In April 2014, The Business Times approached Lingua Technologies International with a list of questions on the state of the Translation Industry here in Singapore. The CEO of Lingua Technologies International replied with a very interesting perspective.
We will be sharing his viewpoints over 3 parts with you.
- Who makes up the bulk of customers for translation services? i.e government agencies, MNCs, SMEs, individuals
For us, MNCs traditionally form the main bulk of our customers. We are seeing more SMEs requesting for translation services but they usually do not have much knowledge in terms of purchasing translation and most will rely on price as an indicator when it comes to awarding job.They have this idea that translation services are only provided by individuals who are effectively bilingual. To put it very bluntly, I have been told by a person that “actually I can actually ask my wife to do it because she knows this language too. But she is busy. So your price is too high!”As for government agencies, unfortunately, despite all the examples of “Shamed” translations being published all over the place, many of them still opt for the cheapest option without even verifying the origins of the translators handling their jobs.
- What sectors do these customers usually come from? i.e retail, finance, education
I always say that businesses that need to communicate with people who speak a different language are our customers. As long as there is this need, there will be demand for translation. At the moment, we see clients from the medical, pharmaceutical, engineering, legal, finance sectors dominating our client list.
- What are the top conversions (language to language)?
There is a teochew saying that goes: You sit where the shade is.Obviously, the most demanded language is Simplified Chinese for the China market.But we have seen regular demand for Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Korean, Japanese, and the standard European languages.
- Are there any reasons for the above answer? i.e more collaborations between Singapore the other countries
I think simply because more people are doing business in these countries. And if you want a slice of these markets, you need to speak their languages.As the boundaries between countries blur, you see language as one of the many things that help define and reinforce a country’s identity. As mentioned above, the pressure to translate can either be from the local government or it can come organically from the masses.