Translation Services: How immigration Impacts Translation

Over the last 100 years, immigration has become easier and more readily available than ever before. Cars, boats, and planes make travel safe and the Internet has sped the application process and simplified the finding of forms and information. With the ever-increasing numbers of immigrants to and from all countries of the world, the demand for translation services has grown exponentially. In the United States alone, there are nearly 3,000 translation and interpreting companies trying to get their piece of this multi-billion dollar industry.

When people emigrate, they often bring their culture and business ideas with them. Many immigrants also tie their businesses into companies from their homeland, creating an international business arrangement. In the United States, the number of foreign businesses more than tripled in just the last 10 years, and the number of non-English-speaking residents has grown four times as fast as the nation’s population.

With the constant increase of immigrants and the exponential growth of the global economy, the need for effective translation services will continue to grow. In fact, translation is a top-ten “in-demand” high-paying job in the United States. Most of these statistics show the impact of immigration on the United States, but the numbers are similar in many countries around the world. According to the United Nations, in 2015, there were just under 250 million people living outside their home countries.

Technology may have eased the burden of globalization and internationalism, but computer translation is not even close to replacing humans in the arena of mid-to-high level translations. In other words, there are cheap and even free apps and translation services that offer machine translation for anything you give them, but if accuracy, appearance, and quality matter there is still no substitute for human translation.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the areas that immigration impacts translation:

Documents. The demand for many kinds of documents increases with immigration. Birth certificates, drivers licenses, transcripts, diplomas, and other necessary documents required for immigration need to be translated into the language of the receiving country. Most immigration facilities will not translate documents for you; there is an expectation that you will supply a certified translation of all documents along with your originals when you apply for immigration.

Language Pairs. As immigration brings new languages and communities into regions and cities, the necessary language pairs in that region change. If a large group of Turkish immigrants moved into an area, the demand for Turkish translation may go up, especially if they opened a business or were tied in with a business whose primary language wash Turkish. If several cultural communities were located next to each other (Little Italy, Little Havana, Chinatown, and Little India, etc.) the likelihood of businesses in these communities interacting with each other increases the need for translation between the native languages of the residents. Regardless of what the local legal language is, each group is going to want business documents, contracts, bills of lading, etc., written in or translated into their own native language.

Marketing. Some cultures are known for their food, others for their electronics, and so forth. When immigrants form a community in an area, local businesses may want to reach out to them with advertisements and marketing materials in their native language. The idea of localizing content for a foreign language within your own locale may seem odd, but it can prove to be highly profitable. When research says that consumers prefer to buy products that are presented in a customer’s own language, they are not just talking about consumers overseas. They are talking about an emotional response that exists within all of us, regardless of where we live. If a Vietnamese community receives advertisements from three companies and one of the companies took the time to have their materials translated into Vietnamese, nearly 70 percent of the business, statistically speaking, would go to the store that translated the materials.

Immigration brings new ideas and concepts into the land in which the migrant settles. The ensuing cultural exchange is what adds spice to life. To best promote that spice, effective and accurate translation is necessary. As immigration opportunities continue to expand around the globe, so will the opportunities for translators qualified and ready to seize them.

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