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How COVID-19 Has Reshaped The Interpretation & Translation Industry

Updated: Jan 24

While some sectors of language services were hit hard by the pandemic, other areas saw a dramatic rise in their business.


Over the past two years, there has been a significant change in the way that every successful business operates. When COVID-19 first hit, businesses had to adapt to a wave of modifications to keep up with everything going on around them. These changes that were created to adapt to a world with less in-person contact seem to be here to stay. From therapists to language service providers, many businesses now permanently offer their services online.

55% of service providers saw a decrease in business due to COVID. Because the pandemic made in-person contact as minimal as possible, most businesses and language service providers tried to adapt by moving their services online. While some sectors of language services were hit hard by the pandemic, other areas saw a dramatic rise in their business. One area that is specifically thriving is translation and interpretation services for tele-health purposes. Because of the massive move of healthcare online, tele-health now has some of the largest needs for remote interpreters and translators. According to the same survey done by CSA research, 59% of language service providers reported higher demand from medical and pharmaceutical fields as well as life science fields. Because of this increased need for language services in the online world of health, this sector of interpreting and translating has quickly become the most popular during the pandemic. As a result of the pandemic and many businesses moving online, there was a large change in the markets that were demanding language services. Healthcare, on the other hand, became one of the top users of translators and interpreters in the online world. Medical and healthcare providers are familiar with these services as they are required by law to provide language services to their patients. However, with the rising number of patients came an even greater need for translators and interpreters, particularly those who offered their services remotely. Once COVID-19 hit, the need for in-person translation almost disappeared. It was then quickly replaced with a drastic need for online translation throughout different markets that hadn’t used them much before. While the increase in demand from these new markets seemed like a good thing, it was extremely difficult for many language businesses operating traditionally face-to-face to adapt to. Language service providers had to find a way to modify their operations so that they could work remote. Translators and interpreters had to learn how to work from home so they could continue to offer their services to clients. Some of the most popular changes in operations that now benefit the organizations that use language service providers include:

  • Creating a website that is easily navigated and helpful to the customer

  • 24/7 phone translating services

  • Telehealth language services

  • Offering remote translation and interpreting services in different formats such as video conferences and Zoom, phone calls, or through cloud-based applications

Video calls, video conferencing, and virtual meetings have become some of the most important methods of communication throughout the pandemic. In a socially distanced world, many people feel isolated. Video calls allow businesses to easily communicate face-to-face with their employees and clients without having to be physically present, which is extremely beneficial to language service providers.

With its many meeting options and customizable settings, Zoom’s video call services are the perfect alternative to in-person meetings and appointments. Some businesses have heavily leveraged the benefits of virtual meetings, and they may replace face-to-face meetings and translation permanently. 4. Change in Expectations and Quality Standards With the increase of more professional markets like healthcare needing language services, the quality standards and expectations of translators are extremely high. In the medical field, there is no room for error, which is why having an interpreter with skills that you can trust is crucial when you or a client speak a different language. Quality standards were also increased when video calls became a new normal. While high quality is always expected, both the client and the business need to have a mutual understanding that internet services and connectivity can be unpredictable. What Does the Future Look Like? With what seems like constant changes over the past few years, the most important thing for any business to embrace is to be ready to adapt. For example, if you had to shift your services remote, you may need to hire a translator for meetings. The future is seemingly full of accessible online platforms and new methods of communication for businesses and clients alike, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of them. While face-to-face services aren’t completely ruled out in the future, it’s clear that remote services are here to stay. For many businesses, the initial transition from in-person to remote services was hectic and haphazard in response to COVID-19. As technology services have also greatly improved to meet demands, there are a variety of benefits to retaining remote services indefinitely. Here are some of the advantages that come with using a remote language service:

1. Improved Accessibility One of the biggest advantages of remote language services is their accessibility. Almost any internet-connected device can be used for remote language services, whether it is a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. It’s easy for a variety of different people to work with a remote language service provider that fits their needs. In fact, many clients find themselves using language services more often when those services are offered remotely because they are so convenient and easy to use. 2. Enhanced Flexibility Online language services are also incredibly flexible. There are no location restrictions as there are with in-person translation or interpreting. This makes choosing a time for a meeting easier, and clients can reach a translator almost immediately when needed. Remote language services are flexible, letting you access them from wherever you are, at whatever time you need. 3. Wider Reach Another great benefit to online language service providers is that they can work with a much larger client base. The internet has millions of users located across the world, many of which are businesses. Clients can select from a large range of providers and are no longer bound by their location when businesses are operating remotely. 4. Lower Costs With online services, the costs are often lower for both the language service providers and the clients. By eliminating travel expenses such as fuel and potential tolls, hiring a language service provider online usually costs much less. Many of the changes initiated by the pandemic are here to stay, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The online world offers an endless number of beneficial resources for all businesses and services, allowing people to feel more connected than ever. For example, by leveraging a wide range of translation and interpretation services already available, such as remote video interpretation and Zoom meeting interpretation.

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