India is the world’s sixth largest economy and currently the fastest growing one. So it goes without saying that the world trades with India and India trades with the world. It therefore follows that there will be a very large number of foreign companies availing of the services of translation companies and interpreting agencies.
As China is by far India’s biggest trading partner you will find a huge demand for Chinese interpreters in India. India’s biggest advantage in international trade and commerce is the fact that English is used in a major way, in matters pertaining to education, business, communication, and law.
This helps greatly in facilitating trade with the large English speaking regions of the world. On the other hand, with the emergence of India as a major market for international brands and businesses, it makes sense for the latter to address the extremely large non-English speaking target audience as well.
Apart from Hindi, there are many other Indian languages like Tamil, Telgu, Bengali, Marathi, and so on, spoken by millions of people. The size of the Indian middle class is in the hundreds of millions and that is something that hasn’t escaped the notice of the leading brands of the world. Take the case of only mobile phones. Did you know that as many 160 million mobile phones are sold in India every year?
Is it any surprise then that almost every major mobile brand in the world gets sold in India with many even having set up manufacturing facilities in India? You can imagine the demand for certified translation services, phone translation services and simultaneous interpreting in this kind of a scenario.
Anybody who has been to a business press conference in India will notice that all manner of communication material, including brochures, press releases and presentations is almost always bi-lingual. In the north of the country, it will be English and Hindi, and in the South it will be English and Tamil, Telgu, Malyalam or Kannada. In the western part of the country, it will be English and Marathi or Gujarati. In the east it will be English and Bengali.
So you can imagine that the document translation services business is in pretty good shape in India. Any business in the U.S. or Europe that is looking at doing business in India needs to hire a top notch translation agency that is aware of the local intricacies when reaching out to potential customers in the country. Did you for instance know that India has a whopping 22 major languages written in 13 scripts?
There are 420 million speakers of Hindi, followed by Bengali with 83 million speakers, Telgu with 74 million, and Marathi with 72 million speakers. The most important languages to know from an official point of view are of course Hindi and English, which is widely used and understood everywhere in India. You can imagine that India has become quite an attractive market for international language service providers with many of them acquiring Indian set-ups or opening their own. This will augur well for the local industry there in light of the fact that it will modernize and professionalize it.
For all its assimilation of Western influences and the extensive use of the English language, India remains a traditional country steeped in traditions, some of which go back thousands of years. Add to that the tremendous diversity of the land. Any translation services company hoping to communicate with the highly varied target audiences of India will have to be very well versed in what is culturally appropriate here.
The Indian translation industry really came into its own following the liberalization of the Indian economy in the 1990s. This was reflected in the growth in the size of the industry from US $40 million in 2007 to US$900 million in 2013. The increase in demand for language services has come from industries like manufacturing, information technology, healthcare, advertising, and so on.
Another reason for the growth of translation services in the Indian economy is internet penetration, which is now at the second position in terms of total internet users-one place behind China and one place ahead of the U.S. Of course that figure does not appear as impressive in terms of the percentage of the population of India, but the ones who do have access possess the spending power as well.
As most of the online content available in India is in English, there is a humongous room and need for translating online content into the major Indian languages spoken by millions of Indians. This is also something that the government is keen on, as this process will help bridge what has been called the digital divide-those with access to online content and those with no such access.
Therefore, the translation industry in India may yet see unprecedented growth in the years to come as more and more online content is made available to people in the far corners of this vast and populous land in a language that they understand. The scope of such translations is really huge, covering the domains of aerospace, agriculture, architecture, manufacturing, electronics, biotechnology, defence, energy, engineering, healthcare, hospitality, and so on and so forth.
India, with its hundreds of languages and dialects can in fact be the crucible of the translation industry, considering that it has more diversity than most nations and indeed continents! Foreign companies desirous of tapping into the vast business opportunities that exist in India would do well to tie up with a stellar translation services company that will help them navigate the great Indian linguistic challenge.
As the Indian economy accelerates in the next few years and becomes the engine of world economic growth, one industry that you can be sure of acting as the great catalyst will be the translations services industry. As it grows the industry can expect to become increasingly efficient and streamlined, leading to better dissemination of content and improved bottom lines. This is a space to watch out for.
- http://www.ntm.org.in/download/ttvol/volume9-2/article_7.pdf ↑