The Indian translation industry is estimated to be worth $900 million (£554.7 million), according to one expert. As ‘globalisation’ becomes the main buzzword for businesses, translation companies in India are witnessing a boom in demand for their services.

Speaking to the Times of India, Sandeep Nulkar, chairman and managing director of a language services provider in the city of Pune, claims the sector began to show signs of significant growth in 1991, following the country’s economic liberalisation. He reveals there is particular interest from the pharmaceutical, science, IT and engineering sectors which are all booming, with real demand seen for document localisation.

Translator Rasika Gumaste explains that translators in India have to be able to turn around work quickly, but that an understanding of technical language and data is also beneficial due to the nature of the industries they are doing work for. “Though there are softwares, the context and meaning can only be conveyed by a human translator,” he adds.

Last month, the Indian Express also reported an upturn in demand for translation services in India. Indeed, director of Translation Panacea Vidula Tokekar said she had seen Pune’s translation sector expand by between 15 and 20 per cent. Mr Nulkar echoes these earlier comments, saying that while Delhi continues to lead the way in foreign languages, the city of Pune is taking on much of the linguistics work. In addition, while the rest of the country is encountering a fiscal slump, the translation industry continues to grow unabated, with rising demand for not just foreign languages but also regional Indian dialects.

Mr Nulkar says: “Any company which wants to grow its business needs to be local. Offering your company’s website in multiple languages is as important today as it was having a visiting card back in the 90s.”

It is not only businesses that are demanding translations either, but also consumers. The Times of India reported in September that book translations are also garnering interest. The ability to read some of the country’s great works of literature provides an unmatched insight into its culture, customs and history.

While readers outside India are keen to get their hands on some of its most famous books translated to their native language, all across India there are people who want to read books written elsewhere in the world. Vidula Tokekar, who is director of another Pune translation provider, says that fiction is the biggest area of demand in regional parts of India. She says that people here want to read books that may be written in English or another foreign language, and that her firm is translating them into the regional language to cater to this desire.

As the internet continues to make the whole world feel smaller, demand for translation services across all industries will only continue to rise. Whether it’s businesses wishing to localise their web content to access new markets or book-lovers who want to read the latest American bestseller, it would seem that in this digital age people have never needed language services more.

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