Rasika Gumaste, Secretary CITLoB-ALP

Freelance German-English, English-German Translator and Interpreter

German Language Trainer

Classical Dancer

[more about her here]


FREELANCE TRANSLATIONS IN INDIA – THE MARKET SHIFT

From human translations to TRADOS to DeepL – Where are we headed next?

In her 20 years career as a professional German < > English translator, Rasika has seen – rather been a part of huge changes in the Industry in India. In this article, she has summarised all those changes as she goes down the memory lane and talks to her colleagues as well as new entrants in the profession.  Written from the freelance translator’s perspective, this is an interesting read and useful for freelance professionals, agencies and end users.  The second article on the subject will be published in the next issue of April 2021.

India has a been a hub of translation activity for several years. Few years ago, globalisation brought an unprecedented boom in the foreign language industry in India. Quality work being available at extremely reasonable rates, a lot of work started flowing into India. The translation market saw a sudden surge.

Today, with CAT-tools such as TRADOS and online Auto Translate tools like DeepL getting more and more efficient, we see a major change taking place in the freelance translation scene. A lot of translation jobs are being replaced with Post-Editing jobs, which may not have the same flavour or may seem ‘not-so-challenging’. For those working part time, this is perhaps a very good option. But, full-time freelancers working into and from foreign languages are sure to be affected or possibly even get demotivated, since they are not utilising their skills completely. To add to it are the diminishing returns.With NMTs (Neural Machine Translations) getting better and better, the die-hard translator is gradually being pushed in the background.

Is then, diversification a viable solution? In a culturally and linguistically rich country like India, there is no end to the varied fields that one can explore and try one’s hand at, especially with language know-how. The demand for work into and from vernacular languages is never-ending. Foreign languages have an element of glamour in them. Of course, the returns are glamorous too! But, with the changing trend, going back to our roots (our mother tongue) is probably a very good alternative.Moreover, agencies are waiting with open doors, willing to give complete support in the form of training, guidelines and of course, a range of translation jobs. With all these factors, does a market shift seem inevitable?

Foreign markets seem to have completely adapted to the new scene. The current change coupled with the COVID situation calls for increased adaptability, because crisis also generates opportunity. Language professionals in India need to navigate these uncertain times. The future of translation technology is changing drastically and this change is here to stay.