How COVID-19 Has Affected The Language Industry

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses throughout the world, with companies adjusting their operations to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. For example, the restaurant industry has had to scale back their in-house dining operations and provide more outdoor dining, delivery, and to-go options. Tech companies that provide e-learning, video conferencing, and other remote connectivity services have been thriving as working from home has become the current norm.

How has our industry–the language industry–been affected? In this blog, we explore this question and how localization companies and professionals have adapted in order to survive and thrive during these times.

[Average read time: 3 minutes]


photo by Logan Weaver

Content Shift

As industries have had to adapt to current conditions, some industries have been disproportionately affected. For instance, the travel & hospitality industry has taken a major hit whereas product and food delivery and digital services have seen an increase in business.


What does this mean for localization companies and professionals? The type of content that is being localized and translated during the pandemic is also changing. There has been a shift to localizing content for those industries that have seen an increase in business such as: delivery, e-learning, remote connectivity, credit and benefit programs, etc…In contrast, there has been a shift away from localizing for industries that have seen a severe drop in commerce: travel, gyms, TV/movie production, and more.  That said, across the board there has been an increase in localization and translation of policies and marketing information related to how industries are responding to COVID-19.


An increase in localization and translation of medical and public health announcements has also helped fill in the loss of content from other industries. The need for language services in the public health sector is important now more than ever, with companies making sure their content–which could have a major impact on the health of the general population–gets translated and localized so that it reaches the multilingual public.


photo by Zakaria Ahada

Doing Business Not As Usual

As you might expect, many in-person language services have been paused or replaced with remote options in response to the pandemic. Live interpretation (in-person translation of what a speaker is saying), for instance, has moved more towards interpretation over video chat or telephone. However, for many translators that worked from home or voice talents that already had home studios, their situations have remained relatively the same. Though as is the case with other at-home professionals now, they may have to watch their school-age stay-at-home children or deal with other such pandemic-related responsibilities and changes.


Voice-over from a home studio is now the preferred method for certain projects to reduce the number of sessions with multiple individuals together ata local professional studio and to keep the same productivity even with additional health and safety protocols. For those without home studios, the need to build their own has become imperative for them to continue to work during these times. For many voice actors that have relied on their local studio for recording, they may now have to educate themselves in purchasing professional audio equipment and learn recording/editing skills that they might not have known before.


There has been a drop in live action commercial, tv, and film productions, however, animation has seen a boom since it can be done remotely. This means an increase in demand in voice acting and post production for animation. Actors that have never done voice-over are now moving into the voice-over space and live action editors moving into animation. For voice-over, this also means increased competition for voice-over professionals.


Another industry that has seen a boom is e-learning (aka distance learning). With many schools around the world still closed this fall, there has been a stronger need for educational text, audio, video and other media that can be delivered online to supplement the online lessons children receive from their teachers. Language companies are called on to help translate and localize this content in order to reach communities that speak different languages. Many schools around the world went through growing pains this past spring with their e-learning programs, however, now schools are better prepared and educated about the importance of remote learning and how to implement it. Therefore, we should see continued demand in this field.


Language companies and professionals–like many other industries–will have to build their online infrastructure and expand their digital services in order to survive and hopefully thrive to meet the demand of these times. High speed internet, cloud storage, project management and video conferencing software are essential to help language companies continue localizing content. The need to be able to send large files and have reliable communication across the digital space has never been more important than ever and this is a trend that will continue on into the future.


photo by Leonardo Toshiro Okubo


Helping businesses communicate with their multilingual, culturally diverse customer base around the world is a service we take pride in providing and is the core of the language industry. Content that is being localized has shifted towards businesses that have been able to thrive during the pandemic. However, across all industries, the need for accurate translated and localized content in multiple languages in regards to COVID-19 policy and public health changes has increased.


The new norm of working remotely has impacted how language companies and professionals do business with a home recording space for voice-over and high speed internet for file delivery becoming essential for many to continue working.


How has the pandemic affected your business or work? Feel free to let us know in the comments below. We wish you all much health and happiness and hope you’ve been able to gain some advice on how to adapt during these times.



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