The estimated value of the language industry across the European Union was approximately €16 billion in 2015, with a projected year-on-year growth of around 10%.

In the UK alone, the language services industry was recently estimated to be over £1 billion, making the UK one of the largest markets for language services. This figure only includes Language Services Businesses and does not even take into account the revenue generated by self-employed freelancers. The industry is also one of the fastest-growing – in the UK, EU and globally – with double-digit annual growth in recent years.

Translation (working with the written word) and interpreting (working with the spoken word) both cover a surprising breadth of scope, with requirements from individuals as well as from businesses and other organisations.

Requirements for translation may include translating personal documents, such as birth and marriage certificates, to the less obvious, such as translating historical and genealogical documents as people's efforts to trace their family trees often lead them to various parts of the world.

Other significant sectors for translators include the medical, manufacturing, automotive and financial markets, where translations of confidential commercial documents, contracts, websites and software are often needed.

One particular area of growth in the translation industry is the e-commerce sector, as more and more companies trade online across different markets. Hand in hand with this is the growth of the legal and patent sector, as those companies seek to protect their business interests and intellectual property in the wider international marketplace.

For the interpreting industry, the Public Sector is one of the largest sectors, with requirements ranging from Police and Court interpreting to community interpreting for counselling and victim support services.

By contrast, business and conference interpreting range from linguistic support at customer meetings to booth interpreting, at business conferences and within political organisations and institutions.

Sometimes, however, the work of the interpreter is very much in the front line, working with or for the military in conflict zones to liaise between the armed forces and local people – a vital role in many areas around the world, and one which is not without its dangers.

Much work is also done by the translation and interpreting industry in the humanitarian and charity sectors, with many language professionals giving up their time by working on a pro bono basis for organisations such as Translators Without Borders and The Rosetta Foundation.

Against this backdrop, we aim to represent both the interests of our members and of the industry itself – one which is very often described as 'hidden', as many professional translators and interpreters work behind the scenes, with only the finished result of their work being visible.

The following organisations may be useful for more information:

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