The Importance of Translation in a Post-Pandemic World

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Today is International Translation Day, the 30th of September. It has been a trying year since most of us transitioned from normal life to lockdown and social distancing over the past 6 months. We have been working from home, surrounded by our children and pets, some of us have been homeschooling our children, while others simply juggled their kids and work by using techniques they would normally not resort to; such as TV, technology, and more screen time for the youngest of kids.

We have done our grocery shopping online, talked to friends and family on screens, and handled anxiety and other feelings quite well, despite what we may think looking back at the past few months.

However, in many countries life is starting to go back to normal, some people are back at work and school, others are still socially distancing but less isolated than before.

Today we want to discuss how this new world has shaped our experiences as humans, translators, and communicators. Many translators are used to working remotely and from home, not much has changed for us on that end. However, the world is definitely a changed place. This begs the question of the importance of translation post-pandemic: are we going to see a higher demand in translation services, does the world need more translation?

This is beyond doubt a definite and resounding yes. In today’s world, someone from Belgium could be browsing a skincare website based in the UK, looking for solutions that will arrive at their doorstep. In Belgium, a majority of the people speak French, which means that said skincare website can reach a larger audience if they translated their website into French. In fact, studies conducted in Europe have proven that people prefer to purchase from websites that contain a version translated into their mother tongue.

Europe is well-known for its high standards of education, and a majority of Europeans understand English well enough to conduct simple purchases online, yet still, they prefer to purchase from websites with translated versions. Why?

A simple theory can be proposed: people are looking for familiarity. In an increasingly uncertain world, familiarity is even more important, so I am confident that these statistics will only keep growing as we fight the pandemic and adjust to our new reality.

Another question arises here: when these are the statistics in Europe, how about the MENA region? The truth is we don’t have statistics addressing this specific question, but we do have other statistics that support the fact that if a business wants to grow in the MENA region, then it needs to consider translating its website into English.

Take for example the Saudi market, where 72% of the population is locals, who speak Arabic. Many of them might know English, but remember how in Europe the people prefer to purchase from websites in their mother tongues? Just imagine the average Saudi Googling up something they want – they would definitely search for it in Arabic.

And with most people transitioning to online shopping in the pandemic and post-pandemic era, it certainly makes it quite important for a business based in the Middle East to have an Arabic website. If you’re a business owner interested in this, get in touch with us and we can help you get started.

About The Author

Bouchra Rebiai

Bouchra Rebiai is the Co-Founder and Chief Wordsmith at Aurora Hikma: a digital agency providing Arabic translation and digital marketing services. An avid fan of science fiction, she translated Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie's triple-award-winning debut novel, from English into Arabic. She continues to read as much as possible, and hopes to translate another novel soon!

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