TOP Translator Opinion Poll
Translator Opinion Poll


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What is the TOP project?

Translator Opinion Poll (TOP) is a European-wide survey focused on the key figure of the translator at a historic and revolutionary time for the localization industry, estimated to have a global worth of around 40 billion US dollars, of which the European market accounts for 53.9%.

TOP strives to actively involve all the main universities, national and supranational translator associations and the greatest possible number of professionals from all over the world to create an annual event that enables analysis and monitoring of the current state, evolution and development opportunities of professional translators. The project is partly a response to the current misalignment between the insufficient supply of translators on the market and growing, unmet international demand from the localization sector, a situation that has led multinational giant Google to take its own steps to directly create special training programs.

Above all, the project aims to understand if and how professionals in this sector use new digital technology in both work and social contexts, how this technology has contributed to changing translators’ work, how these important changes are currently perceived and how their relationship with their colleagues and the professional world has changed.

The project’s ultimate goal is to outline the profile of today’s professional translator and the further evolution of an industry that is now mature and attractive for capital markets. Above all, it aims to inject some confidence into a category of workers that is too often overlooked, though it should be noted that interpreter/translator was ranked the fastest-growing career for graduates in 2017 in the “Career Opportunities for College Graduates” study carried out by the University of San Marino Research Center Diego.

The project is the result of an enthusiastic partnership between two respected models of excellence in the translation world: the “Altiero Spinelli” Interpreting and Translation School in Milan and Way2Global srl SB, a specialized spin-off of the Trans-Edit Group, an Italian LSP (Language Service Provider) that ranks among the top 100 worldwide and boasts over 30 years of experience in the industry.

How is the poll structured?

The questionnaire is divided into three macro-areas, each of which is focused on a specific aspect of the work of a translator.

The first part explores the relationship between translators and different types of clients (SMEs, large companies, global multinationals, LSPs, publishing houses, …), focusing on professionals’ expectations and assessing the extent to which these expectations are satisfied by the market.

The second part of the questionnaire examines the relationship between professionals and new translation technologies, such as CAT tools, TMs (Translation Memories), automatic translation (statistics, neural networks), AI, machine learning, work-flow automation platforms, TTS (Text-To-Speech) and STT (Speech-To-Text). The aim is to investigate how and to what extent specialists in the sector know and use the most advanced technologies available today and how they relate to them in the course of their work, with particular attention to translators’ perception and true opinion regarding the use of new tools.

In the third and last part, the focus is more sociological, centring around the figure of the translator in the social media era: it examines their activity in virtual communities with colleagues, use of social networks and themed discussion groups, relationship with dedicated portals and recruiting/outsourcing platforms, and participation in crowd-sourcing/translation initiatives.

The result is a thorough, complete and comprehensive investigation of the role of the translator in today’s professional world, which also considers the future post-digital development of the language sector, in the belief that, when it comes to the exponential progress of technology, we must reaffirm the enduring precedence of mankind (“man at the centre”), heralding a new humanism.

Why take part?

TOP is the first European project that aims to observe and collect data on the characteristics of the modern translator in order to understand not only the present situation, but also its evolution in the short and medium term.

Being an integral part of the program through the promotion and dissemination of the survey benefits the entire translation world.

The opportunity to contribute to the collection of accurate, measurable and Europe-wide large-scale data facilitates better understanding of the current state of the industry and allows universities and associations in the translation field to improve their services and curriculum. All the institutional stakeholders that decide to join and support the project will be included in the list of institutions and will therefore be able to enjoy exposure at the locations where the questionnaire is presented and distributed. They will also exclusively receive the complete report with the results of the analysis after completion of the project. This report could offer a considerable competitive advantage to universities and associations, which will be able to gear their work around specific, precise information from the main operators in the translation industry.  

For translators, participating in the project by completing the questionnaire is a great opportunity to stay up-to-date with new developments in the language sector and to make their voices heard in a world in which they play a central role. In addition, translators who contribute will receive a general abstract about the results of the survey and a detailed report on the figure of the contemporary translator that emerges from the collected data, which they can then discuss with their colleagues across Europe.

TOP is a cutting-edge project that aims to become one of the most interesting annual events to study, monitor and understand the language services sector, offering an overview of the Europe that it translates. This dream can only become a reality with the participation of those who experience this world on a daily basis.

Profile last updated
Mar 22, 2018

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