Why crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ripple are ideal for the global translation market
- Tom Armstrong
- January 23, 2018
- 925 views
Unlike most industries, the translation sector relies heavily on the work of thousands of freelance translators around the world. All of these independent translators must get paid for the work they perform when helping businesses convert their marketing brochures, product manuals and websites into other languages. Traditionally, translation companies have been paying freelance linguists with bank fund transfers, checks, or using online payment systems such as Paypal or Moneygram. Each year, millions of micro transactions are processed in various currencies to pay the world’s translators. Although these transactions are beneficial for business at financial institutions like banks as they collect millions in transaction fees, they prove to be increasingly costly and too slow for individual translators and translation agencies alike. Cross-border payments often create a bottleneck effect and slow the healthy development of the translation industry. Fast and affordable translator payments are essential for translation services in today’s digital economy.
This is where crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum come to the rescue. These virtual currencies are universal and make it easy to transfer funds electronically. This makes them ideal for micro transactions – an essential factor in global translator payment systems. Since no single government controls the crypto currencies, they are easily circulated anywhere without political interference.
Our rapidly globalizing economy means more and more companies are doing business globally and the trend is only accelerating. The advancement of the digital economy and increased international transportation of goods make doing business overseas much easier. When companies go global, one of the first things they require is quality translation services to localize marketing content such as websites, product packaging, and customer support knowledge bases into the various languages. Most companies simply hire translation companies called localization service providers to help translate the large volume of content needed to engage customers globally. According to industry estimates, global translation spend has reached $50 billion and is growing rapidly.
According to the Common Sense Advisory, an independent translation industry analyst, there are well over 30,000 translation service providers in the world. Most of these companies work with individual freelance translators located all over the world. Powered by the Internet and emails, companies can easily reach language talents anywhere. Although the world has over 6,500 languages, the translation industry as a whole only translates into approximately 100 languages but this number is set to grow as globalization continues. With the recent economic development in Africa, translation demands into African languages will surge in the coming years.
If we multiply the 30,000 translation companies with the 100 languages and assume each language gets 5 translation projects a month, we are looking at 180 million micro payments a year to pay these individual freelance translators around the world. The number of transactions will only go up as the translation market continues to grow. Currently, banks, Paypal, and MoneyGram are taking the lion’s share of business to help process translator payments. However, one challenge that remains is that, due to differing regulations, banks, Paypal, and Moneygram are not available in many countries. Another issue is that most of these outfits only support US dollars and a few other major currencies, making it very inconvenient and costly for individual freelance translators as they must pay to exchange the money into their local currencies.
The Benefits of Bitcoin
The emergence of cyber currencies could be the perfect solution to this challenge that translators face every day . One of the major advantages of using Bitcoin over traditional banking methods is that it enables the sending of international payments almost instantly and without the hassle of currency conversion. Currency conversions are costly for translators because they end up paying banks transaction fees on top of the exchange rate differences between buying and selling the two currencies.
Secondly, translator payment transactions are highly secure because crypto currency networks use the same underlying encryption technologies like blockchain that are widely used by the largest ecommerce sites, like Amazon and JD.com, in the world. Another important benefit of using Bitcoin for translation payments is that linguists don’t incur a separate bank charge on top of the currency conversion fees. Conventional bank transfers often result in translators paying anywhere between a few dollars to $30 transaction fees. This can make a big difference for hard working linguists and these totaled transaction fees can add up to become quite costly.
Lastly, crypto currencies are decentralized and they have the potential to revolutionize global commerce by enabling payment transactions across international borders with ease. This is particularly prevalent in the translation industry as crypto currencies are not owned by any government, meaning that translator payments are not subject to political interference. In today’s business environment, there are many regulations that can affect a translator’s payments just because they happen to live in certain sanctioned countries. These regulations shut out many professional linguists from the global translation ecosystem even if they possess excellent linguistic qualifications. In this sense, crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are true global currencies and are ideal for the globalization industry because linguists from around the world can freely receive translation payments faster and with lower costs.
Bitcoin and other crypto currencies are an emerging technology with the potential to change the translation world. Not only are transactions kept free and secure, but they even allow translation companies and translators to streamline their payment processes without having to rely an external payment network, leading to faster and cheaper translator payments.
It Remains Wishful Thinking
Bitcoin and other crypto currencies are especially suited for online translation services like Stepes that employ a large network of freelance translators around the world. Specifically, these cyber currencies will allow the online translation management process to be further streamlined for speed and cost, offering the best user experience for both translators and businesses alike.
However, despite many of the obvious benefits of crypto currencies, translator payments using Bitcoin will likely remain a dream for years to come. This is because given today’s geological environment, monetary sovereignty is the kind of power no state will ever want to give up. Baring major reforms, the concept of crypto currency can never become a mainstream reality as it’s against the very foundation of governments. The main reason that governments even still exist today is because they control the money. Crypto currencies are essentially trying to wrestle the power of money from governments and this is why they will never succeed. In some instances, governments are even introducing new regulations to outlaw crypto currencies altogether making the dream of using them to pay for translations a distant dream.