiences and help each other.

Olga Arakelyan

 It is my deep conviction that as long as different languages and nations exist, translators will be in high demand. So it really depends on us whether our businesses will prosper, or decline. Those translators who market their services and continue to work on their skills will definitely have a fruitful and prosperous year, and those who don’t will not have a very good year. I have lived with this philosophy for quite a few years now and it has helped me immensely. Hope it helps others, too.

Aleksandra Milcic Radovanovic    

Translators will still be tired of insanely high receivers fees for wire transfer and they will continue their search for a better and cheaper money transfer solutions. This trend started in 2013 with a bunch of freshly new online payment services and I believe it will grow bigger in a year to come.

With increasing use of cloud-based application, I believe more software companies will replace desktop applications with the ones that use cloud storage. Shift like that would change pricing options from one time buy to monthly and yearly subscriptions. As a direct consequence, online CAT tools, services that offer to save a TM in cloud and web applications (for invoicing or storing the documents) will become more popular.

With evident rise of globalization and success of large companies, smaller companies will try to look for their niche. I think most of them will try to satisfy the needs of local markets, so need for translators who works with smaller languages will rise. Localization could be the possible hot topic in 2014.

Konstantina Drakou

Working as a freelance translator, every year differs from the other. 2012 turned out to be completely different from 2011 and I am pretty sure that 2014 will be, again, different from 2013! 2010 was a slow year, then 2011 was better. In 2012 the number of projects sky-rocked and then 2013 was not as good, even though I got the opportunity to work on the most interesting project in my professional life. EVER! Now, I get very positive vibes for this year, at least this is what the first week of 2014 has led me to believe! If this week can be taken as a prediction, then there is something happening in the market and I see a pour of projects coming down like rain. 

Anne Diamantidis 

Just my two cents - I think nothing will change much in 2014 compared to 2013, actually. With the notable exception of the gap between what Chris Durban calls the "premium" and the "bulk" markets, which I think will continue growing drastically. Volumes to translate may be bigger or at least just as huge as in 2013, while rates in the premium market and in the specialized translation market will keep rising. Machine Translation will continue to not be a threat - because it is light-years away from reaching the level of human translation (one of his "fathers", Philipp Koehn, confirmed this himself at the TriKonf conference 2013) - yet half the industry will continue to see it as such. Low paying agencies will continue their disgusting practices because there will still be translators who will accept their rates, and half the freelance industry will keep being full of hatred and spiting on all agencies as a consequence. CPD will hopefully take a growing importance as translators realize they need and should care about their continuous training. I think it will be a good year for our branch - that is, if we let it be a good year, of course. Our branch is its own biggest obstacle, but it has not quite realized it yet. Here's to hoping 2014 will be the year it does...

Karen Tkaczyk

1-      Freelancers who wish to get out of the bulk market segments and work in more satisfying market segments will develop diversified services and partnerships that allow them to differentiate themselves from the “typical” freelancer, helping them to move up in the market.

2-      More and more freelancers will create websites and social media accounts as they see the value of modern networking methods for word-of-mouth referrals.

3-      In spite of awareness that what people write online gets around and forms reputations (see point 2), many freelancers will whine and complain about the state of affairs in online forums just as much as ever, and end 2014 in exactly the same position as they started it.

4-      We will see more freelancers admitting to using MT post-editing systems by personal choice in their own translation work.


  1. My big prediction is that this is the year when we will see research and practice move closer together. I see freelancers seeing the potential of good quality research and researchers realising that freelancers know more about the industry than they do.

    I agree that the middle ground will continue to disappear but so will, eventually, low rate work. The latter, however, will continue to exist for a few years yet, slowly moving eastwards in the hunt for cheaper "talent".

    1. That's an interesting thought about research and practice moving closer together. I am a fan of research, and I continuously apply it in my everyday work.
      Thank you for your comment.

  2. 1. What the hell is CPD?

    2. You have 8 women predicting mostly wonderful things to happen in 2014 ... and not a single male translator.

    Hmmmm .....

    1. 1. CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and this is what professionals do to improve their skills and knowledge in their respective professions.

      2. It just happened that only women responded to my question. Having said that, I also received an answer from a male translator and it will be published next Monday as a whole blog post. How's that for a counterbalance to this "women only" post? :-)

      Disclaimer: this blog is not female oriented, contributions and guest posts are welcome from everyone regardless of their sex.

  3. I love Catherine Christaki's prediction: so positive and inspirational!
    Kudos to Transliteria.

  4. Thank you, Thierry. I am very pleased you liked it.

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  6. Useful information like this one must be kept and maintained so I will put this one on my bookmark list! Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this!

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