European translation firms worth $12bn

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Business generated by Europe’s translation providers and other language teaching services is estimated to have been worth $12bn in 2008, according to research published by the EU last month.

The report, commissioned by the EU’s translation service, said that the language industry is growing faster than any other sector in Europe, with expansion estimated to continue at 10%. But researchers warn that because the industry is so diverse, spread across activities ranging from in-company translation, software development and subtitling of films and television programmes, its impact is often overlooked.

One indication that this could change comes from evidence that investment companies are showing growing interest in the sector, the report’s writers say. They point to evidence from eastern Europe where a small number of players are dominating translating services.

The report also highlights a growing acceptance of machine translation tools. This is in response to a shortage of human translators and improved accuracy of computer-assisted translation.

The translation and interpreting sector dominates the language industry, with an estimated value of $8bn in 2008, while language teaching was the next biggest sector, estimated to be worth $2.3bn.

Read more > Guardian

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