The status of the English language as one of the UK’s biggest exports was reinforced today by new findings that show rising demand for translation services from the fast growing BRIC economies, particularly India.

Job postings for translation services have been rising steadily this year. It is now the second most sought-after skill on certain job sites site. Of the 162 translation jobs posted on a certain job site in the month of September, 14 percent were from Indian businesses seeking native English translators. The overall demand for translation services is up 120 percent on the same month last year, and the proportion from India has doubled.

This rise has been fuelled by growing demand for expertise in written English from emerging economic powerhouses. India’s economy, for example, is currently booming and its businesses are flourishing internationally. This week it was announced that a third Indian-owned company in a month just floated on London’s AIM.

Indian businesses are using job sites to access a rich talent pool of native English speakers who can quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively translate key marketing materials such as websites. This gives them an immediate opportunity to use online marketing tools to promote products and services to Western markets.

The findings are indicative how work is increasingly flowing from West to East, despite the reverse being the predominant direction historically. When people think about outsourcing project work online, they typically imagine Western economies outsourcing technology services to inexpensive labour on the Subcontinent.

However, as these countries develop and their economies mature, we’re seeing growing demand for ‘soft skills’ like translation, which are typically best-served by the individuals in the established Western economies. It’s a subtle but significant shift in the business relationships between established and emerging economies.