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19Apr

Will the Language Industry Outpace the Growth of the Global Economy?

The language services and technology market is US$40 billion and is growing at 5.52% per year. Business media such as Fast Company and Inc. cite these figures, as do language industry publications, trade associations, supplier websites and press releases, business books, and academic articles. These numbers are also referenced in bank loan applications, pitches to venture capitalists and private equity groups, and government reports around the world. 

They highlight a growing sector that provides valuable services to global markets. And because this growth rate regularly exceeds that of the global economy, there's widespread interest in whether the language sector will continue outperforming other industries. 

Where does that data originate? While the CSA Research report is the source, the numbers ultimately come from the providers in the industry. Every year, CSA Research cranks up its survey engine, announces the next annual Global Market Survey, and asks everyone on the supply side of the language industry to tell us about their business. We are currently in the middle of our data collection process, so if you haven’t already, take the survey now. 

Besides harvesting data that we use to size the market, we also analyze and correlate it for other purposes. For example, one eagerly awaited correlation is the ranking of industry suppliers, an annual ritual that we began in 2005. This list serves a variety of purposes, including bragging rights for the biggest vendors, a short list for finding suppliers or potential acquisitions or partners, and as a market analysis resource for publications and governments. In 2016, our list included 191 suppliers globally and across nine regions. Suppliers ranged from less than a million to more than a half-billion dollars in revenue. And while providers use this information to benchmark their results, buyers rely on this report for information and insight about the supply side of the industry as they execute their globalization strategies.

The bottom line on our annual survey is that its results benefit everyone in the industry by highlighting the size and importance of language as a business function. Without details about its size and value, mainstream media would focus their reportage on stupid translation mistakes, unbelievable MT results, or litigation; buyers wouldn't understand the intricacies of this complex outsourced business process; private equity groups would invest elsewhere; and language service and technology providers around the world would have a tough time describing what they do for a living. The survey highlights a vibrant, diverse sector with lots of participants doing a variety of interesting things. Take the survey and tell us about your company.

About the Author

Donald A. DePalma

Donald A. DePalma

Chief Research Officer

Focuses on market trends, business models, and business strategy

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