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Speaking In Tongues

Larger markets in a smaller world mean big opportunities for translation services.

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This story appears in the October 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Despite the many advances in communications made during the past 20 years, mankind still lives in the shadow of the biblical Tower of Babel. The overwhelming number of different languages and cultures in the world can prevent understanding and hinder cooperation, even as national economies become more and more interdependent.

This increasing interdependence of the world's economies is one factor behind the tremendous growth of translation services, says Walter Bacak Jr., executive director of the American Translators Association (ATA). "The pressure on U.S. businesses to grow has driven them overseas to new markets," Bacak says. "At first, they were trying to market using American knowledge, but they've discovered that to be successful, you need to market in the local customs and languages."

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