About the language sector

Economic value

Language and the language sector are crucial. Only with good language and communication can the economy and society function optimally.

‘Language has a major impact on the way we communicate, exchange thoughts and give assignments. That is why correct usage is essential.’ So says Hans Maertens, managing director of Voka, the Flemish Network of Enterprises (formerly the Flemish Chamber of Commerce), in this short film about the importance of language and the language sector for the economy.

For example, no less than 84 per cent of what companies in Flanders produce goes abroad. Naturally, this is only possible if the export economy knows its languages. 

With its wide range of language services, the language sector creates great economic value.

Want to know more? Detailed information about the language sector and the language economic activity in the Dutch-language region can be found in the report (in Dutch) ‘Over de economische betekenis van taal’ (On the economic significance of language), commissioned by the Taalunie.

A career with language?

The language sector is closely intertwined with the other economic sectors. This means that a language diploma can take you in many directions nowadays. There are now more than a hundred language professions, from account manager in a translation agency to web editor, from language policy adviser to spokesperson. Or perhaps you already had in mind conference interpreter, sworn translator, copywriter or French teacher?

Language skills are becoming increasingly important in a growing number of areas in society. Language graduates also put their knowledge and skills to work in schools, publishing houses, editorial offices and a range of other organizations in the care sector, in asylum and integration, and in the culture sector.

A flourishing sector

The language sector has been growing robustly for several decades already, without spectacular ups and downs. Among other things, globalization and migration flows are favourable trends for the sector. We know from our own research that the sector is financially healthy.

Moreover, the sector is looking to the future with confidence. We know this from the Taalunie report mentioned above. Turnover and profit are expected to continue to rise in the coming years or at least to remain stable.

Language technology secures the future

Language technology is a highly important segment of the language sector. And technology does not stand still. Just think of chatbots, voice assistants, algorithms that detect hate speech on social media, etc.

Interest in language technology solutions is increasing sharply. This is visible in, among other things, the number of language technology innovations that VLAIO, the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Enterprise, supports. Where language and technology meet is one of the most promising fields of the future. Language technology only raises the importance of the language sector. Future assured.

This text was written by Siel Moreels, a master’s student in Multilingual Communication (UGent), in the context of her internship at De Taalsector (2021). De Taalsector brings together language professionals, entrepreneurs and organizations in the language sector as well as language buyers and users in all sectors of the economy and society.

English translation by Patrick Lemon


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