I work for CCJK, a leading translation and localization company as a salesman so I carefully study the history and future China’s translation industry, finding that the future of China’s translation industry is bright. The reasons are as bellow:

A growing market

The global translation sector is witnessing a “golden age” of development. The Allied Business Intelligence study estimates that the language translation industry will be an $11.5 billion business by 2007. Common Sense Advisory, another U.S. based research and consulting firm specializing in the on- and off-line operations driving business globalization, internationalization, translation, and localization, estimates the size of the worldwide translation and localization services market at US$ 8.8 billion and projects a compound average growth rate of 7.5 percent per year for the next five years.

China, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, has also witnessed an unparalleled growth in its translation sector. With increasing economic, cultural, scientific communications on the international level, especially China’s entry into the WTO, and the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, translation output in China is expected to be counted in billions of Yuan. One estimate is that the Chinese translation output in 2005 was around 20 billion Yuan (2.5 billion US Dollars).

Take the Olympic Games to be held in 2008 for example. According to an official from the Beijing Olympics Committee, during the 14 days of the Olympic Games, more than 100 professional translators will be hired to translate, among others, some 7,000 news articles and a great number of speeches, and some 150 professional interpreters will be employed to serve the many official press conferences and the award ceremonies involving 40 languages.

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This is just a minor part of the translation needs during the Games. Hundreds of delegations and tens of thousands of foreign visitors will generate a huge translation market.

Rapid development of the information technology

The rapid development of the information technology presents another big boost to the translation industry. First comes the Internet. China’s Internet users reached 123 million on June 30, 2006, growing 19.4 percent from the same period last year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

The popular use of the Internet has greatly expanded the realms of the translation industry beyond geographical constraints. Distance learning translation programs have emerged and translation companies which provide services based on the Internet are on the rise.

Then come translation tools such as automatic translation software, computer-aided translation software, electronic dictionaries, and translation project management systems. Kingsoft PowerWord, a famous Chinese-English electronic dictionary, is now widely used by translators and foreign-language learners.

Trados, SDLX and a local brand Yaxin CAT have been accepted by many large corporations and some translation agencies. Translation management tools have also been introduced and tested by various users.

These tools have greatly transformed the traditional translation service practice featuring small-scale operation, high cost and low efficiency. They help to reduce redundant work, streamline work process, establish quality control system, and eventually help to increase the productivity of both the translator and the agency.

A notable development is the emergence of a number of localization companies in China in the late 1990s. They represent a totally new approach to translation service from traditional translation companies.