The future of translation services and translation agencies

The future of translation services and translation agencies

Tatiana Osoblivaia


Translation technology

If you don't understand how language translation services work or you can’t sleep at night trying to figure out why there are huge price differences for professional translation services, it’s time to get to the bottom of the quirky translation business. Not to let you get lost in the jungle of language service provider quirkiness we will hold your hand this time as a guide and as a friend.

So let’s get started because we have written an article about the BTS life of language translation services to tell you how the language-translation things work. Also, we tried to give you some useful tips on how to find a translation agency that is best for you.

The inner workings of a professional translation service can scare the heck out of a casual observer. There is a big difference between large and small companies, so the language services provided can differ from one agency to another.

Translation agencies of today and their strong points

Let's say you want to go global and your website, marketing materials, and product descriptions need a translation. What are you going to do? Maybe you learned a language (or two) at school, or maybe you know a person who speaks the foreign language you need. Do you think this is a good idea to call them for help? Nope, put that phone down! Because only a professional translation company has what it takes to save the day. Not convinced? Then keep in mind the following points that will help you make the right decision, one that will maintain your professional reputation and a strong brand image. Or both (if you're lucky enough).

1. Management of specific projects
As we learned in school (or by googling), the division of labor is a factor of productivity and efficiency. Or not. It’s not the point. The point is language translation services are integrating project managers into task management so that linguists can focus their energy on the translation side of the deal. Thus other aspects can be delivered without delay in the translation work itself.

2. Qualified linguists
Linguists are the most valuable asset of any company dealing with foreign languages. Those German courses you had at school (Ms. Schmidt is still mad at you) or your friend who speaks ‘fluent’ Japanese (because they watch anime without subtitles all the time) cannot match the arsenal of knowledge that real language professionals have. It's not just enough to speak one language (or two or three); you should know the rules of the translation game, topics with a specialized vocabulary that you need to know, and software that you need to use.

3. Quality and consistency
It can be very difficult to find the right translation for a particular word or phrase, and the truth is the right choices are often a few, not one. And the thing is that consistency is the key aspect when quality is concerned. Professional translation involves the use of computer-assisted software, also known as CAT tools, to ensure terminology consistency and to provide other useful functions. A professional translation company more often than not has a quality assurance safety net, as well as international certifications, such as the American Translators Association certification.

4. Quick Response
Your time is money, and without going too deep into it we all should know by now that poor service providers are a waste of time, money, and XP points. Hiring a specialized language service provider with vast experience will balance your yin/yang energy, improve your karma, and guarantee a much quicker response, allowing you to meet your deadlines. 

5. Clear pricing information
You don't want any surprises when faced with a translation project, no matter how big or small it is. You have a right to know how long you should wait to get the final product, and professional translation agencies usually give you a timeframe you can hold them to.

PoliLingua, for example, replies within 12 to 24 hours 7 days a week, works with over 100 languages and provides a wide range of language services, such as high-quality translations, website localization services, certified translation services, legal document translation services, desktop publishing, interpretation services of the highest quality with fast turnaround times.

Whether it's a one-page memo or a lengthy, highly intricate file that law firms love so much, you can receive a quick and accurate quote and set your budget conformably. 

Machine translation: What the future brings
Advances in machine translation herald the end of the translation industry as it exists today. Gone are the artisan translators, fine-tuning their translations like a carpenter sanding a piece of wood. Now it's time for faster and cheaper programs. Around the world, from Baghdad to New York, and back from the United States to Nepal, translators are sad, crying in different languages 24 hours a day, as their business sink to the bottom. No one wants their certified translations, localization services, and document translation. And their businesses go pop like a pack of weird popcorn of translation services.

Such is the outlook that seems to be taking shape - if you believe the media reports that announce the imminent death of the translation services after a long agony of companies in the sector. Journalist, amirite? 

But this is an exaggeration and not what the figures suggest. Market research paints a completely different picture, that of a thriving industry where professional translators still have a bright future ahead of them. 

Let’s take a look.

The future of translation services and translation agencies

The Future of the Translation Industry

Machine translation tools are very useful and practical, but they are not sophisticated enough to replace human translators. At least, not yet. A translator is an essential link in the communication. They adapt to the current context and the evolution of technology. Above all, they maintain the human aspect of translation, and while machines make it easy, human translators make it alive and peachy.

Unlike machine translation tools, translators rely on syntax, grammar, spelling, and sentence flow. They adapt the quality according to the client's requirements and criteria (read, the best translation). A translator polishes their text like a carpenter polishes their piece. In other words, the evolution of languages and technology does not jeopardize their profession... Quite the contrary!

Many are wondering what the future holds for a thousand-year-old profession that is said to be condemned by the progress of artificial intelligence. After producing incomprehensible, even ridiculous results for a long time, machine translation has made dazzling progress in recent years.

Between myths and realities, take stock and judge for yourself the viability of the human translation trade.

Quickly growing translation needs
Based on our research into the translation market, there is a shared and optimistic vision that global demand for multilingual content is exploding. Exact figures vary, but it is undeniable that our globalized world is producing (and translating) more information than ever before, and this is for three dominant trends:

The emergence of an interdependent world dates back to antiquity, but the acceleration of the phenomenon since the early 1990s has been accompanied by an increase in the exchange of goods and services (internationalization) and the establishment of production and information networks (globalization) on a global scale.

This increased communication across borders and cultures has led to a sharp increase in the need for translation and interpretation because although English currently serves as the lingua franca (only 30% of English speakers are native speakers), multilingualism is essential for effective communication. A large recent study shows that 65% of consumers prefer to learn about a product or service in their own language and 40% completely ignore a purchase option if no information is available in their native language.

Online interaction
Another trend that contributes greatly to the first: the digital revolution has transformed our lifestyles and our societies. A new economy is growing at a breakneck pace thanks to the collection, use, and analysis of enormous amounts of machine-readable information: digital data. The growth of platforms that provide the infrastructure that allows us to interact online is the second driver of this expansion.

Often, the term digital economy refers only to e-commerce, leaving aside its other components such as services, telecommunications, and online content delivery. Technology in this field is growing rapidly, accelerating the sharing of knowledge and information in written form, but also, and increasingly, in oral form (voice search, podcasts, etc.).

As you can see, the scope of application is vast, as are the needs for multilingual communication.

Marketing personalization
Overexposed to advertising, consumers are tired of it. By greatly reducing communication costs, the Internet allows companies to communicate directly with their customers and prospects, not to sell them a product or service, but to attract, motivate and retain them by offering them free content that is informative, useful, or fun. This is called content marketing, an approach first tested in business-to-business commerce.

This content can take the form of news, videos, white papers, digital books, computer graphics, case studies, practical guides, games, forums, blogs, etc., and of course, to be effective, it must be delivered to the target audience in their native language.

As the attention of Internet users is naturally limited, competition is raging and brands are redoubling their creativity in order to arouse interest without resorting to commercial discourse that has become ineffective. The issue becomes the relationship because consumers need to feel recognized, both as individuals and as members of a community that values them. The product or service is therefore no longer an endgame in itself, but the vector of codes and shared values.

The essential tool in this quest is writing: copywriting, storytelling, information written in clear language, and the personalization of content and tools so that the target audience feels heard and involved. The human translator, the only person capable of empathy and instilling confidence, therefore has an essential role to play in this form of intercultural communication.

A place of a human translator
While machine translation technology is producing increasingly reliable results, it is unsuitable when the stakes are high and the risks high (financial losses, damage to image, legal action, etc.). In this case, human translation is a guarantee of quality and efficiency: only a human language expert can produce a text that appeals to the imagination, elicits an emotional response, addresses the implicit without error, and engages responsibility.

As professionals, it is therefore in the best interest of translators (including certified translators) to position themselves in those market segments where their pen and their experience are a source of added value (high level of technicality and editorial quality).

 For the clients, the challenge is to devote most of their limited resources (time and budget) to the qualitative translation of their most strategic content and to use machine translation, alone or more or less post-edited, for those with less impact.

The future of translation services and translation agencies

A future to be defined

As we can see, for clients and professionals alike, machine translation promises to save time and money (and to be able to communicate with extraterrestrials, but that's a story for another time). For the development of this technology to be profitable for translation agencies, they must ensure the profitability of the business. Here are some general tips on how to do it:

Work more
By using machine translation, a translator can process more words and documents, which increases their productivity and therefore their revenue, provided the rate is high enough. To ensure this, calculate your hourly base (minimum charge of one hour of work to meet your revenue goals and cover all your professional expenses) and systematically relate the time spent to the revenue generated.

Increasing volumes of distributed content and post-editing needs are creating a demand for professionals who can improve the quality of automatically translated texts and balance the correction effort. You can therefore develop this skill and actively promote it in order to increase your sales. 

Be careful, however, if you follow this path, your natural tendency to perfectionism should not lead you to spend more time correcting than translating, otherwise you will lose your share of the productivity gains.

Win more
Another option: focus on high value-added texts that only humans can translate. The rarer your skills are and the higher the stakes, the more you will negotiate satisfactory deadlines and rates.

To guide you, you should know that the specialties requiring human translation include one or more of the following criteria:

  • Strong commercial and financial impact (important investment, commercial stakes...)
  • High risks in case of error (financial losses, brand image, legal actions...)
  • High technicality (specific terminology and expressions, rare expertise)
  • Original and creative content 
  • Many ambiguities (figurative language, idiomatic expressions, puns, irony, sarcasm...)
  • Essential cultural dimension (adaptation required)

This is what some translation experts call ‘premium translation’, which focuses on efficient communication and puts the creativity, expertise, and know-how of qualified professionals, maintained and developed, at the service of demanding clients.

There is of course no contradiction between these two approaches: there is nothing to prevent you from integrating machine translation into your usual translation processes and offering different services according to the needs of your customers. The subtlety of language will never allow us to do without the human translator entirely, but it is up to us to anticipate and adapt to the changes that technological advances impose on the industry in order to assert the unique status translators have as experts and freely (or not) integrate machine translation into the professional practice.


Our translations are performed by translators carefully selected to align with the subject matter and content of your project. They meet and exceed international quality standards. Upon request, we will provide you with a certificate attesting to the precision of our translations