Emerging TripleA Markets: Huge Opportunities for the Language Industry
The global economy has yet to shake off the fallout from the financial crisis of 2008. With global growth dropping to almost 3 percent in 2012, recovery will not come fast. The “advanced” economies are still anemic, and threads of uncertainty everywhere threaten to pull apart the global economic fabric: the Eurozone crisis, Arab Spring, worries about the fiscal cliff in the U.S., and regime change in China, to name a few.
And yet, there is strong positive news in emerging markets. The IMF says advanced nations will grow only 1.5% in 2013, but developing Asia will grow over 7% (with China topping 8%), sub-Saharan Africa nearly 6% and the Middle East and North Africa 3.6%. Commerce in the post-BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) era will shift to these “TripleA” markets: Asian, African, Arabic. Importantly, too, the TripleA economies are looking like better investments, at least for the time being. According to the Economist, for example, growth in developing Asia is steadier and faster than “mature” economies of the G7.
This shift to TripleA markets is moving the center of gravity from West to East and South (as underscored by the recently released Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report released this week by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or DNI). The “digital divide” is no longer holding those markets back. Internet adoption in TripleA markets is surging ahead. In the past decade, internet usage has grown over 20 times faster in Africa and 17 times faster in the Middle East than in the U.S. Asia now has 4 times more internet users than North America, and they are not all in China by a long shot.
All of this spells success for the global language industry, now generating tens of billions of dollars of trade. After all, businesses, governments, and institutions must communicate. Not only that – and much more importantly – people must communicate. In this age of real-time interaction in the cloud, the linguistic barrier is falling to reveal a massive language opportunity. Consider this: Arabic is now the fastest-growing language on Twitter, skyrocketing 2000% in 2012.
The roles for all players in the language industry are expanding in the wake of this TripleA-led trend. We are now seeing the best machine translation technologies in a generation to respond to some of the real-time translation demand, and professional language services are now more critical than ever, because businesses must look and sound as if they’re right next door.