At a recent Facebook live event by the leading Kannada Daily Newspaper Vijaya Karnataka, Ratheesha Rathnakara, Director and Co-Founder of Harivu Creations spoke about the opportunities in the field of Kannada Localization. He described the journey and highlighted areas where Kannada Localization can make progress. Here is the translation of his entire speech.

A mammoth content waiting to be translated | Opportunities are abundant for Language Experts
Language is a vehicle of thoughts and ideas. But to convey the ideas from one corner of the globe to other, difference in language poses a hurdle. That’s where translation comes for the rescue. We all agree that, translation is not required within a language group or a geography, where people speak various dialects of the same language. However, to effectively communicate with a large group of people speaking a different language, translating your content into their language is absolutely essential. Usually, many businesses and administrations are in need of such interaction between different language groups and geographies.

The translation arena has a rich history. Centuries ago, when the merchants from China, Persia and Arab regions came to India for trade, they required translators. Because, trade in the olden days was largely dependent on verbal medium. Similarly, the emperors who conquered various provinces, required translators for administrative purposes. As time went by, translation of literary works also became a necessity, as literature was the gateway for the world’s knowledge.

Opportunities aplenty:
With the advent of globalization, a question started haunting the global industries: How can the individuals or companies located in the United States make sure that their product or content reaches a person in a remote village of Karnataka? Translation addressed this vital challenge! From then on, translation services have seen a sharp growth and have carved a whole niche of opportunities and thus, translation jobs are on the rise. MNCs like Facebook and Amazon have successfully reached Indians including the Kannada speaking populace through translation. Educational and entertainment content providers from various fields including but not limited to National Geography and Discovery Group, are also treading the translation route.

Translation acts as a bridge between languages, cultures and boundaries. Hence, many agencies have started providing translation services.

For translating the text, all we require is proficiency in both the source and target languages. However, video translation requires technical knowledge too. Video translation requires a team of voice-over artists, sound engineer, editor and quality control analyst to accomplish a given task. This presents a lot of job opportunities. Hence, jobs that require you to translate content from Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam into Kannada are increasing. You may enrol into an online class to learn a new language and hone your skills to become a successful translator.

Karnataka: The land of possibilities
Over the past 2 – 3 years, Bengaluru has seen tremendous growth in the entertainment industry. Dubbing work is increasing phenomenally. Of late, about 20 – 25 new studios have been set up in Bengaluru. In a single studio, 100 – 120 people work every month.

Additionally, Karnataka is among top 5 states in India in terms of GDP. Hence, the service sector is expanding. Kannada market is huge and the demand for localization is growing. Translator jobs are no longer part-time. Just like the jobs in other industries, they too have evolved into full time jobs.

3 lakh crores market share in translation sector!
In 2020, a whopping 3 Lakh Crores market share is up for grabs in translation sector. Research estimates that 96% of the internet community can be reached using 60 languages, and Kannada is one among them. Karnataka is a major market for the global business community. Therefore, the key industry players are dependent on translation services to reach the user base and are therefore keen on providing services in Kannada. On the other end, over the past 10 years, Kannadigas too have poured in a lot of effort for preserving their identity and self-esteem and are more aware of their fundamental rights now than ever before. The customer-centric demand for getting services in Kannada is gaining strength. This is the reason why Amazon, Flipkart and Facebook have started providing services in Kannada and people are happily using them. There is a need for the development of infrastructure to support translation services. Lot of work is yet to be done to complement translation and localization. We need more of training institutes related to dubbing, voice-over and creative writing. Universities and colleges have to start learning courses in these subjects. The Government needs to allocate funds to support inventions in the area of translation. All these measures will help strengthen the translation sector.

Billions of translated words!
If the translation work is less, freelancers can take care of it. However, big translation projects involving lakhs of words require skilled agencies. There are opportunities to set up companies related to translation. Our “Harivu Creations Private Limited” is an excellent example for this. Today, there is an inflow of e-Commerce content of nearly 30-40 lakh words which needs to be translated. Lakhs of words are being translated in healthcare sector too.

Machine translation vs Human translation
Currently, translation tools for Indic languages are still in a bad shape. They still need a lot of tinkering and polish. Google, Amazon and Microsoft are putting herculean efforts in this direction. Additionally, there is a dearth of ‘Text to Speech’ and ‘Speech to Text’ tools in Kannada and the accuracy of the existing ones needs a lot of mending. We need people who are well versed in Kannada to help in these areas.

There is a certain set of logic for effective translation. First, we need to check if the content is related to science, literature, arts or entertainment like cinema. Then, we need to get a clear understanding of the context. Only then, great translation can happen. Machine translations cannot produce this kind of quality. Despite this, there is an unwarranted fear in the market that, because of machine translations, the demand for human translations will fade away. But machine translations will only enhance human translations. They cannot replace the human effort. That is why, healthcare and legal content is never subjected to machine translation as it is a matter of life and death.

Tips for a translator
Translators should possess excellent writing and grammatical skills. Reading a lot of books helps to improve one’s vocabulary.

What are the available opportunities?

  • There are a ton of translation related jobs and business opportunities.
  • Translators can earn handsome salaries. Translation opportunities include positions like writer, video translator, dubbing artist, sound engineer, director and much more.
  • People proficient in both Kannada and English have a lot of opportunities. Knowledge of various dialects is an icing on the cake.
  • There is demand for logo designs as well.
  • There is a lack of good fonts in Kannada and the demand for developing the same is higher than ever before.
  • Multimedia and video creators have ample opportunities.
  • Technological support related to Kannada translation has to improve. As more and more new technology emerges, there will be demand for people who can manage them.