As the world continually becomes interconnected, the global translation and language services market has grown over the years. According to a report published by Statista, the global language market has doubled in size, reaching 49.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. As more businesses go into foreign markets, the demand for translation services will continue to grow. However, some services and industries have contributed immensely to the growth of the translation and language market in recent years.
Particularly, travel and tourism, education, medicine and healthcare, legal, and banking/financial services are the top contributors driving the growth of the translation industry. According to the Nimdzi 100 annual report, the language services industry is projected to reach USD 70 billion by 2023. For a typical translation company, this means that there is more revenue waiting to be claimed now and in the nearest future. In this piece, we’ll look at the global revenue growth for the translation and language market, with a particular focus on certain geographies.
However, before we delve deeper into the discourse, let’s take a brief look at what translation services entail in general.
What are Translation Services?
Translation and language services have been around for a long time, helping businesses grow and facilitating global interconnection. Translation companies or providers of translation and language services offer a wide range of services. Translation and language services generally include translation, transcription, translation and interpretation, language courses, language assessment, language technologies, etc. Translation and language services involve the rendering of one or more languages into other languages without changing the meaning or message conveyed in the original language.
Translation services comprise both spoken and signed communication. The growth of the translation service industry is attributed mainly to the increasing demand for localization and web translation.The rapidly growing Asian and Arab markets have increased the demand for Arabic translation companies looking to connect more with foreign audiences are rapidly embracing translation services, as a propeller for reaching more customers and raking in more revenues. While interpretation focuses on rendering a spoken, written, or signed message into another spoken, written, or signed language and meaning of the source language, translation conveys one form of language into another.
Categorization of the language service industry
According to Verified Market Research’s report on the Translation Service Market Size, the language and translation service industry is segmented into three categories based on application, type, and geography.
On the basis of application, global translation services include the following markets: Legal, Medical, Tourism & Travel, and Financial & Banking. The VMR report also presented a revenue forecast of the industry into 2025. According to the report, the Legal segment is expected to be the largest during the forecast period. This is because of the rising demand for legal translators and interpreters of non-English speaking clients, especially in the United States.
The translation services market can also be categorized by type, in which case, we consider transcription services, written translation services, interpretation services, and several others. The market for these services is expected to see more growth as the years pass. Web content translation alone is one aspect of global translation and language services that has seen more growth in recent years.
It is believed that it will continue to grow as more businesses foray into a foreign market, seeking to localize their web content. In fact, the market for the written services segment is anticipated to be the largest over the estimated period. In most cases, legal, medical, travel, and tourism companies hire professional translators to help in translating written documents into different languages.
Lastly, the language service industry is categorized in terms of the locations where these services are needed in varying demands. For instance, Europe, North America (comprising the USA, Mexico, and Canada), and the Asia Pacific, have the highest demand for translation services. Translation companies in these regions have thrived tremendously because of the ever-increasing number of enterprise clients in those regions. America happens to be the second-highest consumer of translation services, after Europe. Understandably, given Spanish is the second-most spoken language globally coupled with the large size of the North American market, it actually contributes to the high demand for Spanish content within the United States, Mexico, and other surrounding countries.
In Europe, the growth of translation services is largely due to awareness among large and medium-sized enterprises, plus strict government regulations, which helped to create a strong demand for translation services. In fact, Europe accounts for around half of the global language services market. Again, in Europe, the countries are located close to each other; this, in addition to tourism, further raises the demand curve for professional translation services in this region.
Translation and Language Market Growth
Regardless of how bad recession and global economic downturn become, the translation and language market will hardly be affected. Areas, where translation companies are likely to find more market presence in the coming years, include Europe, America (with a particular focus on the U.S and Mexico), Asia, and Africa. There is a proven correlation between multilingual Internet presence and online publications and revenue. According to Verified Market Research, the Translation Services Market was valued at USD 39.61 Billion in 2019 and is estimated to hit $46.21 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 2.1% from 2020 to 2027. Several other investigations equally confirm the rising growth trend in this industry. The global English language learning market generated 8.86 billion USD within the same time.
The translation and language service industry has experienced growth, notwithstanding worldwide economic instability, even since 2008. One of the reasons why the industry has experienced massive growth in Europe and America is because of migration into these regions. Essentially, this calls for an increase in translation and interpreting services. Looking at the future of the translation industry, it is easy to see how the need to take products and services to foreign countries coupled with globalization and immigration will keep the industry in demand.
The United States as a Case Study
Based on the statistics and facts published by Statista Research Department in Jan, 2021, The global language services industry was worth approximately 46.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. It is expected to reach 56 billion in 2021. While Europe had up to half of the language services industry by market share, North America ranked second largest language and translation market at 39.41%, with market size of about 21.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
Statista reported recently that Transperfect, a leading U.S. language services provider (LSP), is one of the translation companies that have benefited massively from the growing need for translation in the world. The company is based in New York, and with its vast array of language and translation services, has contributed immensely to many localized online markets on a global scale. In returns, Transperfect raked in up to $765 million in 2019, which was an increase of 60 million when compared to its revenue in 2018.
The second-largest global language service provider, in terms of revenue, was Lionbridge Technologies. Lionbridge Technologies is located in Massachusetts. The company reported a revenue of 705 million U.S. dollars from its global services in 2019. Next to Lionbridge Technologies is SDL, which is located in the United Kingdom. In terms of workforce and employees, there will be about 59,000 workers serving in interpreting and translation services alone in 2019. Due to the varying multilingual nature and diversity of the state of California, it had the largest number of people working in interpreting and translation, then followed by Texas and Florida.
Interestingly, to the far east is the most lucrative state for workers looking to work in the translation and language industry. In the state of Virginia, interpreters and translators could expect an annual mean wage of 75,770 U.S. dollars.
The translation and language market has grown in leaps and bounds, and according to recent forecasts, the demand for translation services is likely going to go higher in the coming years. This means that translation companies still have miles to go in fulfilling the needs of this growing market.
Specifically, we expect that areas, such as technical translation services, machine translation, medical and legal translation, will be the highest of them all. Besides Europe and America, translation and localization are growing in demand in the Middle East and Africa. These areas are fast-growing marketplaces for ambitious businesses in a variety of industries.