These are strange times. No doubt about that. Not unprecedented; we’ve certainly faced and lived through situations in the past that changed our daily lives and our perspective, whether temporarily or permanently. We evolved in order to progress – COVID19 is no different in that respect.
Global furloughing earlier this year resulted in a hiatus in the documentation process for many companies; technical manuals, user guides and patents were not as in demand (and understandably so). This reduction in documentation was fed down the localisation production chain meaning that our usual translation work had petered out somewhat by the second quarter of the year. We were in the fortunate position of still having translation and localisation projects coming in, but these were different, with an altogether more unfortunate subject matter: French and Spanish medical journals, legal documentation, press releases and personnel guidelines for health and social distancing, etc.
Within this shift in materials requiring translation, we have noted another shift; clients are now looking forwards, making arrangements for people to return safely to the workplace, starting once more to produce documentation that requires translation into various languages. This may initially be guidelines for safety in the workplace and business plans for starting out on the road to financial recovery, but it is a positive step forwards – we are tentatively finding our feet once more.
Over recent weeks, we have seen the start of a return to the “usual” technical documentation that we translate: technical manuals, automotive technical notes, patents, heavy industry and construction guidelines and the like. Business is obviously not yet back to being “as usual”, but the preparatory work and documentation for resuming business activities has started to be fed through. As a result, translation and localisation requirements will increase as clients need to find the words to convey their messages in multiple languages when stepping back out into the world of international business.
The road to recovery will be long, and we will all have a role to play every step of the way, needing to be adaptable to ensure our safety, but it’s looking hopeful.