Many U.S. firms never venture outside their domestic markets; they feel they do not have to because the U.S. market is huge. Even today only about 10-percent of domestic manufacturing firms export their products and only 250 of these account for 80-percent of all U.S. exports. Those that do venture abroad find the international marketplace far different from the domestic one. Market sizes, languages, behaviors, practices and traditions all vary, meaning that corporate language translator workers must carefully evaluate all market segments in which they expect to work.
In 1865 the world population was recorded at 1 billion. By 1989 it exceeded 5 billion, and forecasters predict that it will reach 10.5 billion by 2050. The United States has attained one of the highest standards of living in world history, but its population size is insignificant when compared with the rest of the world. The U.S. population is dwarfed by those countries such as India and China. While one-fifth of the world’s population lives in China, only one-twentieth resides in the United States.
A prime ingredient of market size is population growth. Every day the world’s population increases by about 200,000 people; hence it is expected to be close to 8 billion by 2025. A review of these projections produces some important contrasts. People are having fewer children per person, but the average age is increases. Further, within the next 25 years, the population of more developed countries is expected to rise from 1.2 billion to only 1.4 billion and that of less developed countries from 4 billion to 6.8 billion. Nearly 80-percent of the population is 2025 will live in less developed nations.
Most professional Seattle Translation Services workers would describe the world marketplace as an increasingly urban marketplace. By the year 2000, almost one of every two of the world’s inhabitants will live in large cities. These cities are also growing in size: 39 of them currently have a population in excess of 5 million. Mexico City, whose population ranks it as the world’s largest city, is expected to grow to 21.5 million by 2012. Increased urbanization will expand the need for transportation, housing, machinery and language translation services.
The increased size and growing urbanization of the international marketplace does not mean that all foreign markets will offer the same potential for translation services. Income difference, for instance, virtually affect any nation’s potential demand for translation services.
Another factor influencing market potential is the stage of a nation’s economic development. In subsistence economies, in which most people engage in agriculture, only a few opportunities may exist for international trade and professional translators. However, in newly industrialized economies such as Brazil and South Korea, an increase in manufacturing creates many opportunities for translation workers who are experienced with consumer, industrial and high technology goods. The Industrial nations—the United States, Japan, Germany, France and U.K., trade goods among themselves and export goods to developing economies. With their large middle class and upper income populations, these nations offer the most diverse and attractive opportunities for translators.