Things are starting to look up for small and medium-sized firms across Europe. With improving sentiment comes the prospect of economic growth.

This means big business for translation companies, as all aspect of services provided must be comprehensive and easy to access. cites the example of French beauty retailer Sephora expanding into Canada last year. In this instance, the firm needed to open its services to customers speaking both French and English. This not only makes good business sense, but is also required by Canadian law.

Closer to home, confidence levels in the Europe marketplace rose 18 percentage points in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the end of last year, to stand at 33%. The country with the biggest boost was the UK, which saw a rise of 21% to 54%, according to the 2014 European SME Capex Barometer from GE Capital.

With businesses embracing social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, the global reach of companies is increasingly important. And catering to a multilingual audience means investment in translation services becomes a vital part of the budget expense. This will help firms take advantage of any future upturn in business activity as quickly as possible.

Maurice Benisty, chief commercial officer of GE Capital International, said: “The economic recovery in Europe is gaining traction and we are encouraged to see many markets feeling more positive about their future growth prospects.

“We are now looking to see this optimism translate into increasing business investment which will help fuel further growth.”

Positive outlook across the board

The poll, based on the responses of business chiefs from 2,250 firms across Germany, France, the UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Italy, shows increased confidence in all seven markets.

Economic uncertainty no longer seems to be the obstacle to investment that it once was, thanks in part to the relative stability experienced by the countries’ economies.

The survey shows that only 29% of the business leaders said uncertainty was now impeding business growth, compared with 43% in 2013. In even better news, around one in six said they were now able to invest as they wished due to a lack of restrictions on their capital spending.

While companies are putting most cash aside to spend on manufacturing equipment – €184 billion in total – the survey also reported a predicted rise in spending on IT and software, with some of this potentially earmarked for online translation programmes.

The report said Germany’s confidence levels held steady at 45%, a typical showing for the country if previous surveys are anything to go by.

France surprised everyone with a huge 19% rise in confidence to 23%, fuelled by an increased manufacturing output and stabilised economy.

Read Also: Lexis translation in Translation of Business English Contract(1)

As European business confidence grows, so companies start to expand. And in the interconnected world of global business, translation will grow increasingly vital to that expansion. After the long snow of recession come the green shoots of recovery. And tied inexorably with this will be an explosion in the uptake of translation services. It may well turn out 2014 becomes the year of the translator.