Post Editing: Adding it up

All the world’s translators in one Rolodex (or in one database) — how many translators would that be? It sounds like a fairly innocent question, but the answer is anything but simple. How many translators are needed to do all the translation in the world? How many trained professionals are in the field? Realizing that International Translation Day — a much overlooked occasion — is coming up on September 30, we asked the question, and translator Kirk Anderson, who wrote about translation’s patron saints and Translation Day observances for this issue, replied with some interesting statistics.

  • The American Translators Association expects to finish 2006 with close to 10,000 members, and the International Federation of Translators represents more than 60,000 translators worldwide.
  • The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Translation has about 1,650 linguists and 550 support personnel on its permanent staff and uses freelance translators (there’s that Rolodex) worldwide. One estimate says that European Union institutions use about 2,000 translators.
  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that interpreters and translators held about 31,000 jobs in 2004. Meanwhile, says a report from China, some 60,000 people there are professional translators and interpreters, but closer to 500,000 people are performing translation.

Our region focus in this issue — Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) — intertwines with our business focus — outsourcing. Libor Safar of the Czech Republic describes how the localization industry has developed in the region and the part that outsourcing plays there. Konstantin Josseliani, from Russia, discusses business models that apply to working in CEE, including Russia. Maros Handzak tells the story of his experience as a translator and then translation company owner in Slovakia and Canada, and Haiyang Yang outlines some of the issues involved in Russian-language information retrieval.

Moving further into outsourcing, Erik Granered offers methods for building trust among the members of global (typically virtual) teams. Then we look at three projects that illustrate different work models. Marion Bittinger describes development of the Mohawk-language version of Rosetta Stone’s languagelearning software; Silke Buhr writes about the first localized versions of the World Food Programme’s Food Force computer game; and Jim Healey and I interview the developer of the dotSUB application for open subtitling.

Addressing the technical aspect of localization, Philipp Strazny explains in detail how to localize a RoboHelp project.

Columns and commentary include Tom Edwards further exploring maps; John Freivalds on developing a China strategy; Kit Brown with ways to make a company global as well as international; and in a Perspectives column, Göran Nordlund writes about what makes medical localization both different and interesting. Jost Zetzsche’s Takeaway is about translation — completed translation, that is — as a commodity.

This issue is a pool full of cool, clear and refreshing global information — dive right in! And start planning for September 30 and for Localization World Montréal in October.