Globalization Drives Translator Boom


Globalization Drives Translator Boom


WASHINGTON — it is a high-stakes,multibillion-dollar industry with tight deadlines, demanding clients and lives at risk. Any miscommunication could cause a deep financial loss or death, and some in the industry work in war zones while others have cozy home offices.

“这行风险很大”55岁的Lillian Clementi 说,“压力也很大。”

“The stakes can be huge,” said Lillian Clementi, 55. “There’s tons of time pressure.”


The business is language. And it’s booming.


The number of jobs for translators and interpreters doubled in the past 10 years while their wages steadily grew before, during and after the recession. Jobs are expected to grow 46 percent between 2012 and 2022 according to the Labor Department, making it one of the nation’s fastest growing occupations.


During a period of stagnating wages across the labor market, the language-service industry with its 50,000 jobs is a bright spot in the jobs outlook.

Clementi 是一位在她弗吉尼亚州阿灵顿家中工作的,商务通信领域的法语翻译员。Clementi 的交稿期限一般都很紧迫。

Clementi is a French translator who works in corporate communications from her home in Arlington, Va. Clementi is routinely on tight deadlines to submit translated material.

Clementi 之前的一个客户是一家法国公司。 他们一般是在法国那边快要下班的时候(这时东海岸大概是中午)才把需要翻译的法律文件交给她。Clementi 把那些文件翻译出来并通过邮件传给在澳大利亚的另一位译员去校对。然后,在那家公司第二天在巴黎开门前,由澳大利亚的翻译人员把校对好的文件发回法国。

One of Clementi’s former clients, a French company, routinely sent her legal documents to translate at the end of France’s workday – about midday on the East Coast. Clementi translated the material and emailed it to another translator in Australia to double-check it. Then the Australian translator sent the translated documents back to France before the company’s offices opened the next day in Paris.

“这才是真正的全球化。”把法语翻译成英语的Clementi 说“这种现象在这个行业一直存在。”

“It had literally gone around the globe,” said Clementi, who translates French into English. “This has been going on forever in this industry.”


In some cases, a proper translation or interpretation is vital. If a user’s manual for medical equipment is not translated well, it could lead to confusion during an emergency. Soldiers inconflict areas require excellent interpreters to speak with community members.Any change of tone or context could put lives at risk.


Translators’ and interpreters’ relative immunity to the nation’s economic down turn also highlights the growing demand for multilingual speakers in an increasingly globalized economy, experts said.

“如果某一领域的好的翻译员在该领域表现出色,那么他就能拿到六位数的年薪。”美国翻译协会的发言人 Jiri Stejskal 说。“专业的笔译与口译人员现在应该很开心。因为现在经济形势一片大好,工作需求大。”

“Good translators who specialize in aparticular subject and become really good at it can really make six-digitfigures annually,” said Jiri Stejskal, spokesman for the AmericanTranslators Association. “The professional translators and interpreters… they are pretty happy right now because the economy is good and the jobs are there.”

据波士顿的一家市场调查公司 Common Sense Advisory 调查,全世界语言服务行业,包括技术语言服务,今年的估值预计达到372亿美元。这比2013年增长了6.2%。 Common Sense Advisory 预计这个行业的估值在2018年将达到470亿美元。

The estimated value of the language-service industry worldwide, including technology language services, this year will be about $37.2 billion, according to Common Sense Advisory, a market research firmin Boston. That’s a 6.2 percent increase from 2013. Common Sense Advisory predicts the industry will be worth $47 billion by 2018.


Multinational corporations, U.S.demographic changes and the Internet economy raise the need for translated and localized information. Companies increasingly want their content tailored to the tongue of the town, even between dialects of the same language. For instance, trousers in London are pants in Miami. And of course, words like pop and soda can vary by the neighborhood or region.

“越来越多的人加入经济全球化使得贸易量增加。这使得我们对语言服务的需求也在增加。”国家委员会语言与国际研究中心在华盛顿地区的常务理事Bill Rivers 这样说道。

“As more people have access to the worldwide economy, that’s going to drive more commerce, and that’s going to drive more language services,” said Bill Rivers, executive director of the National Council for Language and International Studies in the Washington region.


The number of translator and interpreter jobs went from about 25,000 to 50,000 between 2004 and 2012, according to Occupational Employment Statistics, a Labor Department subsidiary. The OES figures do not include self-employed workers.


But another Labor Department survey,Employment Projections, counts self-employed workers. Altogether, there were over 63,000 translators and interpreters in 2012, Employment Projections reported last December.

十五年前,刚从事自由翻译这个职位的时候,Ted Wozniak 想获得一个中下层阶级的薪资。57岁的Wozniak 负责把用德语写的财务文件(比如,阿迪达斯的收益报表)翻译成英文。他说,在过去十年中,他的年薪一直保持在100000美元左右。

Ted Wozniak expected to earn a lower-middle-class wage when he started as a freelance translator 15 years ago.Wozniak, 57, translates German financial documents, such as Adidas’ earnings report, into English. For the past 10 years his salary has hovered around $100,000,he said.


“I expected to make a mediocre, mediumliving,” said Wozniak, the translators association treasurer who lives in Harlingen, Texas. “I know several translators that are in the six figures.”

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