Translation and Interpretation Services

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 2,500 translation and interpretation service providers in the US translate written material, interpret speech from one language to another, and offer sign language services. Specific services include localization (adapting digital content for a specific market), transcription, subtitling, voiceover/dubbing, and language testing or training.

Dependence on a Highly Skilled Workforce

Translation and interpretation agencies and companies rely on highly skilled workers to provide services.

Industry size & Structure

The average translation and interpretation service provider operates out of a single location, employs about 14-15 workers, and generates $2 million annually.

    • The US translation and interpretation services industry consists of 2,500 firms that employ 37,800 workers and generate about $5 billion annually.
    • The global language service provider (LSP) industry is estimated to be worth about $52 billion, according to CSA Research.
    • The industry is concentrated at the top; the top 50 companies account for 68% of industry revenue.
    • Types of companies include multi-national firms, language technology firms, local agencies and freelance interpreters and translators.
    • Large firms include TransPerfect, Lionbridge, and LanguageLine Solutions (Teleperformance).
                              Industry Forecast
                              Translation and Interpretation Services Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              Nov 14, 2022 - AI Translation Services Target Written Material
                              • Lilt, a startup that provides AI-powered translation, is working with the National Weather Service to improve language translations of extreme weather alerts across the US. Experts say that gaps in language access to emergency alerts during extreme weather events have led to missed evacuations, injuries, and loss of life for non-English speakers. About 22% of US residents over the age of five spoke a language other than English at home in 2019, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
                              • Translation and interpretation service providers that rely heavily on demand to translate written material may be negatively impacted by ongoing advances in artificial-intelligence-based (AI) translation services. Google, for example, has updated its AI agent-based technology to add an enterprise-scale translation service, and to further automate document processing. The advertising and IT giant's Translation Hub is an AI agent-based service that offers self-service document translation with support for 135 languages. The service uses a combination of Google technologies such as neural machine translation to translate documents, the company said. Translation Hub will support Google Docs, Slides, PDFs, and Microsoft Word documents. AI-based translation services from IT leaders Amazon and Microsoft are also likely to be an increasing source of competition for translation and interpretation services.
                              • Several states and local jurisdictions have reported that there are not enough translation and interpretation services available to meet the needs Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Areas with the greatest need are typically those with thriving Slavic communities that have become magnets for Ukrainians. Many refugees need health care immediately for conditions such as pregnancy, high blood pressure, and diabetes, or because of trauma they’ve recently experienced, but experts say that the social service agencies tasked with delivering much of that care are straining to keep up with demand. Understaffed after years of dwindling funding, they’re now desperate for skilled interpreters who can walk newly arrived refugees through the application process and attend clinic appointments with them.
                              • School districts have increased the ways they reach out to families that speak languages other than English at home. The Ritenour School District in Missouri, for example, started holding its Spanish-language town halls during the pandemic, and school officials say they will likely continue to do them even as things return to normal. School communications became essential when the pandemic sent students home, according to research from Calvin University in Michigan. Parents reported increased interest in education news, but Calvin University researchers found a big gap in whether or not information needs are being met for families of different backgrounds. Schools have legal obligations to provide information in a language families can understand. They are required to provide written translations or spoken interpretations, and if they do not, families can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
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