The Impact of COVID-19 on the Translation Industry.
Date: 28th September 2021
Author: Daniel Hines
The Covid-19 pandemic became the center stage of all our lives in the early parts of 2020 where many people quickly learnt that staying home from work all day probably isn’t as great as was first thought. Australians are still feeling the effects of these lockdowns and even now as we are approaching the end of 2021 it continues to cause issues to the individual. Also, it has had an interesting “Sink or Swim” effect on the business world, more specifically, on the Translators and Interpreters
How did the Covid-19 Pandemic Interrupt Translations and Interpretations
Out of the two professionals, translators were the least required to adapt and drastically change their lifestyle, however, the pandemic did bring some challenges which needed to be overcome. Luckily, most freelance translators were previously accustomed to working online and from the comfort of their home but like many industries that rely on their connections with external agencies, some translators too found themselves with fewer job opportunities overall as more and more companies decided or were forced to stay closed.
As you would expect, some industries such as the medical industry had an increase in the number of translations performed, but others like tourism and travel sharply declined causing major problems for the translators who relied on the work in those sectors.
The impact due to the coronavirus was felt to a much greater degree by Interpreters. As you all know public speaking, conferences, work meetings, and large gatherings, in general, have all but disappeared and without their main source of work many interpreters especially those new to the industry, lacking experience and previous connections have found themselves in impossible positions.
Although, programs like Zoom, Teams, and Skype have attempted to mend the gap in the market, complicated procedures like interpretations aren't yet able to be fully provided as the environment is lacking features to allow deliberations between Interpreters and of course with microphone issues, Internet connectivity problems, and a significant drop in audio quality the career of an interpreter has become more difficult with less financial incentive due to the lower pay of online interpretations.
Adapt, growth and development
With the pressure of unemployment looming, freelance translators and interpreters have no other option but to face the uncertainty head-on and adapt, grow and develop to meet the changing market demands. Those who hadn’t previously adapted to the remote lifestyle are forced to either account for the times and learn the relative IT skills to work or risk not finding clients.
Even though moving online is a good step, it doesn’t provide ease to all the doubts. Translators and Interpreters alike rely on the success of major industries such as Mining, Tourism, Legal, Medical and the economic uncertainty that will follow the COVID-19 Pandemic leaves them wondering, will it still be possible to make a living via freelance translations and Interpretations?
Effectively, to overcome these coming hurdles one must be able to develop alongside the changing opportunities and sources of work whilst understanding the latest relevant software necessary to perform their role at the same level of professionalism as before the pandemic.
In reality, many individuals and organizations are having to make difficult decisions, learn new skills and grow to reach the requirements that the pandemic has placed upon them and with any change, comes questions and doubts. As always, we are more than happy to answer any of your translation and interpretation inquiries, so don’t hesitate to contact us via our social media accounts or email of which all the information for those can be found on our website.
Best of Luck.