Our colleague Karin Calderon gives us an insight into the last 25 years within the language service industry

Our colleague Karin Calderon gives us an insight into the last 25 years within the language service industry

Semantix’s Karin Calderon has spent many years working in the industry, and has witnessed the changes that have taken place. Today, Karin works in our procurement department. We asked her to tell us about her career and the changes she has seen over the years.

Published 1/19/2016

Started at the Swedish Immigration Board’s language department

Just over 25 years ago, I started working at the language department at what was then the Swedish Immigration Board. The department subsequently became Eqvator, and Eqvator is now part of Semantix. A great deal has changed – and is still changing – during my years in the industry. Naturally, some changes are for the better and some are for the worse. But on the whole I think these changes are for the better, as I’m sure most of my colleagues in the industry would agree.

New technology has brought changes

Of course, there have been enormous technological developments since I first started working in the industry. Back then, customer orders would arrive by post or sometimes by fax. We wrote out all our order sheets by hand, producing three copies with carbon paper between them, before sending out the assignments to translators by snail mail or perhaps by fax. The translations were then returned in the same manner, received, stamped by hand and sent back to the customer using the method of delivery by which they had been received. When the delivery was ready, we wrote out a customer invoice on an electric typewriter and posted it to the invoicing address.

As I’m sure you can imagine, technology has resulted in shorter delivery times and improved security. It’s hard to imagine now that some translators were resistant to the idea of swapping their typewriter for a computer, but that’s the way it was. Today, hardly anyone would want to go back. Modern technology makes it easy to make changes and edit texts, and to transfer encrypted files quickly – it’s convenient, straightforward, fast and secure.

Changes within the industry

When it comes to the languages we work with, I’m actually a little surprised that the changes haven’t been greater. A top ten list of languages today is similar to what it would have been 25 years ago. Of course, some languages have swapped places, but on the whole it’s the same languages that top the list.

I would say that the biggest changes within the industry include increased competition, more procurements, that today’s slightly larger language companies offer a wider range of services than before and that the agencies work much more internationally, in terms of both attracting customers and recruiting translators.

No regrets

I’ve never had any regrets about starting work at the Swedish Immigration Board’s language department. I’ve been able to follow developments within the industry and our company, I’ve enjoyed my contact with lots of wonderful customers, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many fantastic colleagues, translators, interpreters and other language specialists. Working for a company and in an industry undergoing constant change is extremely stimulating, and is something I would highly recommend.

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