Remote working is not a new concept to the localisation industry and has been growing in popularity year on year, prior to 2020 and 2021. What the pandemic did, however, was to greatly accelerate the ‘work from home’ movement so much so that it was no longer an option, but a necessity. This shift has affected every industry across the globe and the localisation industry is no different.
Though many translators would have been used to this way of working, having become accustomed to translating from the comfort of their own home, for others who would more commonly work on site, face-to-face or in office settings, the relocation to a home working environment has been challenging.
Pivoting, almost overnight, from working in-person in teams and attending events and conferences to using video conferencing and digital translation tools day to day has been harder to navigate for some more than others.
For employers, the management of employees and the onboarding of new team members has proven difficult too. And with the evolution of machine translation and its rapid growth through the pandemic, there have been major adjustments for the industry.
The impact of COVID-19 on the localisation industry
Very few industries were left untouched by the impact of COVID-19 and it has left its mark on the localisation industry as well. In the height of the pandemic a study by CSA Research, showed that 55% of language service providers reported a decrease in business since the outbreak began.
As online events began to take over and as people began moving around again, demand has started to return. There has been, however, a noticeable change in where that demand was coming from.
Since the start of the pandemic, there may have been less requests from the hospitality and event industry, but there has been a massive uptake in services required by the health, pharmaceutical, eCommerce and digital services industries.
New content is needed and businesses are looking to connect with a wider audience, digitally. So not only has there been a shift in how localisation services are being provided, there is also a shift in what services are being provided.
Regardless of what the future holds post-pandemic, most of these changes are here to stay so the challenge now is how to provide those services remotely both effectively and seamlessly and customise workflows for different markets.
Adapting to a changing market
Adaptation is key to survival and so the industry must look at the key trends to be aware of when planning for the future of a remote localisation industry.
Managing customer and workforce experience
As the world went online, even those who may have been working remotely pre-COVID had to adapt to increased digitization. Systems and processes that had been in place needed to be reassessed to keep up with these changes.
While in some instances temporary measures were put into place, it is vital now that more permanent solutions are found. There will be no going back to how things used to be done, at least not to the same extent.
Companies within the industry need to find ways to communicate with and train employees remotely and in an effective manner. And employees need to adjust workflows and adopt new thinking when collaborating and providing services virtually. Finding systems to manage these workflows and support employees is essential.
Companies across a variety of industries have adapted to cloud based technologies that offer a shared and unified experience. The ability to share workspaces that can be accessed from anywhere and managed in real-time will be fundamental to the industries survival in a remote working landscape.
Learning to embrace technology
One fear of remote working was that productivity would be affected.
Surprisingly, however, most studies have shown an increase in productivity for remote workers. In fact, up to 90% of respondents said that they felt more productive and got more work done when working remotely.
With the rise in machine translation(MT) and a new era where AI is being ushered in, it is important that the industry learn to embrace these new technologies rather than fight them.
By adding these into work practices correctly it can actually help to maintain productivity levels and improve efficiencies, while highlighting the importance of the ‘human touch’. By using automated translations, it can help to eliminate the repetitive tasks, allowing for greater focus on more complex quality tasks.
Changes in market demand
As mentioned already, a shift in the type of content required and how it is being delivered has led to new ways of working for the localisation industry. Companies who are growing and expanding will come to rely heavily on comprehensive services, such as localisation services, that will provide a deep understanding of cross-cultural nuances.
Remote interpretation services are becoming more in demand as people want to join online conversations in their own native language and businesses want to foster engagement and inclusivity with their expanding market. Agencies that provide remote simultaneous interpretation services (RSI) will thrive and so equipping employees with the tools they need to cater remotely to such demand will be vital.
While the industry has changed significantly as a result of the pandemic, one thing that remains constant is the importance of human connection. Be it business to consumer, business to business or business to employee.
In a remote working world, that connection may now be even more important than ever. The demand for remote localisation services looks set to continue to rise and so the industry must prepare accordingly and build a connected and adaptable remote workforce that can navigate this new age.
With vast knowledge of the localisation industry and an exceptional reputation spanning more than 20 years’ experience, we at International Achievers Group are recruitment professionals that go above and beyond the expectations of our clients in providing recruitment for many of the world’s leading companies who are expanding on the global stage. To enquire about our services, please get in touch with us today.