For over a year now, the world has been severely impacted by Covid-19, ultimately casting much uncertainty for the future. The ramifications of the virus have been felt deeply, especially in the working and business worlds across all industries. Organisations and companies of all types have been ushered to adapt to working remotely as a result of the difficulties facing them. But how has this global pandemic changed the fate of translators and language service providers from around the world?

For most freelance translators, working remotely is nothing new. Being your own boss and working flexibly according to your own schedule are enticing enough. That being said, many translators have been experiencing negative implications on their work as well as their mental health as a result of the pandemic. This crisis has not only led to the rational fear of losing jobs due to lack of available work and having to find alternative sources of income, but it has also conjured up feelings of instability which perpetuates unhappiness and the feeling that you are not progressing in your professional life. This can be supported by a global survey of freelance translators conducted by the CSA research institute. From the 1,174 responses across 97 countries, the results show how 65% believed that the industry has changed temporarily due do covid, meanwhile an additional 25% believe that it has changed permanently. The survey shone a light onto some emerging trends within the translator community, namely: lower income, fewer job opportunities, and a decline in workload.

But why are translators having such negative doubts?

The answer lies with how the pandemic has impacted language service providers and the demand for them during the period where the world stood still. Essentially, people are no longer travelling or relocating, businesses are no longer trading, academics and education have been paused, global processes, procedures and affaires have all been halted. As such, translation services are not needed because cross-border mobility and international communications are not taking place at all. So unfortunately, our freelance translators have to bear the brunt of being without work until the world picks up again and restrictions are eased.

Covid has thus impacted almost all areas of the translation industry by bringing many difficulties to companies and the individuals who work for them. Whether the impacts are just temporary or for the long run, only time will tell…

A penny for your thoughts – how do you think the industry will evolve in the future?

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