Keeping abreast with technology

What lessons, as language service professionals, can we take from this year? Technology continues to make inroads into our business and livelihoods. For translators, this comes in the form of more advanced CAT tools and ever-improving machine translation, along with an increasing number of cloud-based applications at our disposal. For interpreters, VoIP software, from Skype to WhatsApp, is appearing more and more, shortening distances between speakers of different languages. But unlike the translation industry, location still matters for interpreting. In-person assignments in court rooms, hospitals, government agencies, schools and board rooms look like a sure thing for the foreseeable future.

Our response to these trends will vary with our language pairs, our client base, and our future objectives. However, no matter what language you speak, and where you currently work, it is clear that we all need to be technologically savvy and attempt to stay ahead of the curve. Even if we don’t use, or don’t plan to use, these technologies in our current work, it is important to learn about them, become familiar with them, and co-opt them whenever possible. This is the key to future-proofing our jobs.

Technology will not wait for us to respond. It will continue to be developed, because we live in a more connected world with ever-shrinking distances. People, businesses, governments all want and need to communicate with one another, and they will choose the option that is the most efficient and cost-effective. We need to make sure that our services fit that bill.