Translators of the Future: What Skills Do You Need?
As the translation industry evolves, the translators of the future will also have to evolve. This is the technology revolution and a time of transition – just like secretaries transitioned from typewriters to computers.
The translation profession will not go away as long as we’re willing to adapt to new technology and way of doing things.
Therefore, translators have to be willing to become technology integrators, moderators and multilingual content creators to continue being marketable.
Translation Industry Professionals of the Future
The translators and project managers of the future will need to work with immense amounts of data, manipulate it and move it from one format to another while ensuring quality. They will need to be strong critical thinkers, communicators and problem solvers. This new generation will be well-versed in technology and localization tools.
I already see a major shift from the need for traditional human translation services to the need for content writers, trans-creators, content moderators, video editors, marketing researchers and much more.
As such, my advice to professional translators is to master the art of becoming exceptional at managing volume and technology. I encourage translators to learn about XLIFF, an XML-based format created to standardize the way localizable data is passed between tools during a localization process and a common format for CAT tool files.
A noteworthy new trend is the increase of audio visual content. As a result, translators need to become proficient in translating audio visual content and in post-editing machine translations. Additionally, they will need to transition from working in isolation to collaborating with multiple translators.
Now that comprehensive content databases have been created for the popular languages, like English to Spanish, as an industry it is necessary to turn our attention to African, Asian and many other languages that still have not been recorded in content databases. These languages, which lack recorded content, are called the “long tail” of languages.
Industry professionals must also focus attention on rare language pairs such as translations from Spanish to Chinese, Spanish to Vietnamese, Chinese to Swahili, etc. I believe that the best way to predict future translations is by looking at trade routes such as Kenya and China, Vietnam and Colombia, as well as China and the Caribbean islands.
Due to the spike of mobile economies in India and Africa, technology companies are looking to obtain content for language pairs that have not been traditionally translated. The United States and Europe have been pioneers in multilingual content technologies, but now the demand is looking to new emerging markets.
Clearly, the translation industry is quickly evolving in this new age of technology and growth in emerging markets. It’s important for translators and other industry professionals to prepare themselves for the inevitable changes and opportunities to come.