The primary (interrelated) factors are:
3. Industry competition
Technology – computers, software, CAT, the Internet – all of that has substantially increased our productivity during the last few years, and this tendency is going to stay in the foreseeable future. Renato Beninatto, CEO specialist of a consulting firm called Milengo predicts that “…while translators’ income will remain the same or increase slightly, the price of a translated word would substantially decrease. Translators’ performance would increase up to 30,000-40,000 words per day thanks to the CAT programs which will soon be provided for free”.
Beninatto also foresees that the traditional translator- >corrector model is going to be replaced by machine translation, in which translation is going to be edited by a monolingual specialist at the final stage. When technologies required for advanced machine translation become accessible only for large multinational companies, individual translators and private translation agencies would substantially miss out and would be left with such translation fields as literature and advertising, where machine translation is not acceptable.
Presently, and in the near future, nobody expects Shakespearian works to be translated into Qhichwa (the language) solely with the help of machine translation; however, many technical documents (which generally include non-literary texts) can be “recognized” quite well and translated with machine translation. That’s why, the quality would be negatively affected by price in the near future. However, there are still many translation fields where style, accuracy and cultural adaptation prevail over straight, meaningless translation.
We believe that translation industry would in any case be undergoing substantial changes but, at the end, the role of a translator wouldn’t decrease. We’ve still got a while until Artificial Intelligence is invented, and that’s the only discovery that can exclude translators out of the translation industry. But by that time, people might very well be excluded from all the other fields of human activity. After all, it would be the last discovery or invention humanity would ever have.