The oldest written communication started with cave painting, a form of rock art, dating to the Upper Paleolithic age. By around 8,000 years ago, humans were using symbols to represent words and concepts. The ancient Egyptians were amongst the first people to use signs and symbols as a form of written communication which later developed into the alphabet system that we know today.
It’s believed that the first literary translation from one language to another was performed by Livio Andronico, considered to be the first European translator around the year 250 B.C. Livio made the Latin translation of Homer’s classic Odyssey, which was initially written in Homeric Greek. This translation proved highly influential when efforts to translate The Odyssey into European languages picked up in the mid 16th century.
In 1536, the first German translation by professional translator Simon Schaidenrisser emerged. The first translation into English based on Homer’s original Greek was by playwright and poet George Chapman, published in London in 1616. By the end of the century, The Odyssey had been translated into almost all of the major languages in Europe, including French, Spanish, Dutch, and Italian; a major achievement for translation services.
With 6,500 languages around the world, translation is necessary for the spreading of new information, knowledge, and ideas across the world. Translation is absolutely necessary to achieve effective communication between different cultures.
Translation services have had a remarkable impact on the world, as the practice gives people the opportunity to understand the meaning of several languages.
During the last few years, business society is finally giving importance to the fact that there is a spectrum of translation quality, and even if machine translations keep improving to translate texts, human translation remains on the highest quality side of the spectrum as human translators give a real cultural meaning to the translation.
Human translation has improved and significantly transformed with companies now being able to employ translators from halfway across the world. So, unlike over two decades ago when professional translators would only operate in their domestic markets, today they can operate anywhere they are needed thanks to the internet and ecommerce.
Competition in the market has led to the segmentation of what was a wider translation industry. So, you have translators that specialize in translating specific types of technical documents or those who translate advertising. Being able to specialize in a particular kind of translation helps. Some compete by targeting a specific unsaturated and less competitive niche. Now – it’s interesting to note that most often human translators are competing against robot translators who are far from precise but in many cases are free to use!
The Effect of Globalization on the Translation Industry
Meaning of Globalization: It refers to the increasing integration of economies around the world, particularly through the movement of goods, services and capital across borders. The term globalization also refers to the movement of people and knowledge across international borders.
Globalization has resulted in increased interactions between peoples and cultures of the world. These cross cultural interactions have increased the need for translators and interpreters. Globalization increases the demand for language services. Indeed, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for translators and interpreters is very positive, with anticipated growth of 20% between 2021-31.
The internet has brought with it an array of modern trends like instant messaging, blogging, social media and there is a lot more to come. All of these have taken over our lives, and that’s one reason why the translation industry, for the most part, has gone global. So, there are no geographical boundaries when it comes to choosing where you work or who you work with on a project. Though that has also meant an escalation in competition and a wider choice in quality for people, who are looking for translators.
The increased competition pushes translators to be better than they ever were before. For that reason, the Ya-Hub Translations team is composed by native translators who are specialized in different niche markets. The Ya-Hub translators translate websites, documents, apps and much more into 130 world languages.
The Role of Specialization
The translation industry has become a more specialized and knowledge-driven industry that’s beyond just linguistics. Many easier and minor size documents are translated by businesses in-house while the bigger ones or with more complexity are often outsourced to translation agencies for optimal quality.
As a matter of fact, a survey conducted a while back in the translation industry found that most translation companies now require that their staff have at least two years of experience, in addition to a specialist language and a degree in the second language. That way these agencies ensure that they only get the best of the best in their companies which makes them more competitive.
Globalization means that businesses are now becoming more international. Potential benefits of globalization for the economy include increased choice, higher quality products, increased competition, economies of scale, increased capital flows, increased labor mobility and improved international relations.
The rise in demand for multi-language websites, advertising materials and more has driven demand for quality translators during the last decade and increased during the last years. The demand according to many experts will only rise further as an increasing number of businesses continue to focus on smaller, more obscure markets.
As Chief Marketing Officer at a professional translation company called Ya-Hub Translations, I always give the advice of hiring human expert translators to give a real meaning to your business’s multilingual content.