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

By David Doran

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Despite the many advances in communications made during the past20 years, mankind still lives in the shadow of the biblical Towerof Babel. The overwhelming number of different languages andcultures in the world can prevent understanding and hindercooperation, even as national economies become more and moreinterdependent.

This increasing interdependence of the world's economies isone factor behind the tremendous growth of translation services,says Walter Bacak Jr., executive director of the AmericanTranslators 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 usingAmerican knowledge, but they've discovered that to besuccessful, you need to market in the local customs andlanguages."

Worldwide expansion of the computer industry, and particularlythe Internet, has also contributed to the growing demand fortranslation services. As people around the world gain access to theNet, the need for multilingual documentation, manuals and Web siteswill increase dramatically. According to market research firmAllied Business Intelligence Inc. in Oyster Bay, New York, theworldwide market for translation services will reach $10.4 billionby year-end and is projected to grow to $17.2 billion by 2003.That's language any entrepreneur looking for a promisingopportunity can understand.

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