A Glimpse into the Translation Industry

Today we have a guest post from Aniello. Aniello comes from Pagani, Italy, and now works as a professional translator and project manager at London based for translation agency Language Reach. He speaks fluent Italian, English, German, French and aims to learn Swedish in the near future.

His guest post is about a topic really close to my heart: Careers in the Language Industry!


As a seasoned translation wizard, I’ve seen a lot. In fact I think I could possibly write a manual in English, title it ‘all things translations’ and translate it into my native Language (Italian). This spur- of- the-moment brainwave probably shouldn’t have been mentioned! Nevertheless, as I commence writing this enlightening blog post, my mind activates numerous thoughts. Subconsciously, I begin by exploring the translation and language industry, its advantages, disadvantages and lastly the changes and trends of living and working in this growing culture pot.

Working as a translator

I was always interested in languages and began my career in the translation industry. Prior to my current job I worked as a freelance translator and after a number of years, changed my career and moved on to working as an account manager for a London based translation agency, Language Reach.

For many, the idea of working in the translation industry is often a daunting one, perhaps because of clichéd hearsay. But as glad as I am to have experienced the translation industry first hand, I certainly didn’t wake up one morning thinking “how about a career in the translation industry.” Like many, I was tired of being stuck in a mind-numbing job, so when plan ‘A’ didn’t go accordingly plan ‘B’ became the next best thing.

I was sceptical at first which seemed perfectly normal. More than anything I was really sold on the idea of working when it suited me best and while having the benefit of earning a reasonable wage. It was only a matter of time before I began exploring my options and soon after, I took a risk which in effect was a risk worth taking.

What industries need languages?

Language Reach has noticed a real growth in the language services industry in recent years. The most obvious factor is growth of the internet, which has prompted interaction on a whole new level. In fact, now more than ever we are networking with people in all parts of the world. The internet has made interaction simpler and has in effect made global business more accessible.

But which industries utilise language services?

  • The legal sector
  • The medical sector
  • The financial sector
  • The technical sector

In March 2013, the Ministry of Justice disclosed data highlighting the growing demand of language services in courts and tribunals. The study which was recorded from January 2012 until January 2013 indicated that there were 131,153 requests for language services covering 259 different languages. This figure demonstrated the real demand for linguists in the legal sector.

Although the above figures seems promising, the growing market here in the UK is proving very competitive in many other sectors. Here are a few reasons for a rise in competition:

  • More Europeans are better prepared to work in foreign languages which shows that proficiency in languages such as English and French is becoming widespread. This means that more and more people are better suited in the translation industry.
  • The development of modern technology, computer stimulated language tools and vocabulary resources could be triggering potential threat.

A recent report shows that 55% of all online content is in English but only 27% of users speak English. In Russia, 6% of content is in Russian whereas 3% of users speak the language. The latter figure shows an overall balance, in contrast to the amount of content available for English speaking recipients which is widely imbalanced.

Freelance VS employment

Not all speculation is untrue, in fact for the most part translators work as freelancers and for agencies. A recent report, which you can find here, shows that the number of freelance workers has increased from 1.39 million to 1.56 million which shows a rise of 12 %. But working as a freelance translator or interpreter isn’t as easy as it may seem, in fact such roles require time management and being able to build a brand around the services you have to offer.

Other translators choose to take the opposite route of employment. Translators generally work in-house for a solicitor or even for a bigger company such as Amazon. Working as an employed translator proposes a greater chance of stability, which can be a major factor influencing decision making, not only in the translation industry, but as many of you probably know, also any other field.

Demand for languages in the UK

There is a growing demand of many language services here in the UK, with European languages unsurprisingly remaining the most popular. A very interesting infographic prepared by the Business Insider shows the second languages of countries across the globe. The graph proves very effective and foreseeably reveals that English is the most popular second language and with French coming in second.

[Note from the editor: The infographic is very large, so I do advise you click here to view it in its full glory.]

You can see there's real demand for language translation and interpretation for businesses in Britain, and certainly we notice that at our agency. Interestingly, I have also noticed a growing trend for African languages such as Amharic and Swahili, resulting in many translation agencies such as ours seeking African speaking translators. But more than anything, what the infographics have presented is the occurrence of languages developing outside of their native country, proving that globalisation is still at its best and so is the need for translation services, which makes today a really exciting and busy time to be a part of the industry! 

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