Translation related services as profession?
Although translation industry has displayed immense optimism in India, unless the government takes necessary steps to organise it better, its prospect perhaps will be derailed. In India, unlike other developed nations such as USA, UK, Canada, Australia, China or Japan, freelancing of translation jobs are not considered to be very stable. This is largely because of the irregular flow of work. It can be estimated from various sources available that in USA, a freelance translation professional can earn an average of 55,000 USD per year, which is almost equivalent to the annual salary of a middle school teacher in USA. Likewise, a translator can earn an average of 55,000 dollars in Australia and 50,000 in Canada. Data about earning of a freelance translator in India is simply not available. But from personal experience and webbased study, it would be safe to estimate that a serious freelance translator in India can easily earn as much as Rs.15,000 – Rs.20,000 a month. The earning of a full-time translator may even go higher than this
Use of Technology
Adoption of technology among organizations and individual translators differs significantly. Because of the cost and effort required to build and maintain the translation tools, only the larger organizations show interest in investing enough money to develop or acquire necessary technology and tools. Besides traditional tools such as, dictionaries, glossaries, thesaurus etc, the usage of Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools is increasing rapidly in order to improve productivity. The main function of a CAT tool is to save or store the translation units in a database, called Translation Memory (TM), so that they can be re-used for any other text, or even in the same text. CAT tools also uses term-bases, kind of e-glossary that helps the translator to maintain consistency across translations. Some popular CAT tools are – SDL Trados, SDL Passalo, Fluency, OmegaT, Déja Vù, Wordfast etc. These tools are mostly used offline. With the growing user base of internet and internet based services, online tools or platforms for are gaining momentum and becoming popular among the translation companies as well as translators. One such ‘Localization Management Platform’ is Crowdin.11 This Ukraine originated platform, started in 2009, aims at ‘mobile apps, web, desktop software and related assets’ localisation. There are advantages and disadvantages of both online and offline tools. Offline tools are installable and licenses need to be bought by the users. They are generally very expensive but once bought, user can create their own memory or term-bases for future use. Industry giant Lionbridge Technologies has introduced cloud based translation platform – Lionbridge Translation Workspace. This “cloud-based translation productivity platform, Lionbridge Translation Workspace streamlines website translation processes through real-time translation memory (TM), terminology management, and online review capabilities. It also significantly boosts efficiencies to help our translation experts reduce project turnaround times and costs—while delivering the highest levels of language consistency and translation quality.”12 Popularity of Machine Translation (MT) has also increased substantially. Quest for building MT systems that work with Indian languages started 20 years back in 1995 in the form of Anusaaraka Systems in IIT Kanpur. Thereafter, many MT systems such as MANTRA MT (1999), MAT (2002), Shakti (2003), OMTrans (2004), The MaTra System (2004, 2006), Sampark System: Automated Translation among Indian Languages (2009), ANGLABHARTI (2001), AnglaHindi (2003), Anubharti I & II (1995, 2004) are developed by various organisations and individuals.