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Language Services Needed -- Wherever There Are People
Posted by Nataly Kelly on June 12, 2008  in the following blogs: Translation and Localization, Business Globalization, Best Practices
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When you think about countries with a booming demand for language services, places like Uganda and Sri Lanka may not be top of mind. However, these nations are experiencing a phenomenon that has become quite common in immigration-"friendly" Europe and the Americas -- an increased need for multilingual communication. While the trend may be familiar, the reasons for it are both similar and different.
  • Language policy and legislation. For example, in Sri Lanka, the Official Languages Commission bemoaned the government's insufficient supply of government workers with proficiency in Tamil. It seeks to increase supply by training interpreters and translators.
  • Physical access. Increased recognition of physical access issues feeds growth in countries. Witness sign languages and the need for interpreters. Advocates want to erase stigmas and increase access for deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) individuals worldwide, such as Pakistani Sign Language and medical sign language interpreters in Uganda.
  • Local demand. The Australian government recently designated half a million dollars to providing more court interpreters for aboriginal languages. It suggested not only that there were not enough interpreters to meet the existing demand, but that adding more interpreters would create more jobs. Language services as a job creation engine? Stop the presses and call the Ministry of Economic Development. Language services rarely show up in government growth projections.
  • Commerce and communion. Language services growth is always fueled by organizations that want to increase their market share by making their services available to new language groups. For example, the Vatican recently approved translation of its Roman Missal into Tzotzil and Tzetzal, two indigenous languages spoken by the descendants of the Mayan civilization near a local Mexican diocese seeking to attract more parishioners. And oh yes, don't forget multicultural retail and marketing.
Even in Japan, often thought to be a monolingual and monocultural nation, there is a growing need for language services fueled not only by international tourism, but by internal multiculturalization as a result of migration. In 2004, there were nearly 2 million foreign nationals registered as residents of Japan, including a community of nearly 300,000 Brazilians.

The bottom line: The demand for language services continues to grow -- even in the most unlikely places.


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