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 2,700 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 Growth

Globalization and increasing diversity within the US population has boosted demand for translation and interpretation services.

Industry size & Structure

The average translation and interpretation service provider operates out of a single location, employs fewer than 5 workers, and generates $2 million annually.

    • The US translation and interpretation services industry consists of 2,700 firms that employ 43,400 workers and generate about $5.8 billion annually.
    • The global language service provider (LSP) industry is estimated to be worth nearly $56 billion, according to the Business Research Company.
    • 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

                              Jan 19, 2024 - Steady Employment, Wage Growth
                              • Solid wage and employment growth suggest steady demand for translation and interpretation services. In Q4 2023, employment in the translation, interpretation, and other professional and technical services industry increased slightly compared to year-earlier levels. Over the same period, wages in the professional and technical services industry saw moderate growth.
                              • At a language industry event in October 2023, RWS Group CEO Ian El-Mokadem gave a keynote speech titled, “Goodbye Translators, Hello Language Specialists,” according to Slator. El-Mokadem suggested that while humans continue to play a role in the localization of content, that role is changing amid the era of machine and artificial intelligence (AI) translation. To follow up on the comments with industry insiders, Slator surveyed its newsletter readers by asking them if they thought the term “translator” would disappear within five years. In results posted in January, 43% of respondents said “absolutely not,” 25% said it has always been five years away, 16.7% said the term will definitely disappear, and 15.1% it could possibly disappear.
                              • In November, actors reached an agreement with the major Hollywood studios to end a months-long strike that had brought movie and TV production to a standstill. Screenwriters had also been on strike between July and September. Some translation firms that provide media localization services – subtitling and dubbing movies and shows for local markets – saw demand drop when studies halted productions during the strike, according to Slaytor. One firm, Lyuno, continued providing services to Netflix by doing subtitles and dubs for works produced outside US markets, including Germany, South Korea, and Turkey.
                              • Non-freelance translators and interpreters (T&I) saw their earnings increase by 9% between 2021 and 2022, according to the recently released 2023 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) put out by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual salary for translators and interpreters rose to $53,640 in 2022 compared to $49,100 in 2021. The top employer industry sectors for translators and interpreters in 2022 was professional, scientific, and technical (30% of employers), educational (20%), hospitals (8%), and government (5%). Over a fifth of T&I workers were self-employed, and their wages were not included in the BLS’s salary calculations. Industries paying top wages in the T&I industry included computer system design, the executive branch of the federal government, and advertising and public relations. A more diverse US population and globalization will help drive T&I employment growth of 4% between 2022 and 2032.
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