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Multilanguage multimedia

Demand for translating the content of web pages and localizing applications is growing exponentially.

"The globalization and language expansion of websites is becoming increasingly intensive, therefore translation agencies have a growing amount of work in this field,” András Szalay-Berzeviczy, the head of the TranzPress translation agency, told the Budapest Business Journal. The number of internet users is growing exponentially on emerging markets such as the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), the Arab world and North Africa. Five years ago, only one-third of large companies had their websites translated into Russian and Chinese. Today, seven out of ten multinational companies translate their websites to these languages, and an average multinational company’s website is translated into 22 languages, according to an article in Multilingual, a translation journal.

Demand for localizing multimedia packages for web pages has grown exponentially since 2007, noted Miklós Bán, CEO of the third largest translation group in Hungary, espell. Companies that tend to look for this type of service are those that are present on the local market or are planning expansion.

However, not all of these companies are classic multinationals. “According to our experience, demand for web page localization services does not depend on the size of the company, but is determined by the type of service they provide or their business strategy,” explained Katalin Varga, head of another translation agency, Afford.

The localization of a web page is a complex task and is in many aspects quite different from traditional document translation. The website has to be in harmony with the profile of the company in terms of style and phrasing, and the matter of search optimization has to be taken into full consideration during the translation process. This means that the agency has to discuss with the client what the most important expressions are for the target group, and these have to be included in the text. Also, in the case of localization jobs, overall linguistic testing is necessary, which borders between linguistics and technology and therefore has to be done by a translation engineer.

However, it is not the translation of “traditional” web pages that poses the biggest challenge to translation agencies. The new trend is the translation of applications that can be accessed on the web without installing them to a PC: the multimedia package of a specific website, the localization of web applications, from e-learning materials to flash videos.

Market players agree that localization tasks will be the business of the future, and mostly the localization of online applications. Some agencies are even specializing on translating software and web pages.

A dominant 70% of TranzPress agency’s revenue came from software localization, primarily the localization of online applications. “This business profile is strengthening continuously,” András Szalay-Berzeviczy told the BBJ.

Larger firms are also seeing more growth: espell estimates at least 10% revenue growth for 2011 after a 2% growth in 2010, and also expects to see growing demand for localization services this year. (This article was originally published in the June 3rd issue of the Budapest Business Journal)