Benchmark GALA Survey: Recovery in Language Services Slow, but Optimism Spikes
2009 Ends with Hope for Future Growth
Seattle, WA (14 December 2009) – Language service providers around the globe have been heavily impacted by the economic downturn, but optimism for growth next year has increased substantially, according to the Globalization and Localization Association’s most recent quarterly survey. The survey, which asks GALA members about trends in the industry, was conducted in November and was the seventh in a row to question language service providers on the economic downturn.
The most encouraging news from the survey was the enormous increase in optimism. Two quarters ago, 44 percent of respondents were optimistic about the next six to 12 months, and 41 percent were uncertain. Last quarter there was a shift toward optimism with 66 percent feeling optimistic. But this quarter that number is even more solid with 71 percent of respondents feeling positive about the future of the business.
Yet the impact of the downturn is still reverberating through the industry. As in quarters past, the survey asked members, most of whom are language service providers, “Is your business directly impacted by the current global financial crisis?” This quarter the response was again affirmative with 72 percent of respondents reporting a direct impact. This number continues to decrease ever so slightly—75 percent reported a direct impact in the third quarter compared to 78 percent in the second quarter.
There was, however, a positive indicator in the demand for language services or tools. Despite almost half of respondents reporting reduced demand in the past three months, that number is significantly lower than the past two quarters (a 30 point drop from the peak in the second quarter and a 16 point drop from the third quarter). Meanwhile there was a significant jump in demand. A full 39 percent of respondents reported somewhat or greatly increased demand, more than double the number in the third quarter (18 percent) and more than four times greater than the second quarter (nine percent). Regionally, demand was up the most in South America (43 percent reported an increase) and the Middle East/Africa (75 percent increase), while North American respondents still report relatively low demand (78 percent reported somewhat reduced or greatly reduced demand).
All regions anticipate an increase in demand in the next three months. Worldwide, more than 65 percent expect somewhat or greatly increased demand.
Employment figures also show signs of improving. While 47 percent of respondents to last quarter’s survey said they planned to hire in the next three months, 55 percent of respondents this quarter said they actually did hire new workers. That is a steady increase from previous quarters this year. And employment growth in the next three months looks more positive with 58 percent of respondents planning to hire in the coming quarter.
GALA is an impartial international association that promotes translation services, language technology and language management solutions. The member companies worldwide include translation companies, localization service providers, globalization consultants, internationalization specialists and technology developers. GALA companies share a commitment to quality, service, and innovation in helping clients reach global markets. For more information about GALA visit www.gala-global.org.