Translators are in High Demand and Short Supply

By Atlas LS

Since late 2021, there has been a shortage of language translators. This has affected numerous industries, from the entertainment sector to the military sector. Read on to find out why translators are in high demand and short supply.

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Military Translator Shortages in Current Conflict

Training manuals and tutorials for US-supplied weapons are produced in overdrive in the war between Russia and Ukraine. With a shortage of Americans able to translate them, they’re piling up. In addition, top military officials in the US revealed that there are limited pools of Ukrainians able to gain top-secret clearance. This level of security is needed to obtain training from US trainers.

Companies are meeting with government officials and lawmakers to highlight the growing problem of an overwhelming flood of data and foreign language content in the digital age. Agencies for national security cannot quickly employ qualified, cleared American translators to brute force their way out of the dilemma.

Film Industry Translation Shortages

With new services like Disney+ now competing on the global stage, along with services such as HBO Max and Iflix, it’s resulted in the need for more translation resources. For example, Disney+ needed to create high-quality translations for its original programming and find translators for older movies in its archive to accommodate the local markets.

Training new translators to meet demands in certain translation hot spots will take time and require professionals.

In recent years, the deluge of new content has required more and more effort to translate by humans. One example is one company that invests in machine learning translation and automated quality checks but says its AI isn’t good enough yet to replace humans. Sometimes, machine learning is used for a first draft of the subtitles, edited by a human. But, unfortunately, AI’s shortcomings in subtitling mean there’s no quick fix for the translator crunch.

US Bureau of Labor

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow twenty percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than for all jobs.”

About 9,200 openings for translators and interpreters are projected annually for the next decade. Many of those positions will result from replacing workers who transfer to new occupations or leave the labor force to retire.

One of the current shortages is in simultaneous interpreters. Those people convey a verbal message into another language while someone is speaking. Simultaneous interpreters and those working in Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI), legal translation, and conference translation services must know the subject matter and maintain a high concentration level to get the message across with high levels of accuracy. Due to the specialized work involved, simultaneous interpreters may work in teams or pairs if they are interpreting for extended periods of time, such as in a or conference setting or a court proceeding.

A proven solution to the interpreter shortage is establishing remote interpreting services. Remote interpreting has taken its rightful place as the preferred method for conference translation services, conference interpretation, and general interpreting services over the past few years.