The translation industry market in Poland is one of the most dynamically developing one. The value of the Polish translation market is estimated to be about PLN 1 billion (€230 million). According to the CSO data, the number of translation agencies continually increases. Presently, in the domestic market there are ca. 1.5 thousand translation companies. These are mostly small entities, one-man businesses, with revenues of several hundred thousand PLN per year. Although, the CSO registered approx. 60 thousand companies declaring translations as one of their leading activities, the majority of them are multi-branch companies, or those that register every possible activity “just in case”.
Continuous globalisation facilitates the migration of people, travelling and the expansion of companies into foreign markets. Translations are a very important link in the economy – interpreters and translators make communication barriers disappear and businesses can grow without limits. We can risk saying that the condition of the translation industry has an impact on the development of the Polish business.
Polish companies increasingly cooperate with foreign companies, while enterprises from other countries decide to enter our market. Translation agencies assist in this process: they facilitate intercultural communication, advise, not only in terms of language, but also even in the area of marketing, because they know not only the market but also this very specific industry.
Polish translation market is trying to catch up with Western patterns by following the dynamic global trends. So, what awaits this industry in the near future?
The market is evolving from translations to localization, which is an adaptation of translations for every local market. The texts are not literally translated, but adapted to a specific audience. Professional companies present cultural differences in the text, which means they include historical and political references, proverbs, and explain regionalisms.
The translations most often deal with business and specialized documents: legal and medical. Although more than 80 % of all translations are English and German, there is greater demand for Balkan and Scandinavian languages. There is also a growing number of translations from Chinese.
Along with the entire market the competition is also growing, which is always good news for customers. Translation agencies more often provide translation-related services, such as editing texts, localization, transcription of recordings.
Intense competition and low margins result in the fact that it is very difficult to stand out in this market. The Internet has made it easy to reach customers. Customers can also easily find a translator provider on the Internet. Even small translation agencies can have an attractive website and a high level of services and develop effective operating procedures.
An average customer, especially institutional one as well as individuals do not value quality more than the price. The trend seems to be partly (but only partly) changing in the case of companies that learn from their own mistakes and know that you have to pay for the quality. Choosing the cheapest translator often ends in a situation when they have to pay once more for the correction. An avaricious person pays twice, but some people can afford it. This trend seems to be the opposite to that which prevails in Western Europe, where customers first ask for testimonials and experience, and then about the price.
In summary, the prospects are really good. First of all, because the demand is still growing and will continue to grow. The problem will remain to be low margins, which prevent development and investment, and do not allow for paying better rates to translation agencies.