Translation and Localization Industry Facts and Data
Language is Big Business
The language industry is big business, with the worldwide language services market growing at an annual rate of 5.52%. 1 The Centre for Next Generation Localisation reports that localization and translation is the 4th fastest-growing industry in the United States. And, Inc. Magazine lists the language industry as one of the top industries for starting a business.
The industry is diverse and technology-driven, with an increasing impact on both global and regional economies. Here are three key facts to consider:
- The size of the overall global language industry in 2016 is estimated at $40 Billion (USD), with estimates of up to $45 Billion by 2020 2
- The projected growth rate is 6.5-7.5% annually through 2018 3
- The size of the language technology industry is estimated at €29 Billion
Language Service Providers and Employment Data
Worldwide estimates for the number of language companies vary, but Common Sense Advisory, which provides highly regarded research data on the industry, maintains a database of 18,000 provider firms worldwide.
The EU Directorate-General Report on the Status of Translators indicates that in 2012, approximately 330,000 people were employed as translators or interpreters worldwide. Seventy-eight percent of translators in Europe worked as freelancers.
In the U.S. more than 3,000 firms employ over 55,000 professionals in various aspects of language services. More than 50,000 people work as translators and interpreters, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Top 20 Language Service Providers
|12||CyraCom International, Inc.||US||Private|
|13||RR Donnelley Language Solutions||US||Public|
|15||Honyaku Center Inc.||JP||Public|
|16||Pactera Technology International||CN||Public|
|20||Capita Translation and Interpreting||GB||Private|
While research indicates that the vast majority of language agencies are small firms engaged mainly in translation or interpreting, many of the larger language companies are considered “full-service” providers. Services can include translation – including machine translation – transcreation, localization and localization engineering, dubbing, voice-over, and narration for audio and video content, desktop publishing, consulting, and more. These services are supported by advanced language technology and software, and a thriving R&D sector helps fuel progress and innovation in the industry. By any measure, the language industry is healthy and growing.
1. Common Sense Advisory, "Top 100 Language Service Providers: 2016" (see links below)
2. Common Sense Advisory, "Top 100 Language Service Providers: 2016"
3. Common Sense Advisory, "Global Market Study: 2015"
The Global Language Technology Market (preliminary findings), Oct 1, 2012, LT-Innovate, The Forum for Europe’s Language Technology Industry
Global Language Services Market: 2014-2018 (Abstract), TechNavio - Infiniti Research Ltd. August 27, 2014
Global Market Study: 2015, Common Sense Advisory
Top 100 Language Service Providers: 2016, Common Sense Advisory