Huang Youyi: Build a Better Future for the Asia-Pacific Region through Innovations in the Language Service Industry, June 20, 2016

Huang Youyi, executive vice president of the Translators Association of China (TAC), gives a keynote speech at the Eighth Asia-Pacific Translation and Interpreting Forum. []

Build a Better Future for the Asia-Pacific Region through Innovations in the Language Service Industry

Speech at the Eighth Asia-Pacific Translation and Interpreting Forum

Huang Youyi

Executive Vice President of the Translators Association of China

June 18, 2016

Distinguished guests:

Dear Colleagues:

Good afternoon. For the past two days, we have gathered here in this ancient city of Xi'an to discuss the challenges and opportunities that we translators in the Asia-Pacific region face, sharing our ideas and expectations, for the purpose bringing about a flourishing and beautiful tomorrow for the translation industry in our region.

As a bridge for communications, translation is assuming an increasingly important role in the exchanges of cultures and civilizations of the world. Speedy development in globalization and IT application has given translation new meaning and opened up new ground. Today, language service industry has way gone beyond traditional oral interpretation and written translation; in fact it has become an entirely new service industry that includes translation services, localization services, development of language technology and language tools, management of terminology, consultation in globalization and localization and related training and education.

Against this backdrop, China's language service industry has demonstrated a sustained growth and presented itself as a new industrial chain with great potentials. Much of this development is related to the Belt and Road Initiative that China is implementing.

While growing in scale, the Chinese language service market has shown some structural changes. One change is revealed by a study conducted in 2011 by the Translators Association of China which demonstrated that translation from Chinese into foreign languages for the first time exceeded the workload the other way round. Other changes include the demand for services in languages of very limited diffusion, expanding demand for website and multimedia services. Explosion of content has directly led to greater demand for language services.

In the face of industrial changes and new demands, people in the language service industry have begun explorations for new definitions. In the last two years, professionals in China have held two high-level seminars to discuss the changes and how best redefine the profession of translation.

As we have heard from the speeches people have made at this forum, global language services have presented us with both challenges and opportunities. In a way, China's language service industry faces the challenge brought about by globalized economy. This poses the need for well-designed planning and standardization so as to respond to market demand and better development of the industry.

As an emerging industrial sector, language services are still in their infancy stage. Since there are no domestic industrial guidance and plans for language service, there is very little effective supervision and regulation. Companies vary in performance and there is a dire shortage of highly qualified professionals for language services.

In recent years, people in this profession have called for overall planning and guidance in the hope of setting up some standards to raise competitiveness.

We would like to see that the development of language services can follow an increasingly standardized path. For our society and our market, there is a need for industrial planning, and standards. And in this process the Translators Association of China (TAC) is expected to play a big role. Right now, TAC is conducting studies in the hope of pushing forward industrial standardization so as to ensure healthy and orderly development.

Innovation is an unavoidable topic these days when we talk about industrial growth. Market demand for language services around the globe has been on the rise, areas covered by our services keep expanding, and technology for language services progresses with each passing day. All of this has posted new challenges to the development of language services.

Indeed innovation in language services has never been short in the past: machine translation based on big data, computer-aided translation, corpus development, localization, and cloud computing have become new propellers and new commercial modes have also merged. Though there is no guarantee that all the new technologies and commercial experiments may succeed in the end, they nevertheless have pinpointed the direction of our profession in the future characterized by big data.

In languages services, most service providers are micro and small companies who are weak in innovation and the environment for market competition has much to improve. High-end professionals are in short supply; Training of professionals cannot meet the market demand. Often there is little relationship between translation research and professional development reality. All of this imposes constraints on the development of our profession and our services.

That how to boost innovation remains a problem we have to tackle. Innovation should be guided by cliental needs and market demand. It must be conducted on the basis of thorough analysis of the entire industrial chain. Innovation does not only mean technology. Innovation is also needed in management of language services.

Besides, we must also break away from the limitations of our own profession and try to find the right direction in the development trend of globalization and IT application. Enterprises that are small and yet try to do everything will find it very difficult to operate in the market. Specialization should be the way of progress.

This has determined that we must cooperate through concerted efforts from the government, industry and researchers, giving play to our own specific advantages in responding to diversified market demand. This kind of cooperation should be conducted between language service providers and the clients, among language service providers themselves, between language service providers and other stakeholders such as the government, universities and research institutes.

We have seen the rise of language service centers operated by local government agencies together with enterprises, innovation centers run by universities, as well as alliance established between enterprises with government, universities and service providers. They bring all sectors engaged in production, research and education into an organic whole with each side demonstrating its unique strength. It is very exciting to see cooperative efforts coming from all sources including scientific research, education, technological development, production and sales.

As a professional and industrial association, TAC regards its duty to draw resources from all sectors concerned in order to find solutions to the problems we face. It is currently engaged in bringing universities to work together with professional employers. Some of the projects we have been doing include the selection and accreditation of teachers from among translation practitioners and the identification of companies where students can work as interns, training programs for young teachers in translation and interpretation together with the National Committee for MTI Education, promotion of professional accreditation tests and professional training sessions. We hope that through what we do, we can help satisfy the market need for professionals in language services.

Globally, there have been many new drivers of growth for the international language service industry. According to the 2015 Industry Survey made by the Association of Language Companies, income for US language service providers mostly came from health, legal and government services while in Europe and other regions, technology, manufacture and software were the top income sources.

What I want to emphasize here is that there are many good practices by translators in other countries we in China can learn and benefit from. We need to extensively apply to our practice such tools as technical writing, translation format conversion, corpora alignment, translation memory, voice recognition, automatic translation quality assurance and translation project management.

The development and application of these technologies have quickened and optimized the process of translation, reduced translation cost and enhanced industrial production efficiency, further transforming language services.

As the only national organization in translation, TAC has been active in encouraging and working in language service development and innovation, raising translation level, building up the rank of translation professionals, promoting translation research and studies, standardizing translation management and enhancing international exchange in translation.

Through such means as publicizing industrial development reports, drawing up trade regulations and standards, calling for maintaining professional discipline and credibility, setting up platforms of professional exchanges, undertaking investigation into and proposing legislation in translation, our association aims to cultivate a new language service industry and create a favorable environment for industrial growth. We have been working hard to innovate ways for professional training and conducting academic exchanges, strengthening translation discipline and encouraging further integration of industry, education and research. Meanwhile, we have also maintained cooperation with translation professionals and associations from other countries.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, 21 years have gone by since we held in Beijing the First Asia Translators Forum attended by about 100 participants from over a dozen countries. Now we have a grand gathering of translation professionals through the Asia and Pacific region. It has become a platform for open discussions where we explore the rules and methods in translation, in order to better serve the translation industry and all translators and interpreters.

Compared with Europe and America, we, in Asia and Pacific, speak more languages, but our associations tend to be small and weak, we have less exchange schemes and there are no regional professional planning and standards to speak of. But this is a region where the economy is most dynamic and the need for language services is more urgent and diversified. After years of preparation, at this forum, we finally saw the establishment of the Joint Committee of the APTIF. I hope more and more translation professionals in our region will be able to establish contact and take part in exchanges.

Dear colleagues, translation in tomorrow's Asia and Pacific cannot exist without the participation and support of all the people present here. We wish to work together with all of you to build a high-end, internationally standard and highly professional language service bridge linking up practitioners and those who need their services. Together we can make language service a stronger pillar for Asia and Pacific in the global service trade.

To conclude, I want to thank all the participants for your support. We came here to share and learn, and now we leave with the resolve to continue our exchanges and cooperation in the future. I wish you all the best!

Thank you all.

Copyright © All Rights Reserved   E-mail:   Tel:86-10-68997177