The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on the economy as a whole as well as individual businesses and industries. International businesses have had an especially difficult time as the coronavirus has hit different countries around the world at different rates and times, making it difficult to predict how it will progress and impact businesses.

Language service providers is a general term for businesses that offer translation services, interpretation, language training, and other cross-cultural services. The industry has grown significantly in the last 10 years, but like most other industries, it has taken a hit by the pandemic. How much of an impact it has made on translation service providers over the long term remains to be seen, but the immediate impact has resulted in some changes for the business. 

Can Language Services Be Provided Virtually?

One of the biggest factors affecting whether or not businesses have been able to survive and thrive despite the pandemic is whether or not the services they provide can be made available through virtual means. Businesses that are able to provide their services online have been able to continue throughout the pandemic with varying degrees of impact, but generally less than some others. 

Most language and translation services can be done online or over video conferencing. Interpretation of languages including sign language can still take place from a distance, as those services were already being provided virtually in many instances for clients before the pandemic. Text translation is even more easily accomplished without any in-person interaction. 

Can Employees Telecommute in the Language Services Industry?

Another significant factor affecting businesses as a result of COVID-19 is whether or not employees are able to telecommute and still work as productively as they would if they were reporting in person to an office. This is closely related to the previous question regarding virtual services, as a business that can provide services virtually can most likely allow employees to work virtually as well. 

Translators, interpreters, and trainers are mostly able to provide the same services remotely as they can in person. The front line employees as well as support staff can still work productively from home in most aspects of the language services industry. 

Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Created an Increased Need for Language Services?

Some industries have suffered less during the pandemic because the pandemic itself has created a need for that type of service.

This has been true to some extent for language service providers, as interactions between countries has increased with the pandemic due to aid being given from one nation to another. There has also been a need for pandemic-related training between countries that has required translation during COVID-19

What Aspects of the Pandemic Have Decreased Business for Language Service Providers? 

A variety of pandemic-related changes are causing the language industry to experience business declines, such as:

  • Lack of on-site language service opportunities. As social distancing is required, the need for in-person translators and interpreters has dwindled to an emergency only basis. This means a decrease in revenue from these instances that were a major part of the business before the pandemic. 
  • Oversupply of workers. Freelance translators and part-time employees are now in abundance and not necessarily needed as much as before the pandemic. This impacts individuals and the industry as a whole. 
  • Decline in the need for English language services. The language most affected by the pandemic has been English language services, which comprises one of the largest areas of service for most providers. This has been due to the restrictive measures put in place by English-speaking countries such as the United States and Australia. 

How Kontekst is Surviving the Pandemic

Kontekst is still a leading translation and interpretation services provider during this global pandemic. We are certified in language services for a variety of subjects including medicine and pharmacy, banking and finance, law, and more. Our services include at least 250 language combinations

Contact us today. We look forward to helping you bridge the language barrier in as many ways as possible in order to promote worldwide understanding.