E.g., 09/24/2020
E.g., 09/24/2020

Language Industry Stakeholders

The services that language industry professionals provide extend far beyond word-for-word translation. Colors, images, and symbols must be culturally appropriate. Software and websites must function and display correctly. Equipment and tools must be operated safely by consumers on the other side of the world. The specialists that enable the multilingual and cross-cultural communication needed to persuade, educate, inform, and inspire audiences everywhere comprise the language industry.

The translation and language industry is complex and is represented by both generalist and specialist providers in the following categories:

Language Service Providers (LSPs) 

LSPs adapt products and services for consumption in multilingual markets. LSPs provide expertise on the language, culture, customs, and other characteristics of the target locale(s) and include both translation and interpreting companies. Translation companies focus primarily on delivering written text, such as product labels, websites, documentation, and marketing communications.

Interpreting companies transmit spoken information for meetings and conferences, telephone conversations, medical and legal situations, and more.

Service providers are often classified by the number of languages they handle. Multi-language vendors (MLV) work with many languages and markets; Single-language vendors (SLV) primarily deliver language services in a single language pair; Regional-language vendors cover regional areas of languages and markets, for example Eastern Europe or the Middle East.

Language Technology and Software Developers 

Technology and software developers have become integral to the language business. This subset of the language industry exists to create tools for machine translation (MT), translation memories (TM), terminology management, content mining, workflow management, analytics, speech recognition, and more. Technology is fundamental to support time-to-market goals for organizations that go global.

In-house Localization/Translation Teams 

In-house localization teams exist most often in multinational companies where dedicated staff implement corporate language requirements. They often work with outsourced LSPs. Some larger companies may have in-house linguists.


Linguists such as translators and interpreters are the core of the language industry. Typically independent contractors and freelancers, they work with sophisticated tools and in networks around the world. A smaller number work as full-time staff in LSPs or on in-house teams.

Research Analysts, Publications, and Training Institutes 

There are many areas to find foundational knowledge the language industry. This category includes researchers, specialized publications, training companies, and academic and university programs around the world.

Globalization and Localization Consultants 

Consultants provide an essential support function to the rest of the language industry. These specialists work with LSPs and buyers of services and technology to help them optimize processes and budgets.

Learn more about language industry facts and data.