CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

This article looks into the non-communicational aspects of the work of translating professionals. Translators work in a variety of jobs that require a range of language skills. Recent data, particularly from Europe and North America, demonstrate the economic importance of the “language services industry.” Reliable statistics on the size of the labor market are available principally from developed countries, but there is a lack of such data on even the largest developing countries. We know very little about the working conditions of translators; however, a recent European survey indicates that, in general, literary translators are poorly paid and frequently required to take on heavy workloads, with negative consequences for quality. More studies are clearly necessary. As a forum for national translators’ associations, the International Federation of Translators (FIT) promotes professionalism in the translating field and proper working conditions for translators. However, the FIT’s governing bodies are dominated by Europe and North America, despite the rise of the new economic powers and the increase in demands for translation. This paper also discusses some of the consequences of these imbalances.


  • FIT, International Federation of Translators
  • translation market
  • linguistic services industry
  • working conditions of translators
Tom Dwyer
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