Brexit and translation industry: What's next?

Jul 1, 2016

Somehow over the past decades, we have become used to increasing interaction of nations and cultures and some things seemed almost certain. Such as the common European market and its focus on tearing down existing barriers. By June 24th, the (business) world got shocked by the decision of a narrow British majority to leave the European Union. What does it mean for the translation industry?

Today, it's hard to predict anything. But as global translation business – estimated to be worth USD 38 billion in 2015 by CSA Research – thrives from multinational interaction and global as well as European business growth, a USD 1.4 billion translation market aiming to raise the barriers and cut off the common EU market is hardly something to be happy about.

idioma as an overseas member of the UK Association of Translation Companies, can only agree with the concerns of ATC that Brexit will damage not only the United Kingdom, but also the European translation industry, the question is of the extent and duration.

"A survey of the UK’s language service providers, which are responsible for more than 12,000 jobs, showed that (...) more than two thirds said their businesses with EU-based enterprises will be compromised by a UK departure, while 50% revealed nearly one third of their current revenue is generated from customers based in other EU countries."

Geoffrey Bowden, General Secretary of the ATC (more here).

Sterling on it's knees resulting in increased sales on UK Amazon probably won't compensate for decreased investments and international trade, and eventually there could very well be a necessity to optimize the input factors (= more streamlining, reducing pays and vacancies) in the long-term development of the translation industry and/or raise fees in lieu of lower volumes.

It seems that the question of the day is how to come out of this pickle only bruised, not cut. And it looks like we will have to wait for the answers quite a long time – for several years if we should trust statements from the EU's own bureaucrats.