The Boom in Translation Services





Globalization and foreign trade are driving tremendous growth in translation services in the United States and some of its trading partners. And that spells opportunity for small businesses here and abroad.

For instance, China’s translation industry is booming. In 2003 it accounted for over US$1 Billion. It’s expected to grow to nearly US$2.5 Billion by 2005, according to sources quoted in this Xinhuanet report:

“Huang Youyi, deputy director-general with the China Foreign Languages Publishing and Distribution Administration, said the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 Shanghai World Expo are golden opportunities for faster growth in China’s translation industry.

By 2008, one out of every ten sentences spoken in Beijing is expected to be in a foreign language, a much higher rate than the current situation, Huang said.

The translation industry has witnessed an upsurge in the number of companies, with more than 3,000 currently operating in China. The number may actually be closer to 10,000, as many small companies that are registered as consultant agencies actually conduct translation business.”

Foreign trade is what’s driving the growth in translation service. And much of it is trade with the United States.

Through the twice-weekly Asian blog roundup over at Simon World, I found a link to this great discussion over at Wangjianshuo’s blog about whether English is the lingua franca of business. One point of view in the discussion suggests that English is the main language of commerce because it’s the language that buyers use and most buyers are from the United States.

Whether you agree with that perspective or not, reading the discussion drives home the critical role that language plays in commerce today.

It is not just China experiencing a growth in translation services. As we reported here in an earlier post, globalization is driving a boom in translation services in the United States also. And just like in China, many translation services are small businesses.

It sounds like boom times for small translation businesses.

2 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

2 Reactions

  1. Still in 2017 the translation industry continues to grow. I have two translation agencies: Transpanish and Transportuguese which I founded more than a decade ago and the number of businesses and translators offering translation services has increased dramatically since then. What worries me most is the language degradation caused by machine translations or low-cost “translators”.

  2. Still in 2017 the translation industry continues to grow. I have two translation agencies: Transpanish and Transportuguese which I founded more than a decade ago and the number of businesses and translators offering translation services has increased dramatically since then. What worries me most is the language degradation caused by machine translations or low-cost “translators” who do not even have the relevant experience to deliver high-quality translations.

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