Translation and Language Industry Observations

The entire world seems to be consumed these days with the hysteria around the coronavirus outbreak. And for good reason. Thousands are already dead and the outbreak seems poised to wreak havoc throughout the entire world.

US President Trump has issued a travel ban, basically cutting off travel between Europe and the USA.  According to Germany’s Chancellor Merkel, as many as 70% of Germany’s population may become affected by the virus. World markets have come crashing down as many businesses and people are likely to lose their livelihood. Entire industries will be decimated. This includes airplane manufacturers, airlines, hotels, travel companies, restaurants and more. And they are talking about cancelling the Tokyo Olympics, which would be a financial catastrophe for Japan.

Demand for professional translation services not negatively impacted

But as sad as that may be for many industries, it appears that the demand for professional translation services is not being negatively impacted by the outbreak.  And indeed it may even be driving even higher demand for translation service. First of all, translation is probably one of the biggest types of work-from-home small businesses. Translators and project managers can work from the safety of their home and do not have to be overly concerned about getting the virus.

More online and written communication required

Additionally, with international air travel being seriously impaired, many businesses are using written communication to replace human contact. The increased demand for online services of every kind, due to the imposed quarantines and travel bans, means that companies will be spending more money to get their content translated into various languages.

We have been feeling this at GTS. One of our customers, West Valley Community Services (WVCS), has been translating a wide range of notices into Vietnamese, Traditional Chinese, Russian and Spanish. Another GTS customer, the US District Court of Hawaii has published notices in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Tagalog.

What others are saying

Here are two tweets that I have seen today on this topic. So far over 40 translators and agencies have commented on Twitter on how they are getting orders for translation services due the coronavirus. And it appears that this trend will only grow in the coming weeks and months.

We’re all in this together!

Everyone is praying that coronavirus goes away. Hopefully, the demand for translation services will remain strong but only for healthy and happy reasons!

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