July 2017

Image: © 2017 by Common Sense Advisory, Inc.

Global market for outsourced translation and interpreting services and technology to surpass US$43.08 billion in 2017

The global market for outsourced language services and technology will reach US$43.08 billion in 2017, according to an independent study by market research firm Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research). CSA Research surveyed providers from every continent to collect actual reported revenue for 2015, 2016, and expected revenue for 2017.

The firm found that the demand for language services and supporting technologies continues and is growing at an annual rate of 6.97 percent, representing an increase over last year's rate of 5.52 percent. In its 13th annual global industry report, The Language Services Market: 2017, the firm details the findings of its comprehensive study.

"The sheer number of countries, people, and languages – many of them in markets experiencing tremendous economic growth – assures that demand for language services will only increase over time. As our research conclusively demonstrates, people are much more likely to purchase products in their own language. In addition, localization reduces customer care costs and increases brand loyalty," explains Don DePalma, CSA Research’s founder and Chief Strategy Officer.

As organizations both large and small make their products and services available in more languages, the firm predicts that the language services industry will continue to grow and that the market will increase to US$47.46 billion by 2021. Factors driving this demand include mobile, wearables, and the Internet of Things (IOT); on-demand offerings to support live chat, texts, tweets, and other short-shelf content bits; and legislation requiring access to language services.

Included in The Language Services Market: 2017 are the largest language providers globally, as well as by region. The five highest-ranked companies on the list of the largest 100 commercially-focused language services companies, listed according to 2016 revenues, are: Lionbridge Technologies (U.S.), TransPerfect (U.S.), LanguageLine Solutions (U.S.), HPE ACG (France), and SDL (UK). Two of these are publicly traded companies—Lionbridge (LIOX on NASDAQ) and SDL (SDL.L on the London Stock Exchange). HPE ACG is now a business unit of DXC Technology (DXC on the New York Stock Exchange) and LanguageLine is part of Teleperformance (RCF on Euronext).

Primary data and insight in CSA Research’s 2017 independent study of the language services industry:

  • Current market size estimates for the language services industry along with a detailed description of the research methodology
  • Projected growth rates for the industry through 2021, including region-specific breakdowns
  • Rankings and revenues of the largest language services providers in the world
  • Critical benchmarks for LSP financial performance, including average revenue per employee and average revenue per salesperson
  • Regional rankings of the largest translation and interpreting companies in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Oceania, North America, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, and Western Europe
  • Trends in automation and spoken-language technologies
  • Distribution of non-language-related revenue by service
  • Breakdown of the market with estimates by service for on-site interpreting, translation technology, machine translation post-editing, video remote interpreting, mobile and game localization, and other services
  • Breakdown of the market for technology sold by LSPs and technology providers with estimates for translation management, translation memory, terminology, machine translation, interpreting management, and other software

"Embracing technology and diversification are key to continued growth for LSPs. Those that can successfully adopt machine translation and other technologies will find themselves able to grow quickly, but those that cannot may find that their earnings stagnate," comments DePalma. "Further, we see LSP handling more sophisticated content-centric tasks, morphing into global content service providers (GCSPs). As content is recognized as a top asset for corporations, GCSPs will develop specialized consulting skills and contribute to the industry’s continued growth."