Key Translation Industry Trends for 2021

Key Translation Industry Trends for 2021

2021 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for many industries. Businesses around the world are expecting a vaccine to bring some degree of return to normality. However, that likely won’t happen right away, with many vaccines still in the trial phase. We’ll also have to handle the logistics of getting the vaccine out to people, delivering it to the most at-risk populations first while continuing to face the pressure of treating COVID-19 in those who haven’t yet been vaccinated.

Translation is key to addressing global problems of this nature, as well as to capitalize on other 2021 trends. Below, we look at three of these.

Medical Translation

Medical translation is expected to be one of the major trends in the translation industry for 2021. It has played a massive role in 2020, with more people accessing healthcare services than ever before. 

Medical translation will play an even more important role in 2021 as we start to get vaccines all over the world. Since the pandemic is a global problem, it will be necessary for countries all over the world to coordinate getting the vaccine to the greatest number of people, with priority placed on the most at-risk populations, such as the elderly and the immunocompromised. 

Medical translation can make such a task less daunting by making sure people from different backgrounds have access to the same information. Accurate translation is essential. A translation agency might handle drug information sheets about the vaccine, instructions on use, documents about distribution, or any other text that has to do with delivering or administering the COVID vaccine. 

But medical translation won’t just be necessary for the vaccination side of things. Since we likely won’t get the vaccine right away, the medical translation will continue to play a key part in helping people who are sick with COVID get access to healthcare. Interpreters may have to help patients talk to doctors and a translation agency may handle written instructions for patients to follow.      

Translation Agency Versus Machine

Machine translation has become more and more a part of the translation industry; that will continue in 2021. This is where a translation agency revises content after it has been through a machine translation. The translation agency looks at the original document and brings the translation up to a professional quality level while comparing it with the machine translation. Language services provider Tomedes highlights on its blog how common demands for such services have become. A fast turnaround is often a priority; as people try to rely on machine translation more and more, they may only realise at the last minute that their copy is not up to standard. 

Can you translate your own documents? Yes… and no. Neural machine translation engines can quickly translate text, but with 60-90% accuracy. That’s quite a wide margin. So, machine translation can still help us get the gist of a document and can be an excellent help in conversational contexts. However, it’s still a long way off being reliable when it comes to a professional business documents. Even a 10% error rate could mean wrong instructions for a patient in the medical field, misrepresented information in a legal contract or a marketing message that accidentally offends an entire culture.    

How does a translation agency work? Whether translators themselves should use machine translation is often a point of contention. Some translators in the translation services business

feel it makes a good first line-by-line translation with editing after. Some use computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools instead but wouldn’t dream of passing a document through Google Translate.

With a market valued at $550.5 million in 2019 and expected to grow to $1,042.4 million by 2025, machine translation certainly isn’t going anywhere in 2021. While its accuracy might not be able to rival that of professional translators, its speed and the fact that it is free will continue to tempt many businesses to use it. 

Video Remote Interpretation

Video remote interpretation (VRI) has been around for years. Ever since higher speed internet connections and portable devices made accessing video anywhere so much easier, it has been common to have an interpreter present over video. VRI is used in a wide variety of environments, like business meetings, courtrooms, and hospitals. 

However, VRI saw a massive explosion in popularity with the pandemic and it is this that has caused VRI to make it onto our list of translation industry trends for 2021. Now, interpreters can be digitally present with patients getting treatment for COVID and their doctors without the risk of infection. It has made healthcare far more accessible. With social distancing guidelines in place in all industries, remote interpreters have been able to help with everything from international business meetings to court cases as well.   

VRI will remain a key trend in 2021. As people flood into clinics, offices, and hospitals for the vaccine, remote interpreters will be on hand to help when a patient speaks another language. Further, since we likely won’t be seeing a vaccine right away, the need for interpreters to be present while people seek COVID treatment will remain pertinent in 2021 too. 

Whether you’re looking to expand abroad, combat the virus, or just need some documents translated in 2021, it pays to find the best translation services company. Search local keywords like translation agency UK or translation company near me to find one in your area.   

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