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26Jun

At the stands now: The Language Services Market: 2014

Common Sense Advisory’s annual report on the language services market is a critical step towards focusing the gaze of mainstream business on translation and localization. This year’s report is just out and we present some highlights of the report below and the improvements we made by listening to readers:

  • Growth continues, but slowly. In 2014, the size of the global language services and technology market stands at US$37.19 billion and is growing at a rate of 6.23%. While this is an improvement over last year, we discuss eight reasons in the report that explain why the market is shying away from double-digit growth, last witnessed in 2012. We also predict that the market will increase to US$47 billion by 2018.
     
  • Big crop of newcomers. As happens every year, some companies ranked on last year’s list chose not to appear this year. However, we received a large number of entries this year from first-timers to the ranking: 27. Eight of these newcomers made it to the ranking of the Top 100 LSPs. Most new entries were from North America: 9. We also increased the total number of companies in our rankings: This year we listed 200, while last year it was 186. The North America ranking increased from 30 in 2013 to 40 this year. 
     
  • New elements in the report. So that we can forecast market size and rank companies, we convert all companies’ revenue into U.S. dollars. However, this necessary step penalizes LSPs in countries whose currency depreciated against the dollar. Of course, the converse is also true, because currencies appreciate, too. In any case, this “lost in conversion” problem portrays some companies as slowing down or shrinking, when in reality they held steady or even grew in their own currency. While our main rankings continue to show companies’ revenue in U.S. dollars, we added local currency tables, which show how a company fared when measured in its own currency. Finally, in the survey we have finer granularity in the data on services and benchmarking, thanks to asking respondents to enter exact values rather than choose a range. 
     
  • New categorization of verticals and new services. We broke out mobile app and game localization from multimedia and software localization, and desktop publishing and project management from translation. We introduced the two localization services in response to the clamor for data on these emerging sources of revenue, while we broke out the latter two because LSPs frequently point out the substantial amounts they earn from these services, but were forced by our previous surveys to categorize them under translation. In upcoming research, we will present data on industry verticals which reflect a real-life segmentation. 

Finally, we thank all the survey respondents who supported our endeavor to better understand this fascinating industry, which is critical to individuals, businesses, and governments. If you, too, want to contribute to research or appear in next year's rankings, please register here. 


 

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