Localization and internationalization are growing at a rate of knots. The translation industry as a whole is growing at a rate of 26% a year, and localization plays a significant part in that.
Recent research, carried out by the Common Sense Advisory, shows that 72% of people spend the vast majority of their time, if not all of it, on websites in their own language.
Localization has become a non-negotiable, resulting in more gradient niches for language professionals. It’s a truth that makes an awful lot of sense, although it took a long time for many businesses to accept that internationalization, also referred to as i18n, and localization, or l10n, are genuinely worth the investment.
As the world seemingly gets smaller and smaller, people’s awareness of the importance of reaching customers in their mother tongue continues to grow. These days it’s been proven that localization can lead to hugely increased ROI.
Growth, inevitably, comes hand in hand with significant and continual change. Here are a few of the key trends we’ve spotted emerging in the industry.
The most important change that has come about in the l10n and i18n industry is that there are now very few people working in the world of marketing who would argue that localization is something you can take or leave if you want to tap into a new market.
That means that any company expanding into a new market, whether an entirely different language or a different dialect and cultural context, now has no excuses when it comes to investing in localization.
The proof is in the figures. Research from 2016 showed that total company investment in translation and localization boomed from $26 billion in 2010 to $38 billion in 2015, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. In fact, 94% of companies plan to increase their spending in this area in 2018. The demand for emerging market localization is on the up. Here’s an opportunity to branch out within your 1 square inch of the market. While the languages most translated from English are still European, including Spanish, Portuguese and German, and languages like Chinese and Russian are starting to snap at their heels, what’s especially interesting about the current market is the growth of demand for emerging markets.
Languages such as Swahili have exploded, and various languages spoken in India including Oriya and Malayalam are also experiencing unprecedented growth.
With continually growing numbers of smart-phone owners and internet users in countries that up till now haven’t enjoyed such broad access to such technologies, the demand for apps and websites in these languages will only continue to shoot upwards.
E-commerce and localization go hand in hand, and people are using their smart-phones to buy, so that means that localization of apps and mobile web content is vital for companies to be able to close those sales.
Everything from content to customer service to payments needs to be localized for the maximum number of potential customers to click ‘pay now’. Social Media and video localization ever more relevant. A whole new market for localizing experts. You’d have to have been living under a rock for a very long time not to have realized the importance of social media, but it’s only recently that companies have really started thinking about the internalization and localization of their social media strategies.
While social media is the center of marketing these days, especially when we’re talking about millennials and following generations as a target audience, the most effective strategy on social media is video. The localization of a video can, clearly, be far more complicated than that of any copy.
Simple subtitling and video localization are very different things as the latter can require an entirely new video to be created. The world of social media and video localization will continue to take leaps forward this year.
Think about the single best marketing you’ve come across while prowling the web in 2018. Did it include video? Here’s a trend that’s seemingly emerging to stay. Well worth looking into, we think.
Back to the drawing board
Your chance to establish yourself as a master of your craft. Conquering a new market or branching out within your niche is one option to future-proof your business without compromising on the quality of results. Evolving alongside industry trends keeps your business safe and sound.
In summary: it pays to keep an eye on industry trends and expanding horizons, to take stock of your business regularly.
New trends or old news: No matter your niche, keep chipping away at the edges of your area of service until you come up with your core essential: your area of brilliance.