CSA Research Reports on Language Service Industry and Names Lionbridge 2015’s Top-Ranked Provider

For the fourth consecutive year, Lionbridge was named the largest global language service provider in the $38.16-billion industry by Common Sense Advisory Research (CSA Research)—with rankings based on size, revenue, and service mix. In The Language Services Market 2015 report, CSA Research, an independent market research firm, cited Lionbridge as a “perennial list-topper,” as the company has occupied slots in the top 10 since the firm first issued the study, 11 years ago.

“Lionbridge’s ranking as the industry leader in language services is a credit to our global teams who drive unparalleled value for our global clients,” notes Rory Cowan, CEO, Lionbridge. “As the market for digital content and communications continues to expand, we look forward to delivering innovative solutions that combine global scale technology, proven program management expertise and in-country knowledge for some of the world’s most demanding global brands.”

The Language Services Market: 2015 is a comprehensive overview of the global language services market by region, revenues, service offerings, and suppliers of technology for translation, localization, and interpreting. This year’s report includes insights and data gathered from 860 language service providers (LSPs)—4.75% of the world’s 18,097 providers.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

The language services market

Overall, CSA Research shows an annual growth rate of 6.46%, despite fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and significant challenges in the European, Chinese, and Russian economies.

Market growth for language services industry
*The Language Services Market 2015, Common Sense Advisory Research, June 2015

This growth is fueled by an increasing need for multilingual content. For instance, CSA Research looked at 2,407 leading websites and found almost 38% serve only one language, and the average site supports just under 6. According to the report, organizations interested in global e-business expansion need 14 languages to reach 80% of the world’s online population.Lionbridge's ranking as the industry leader in language services is a credit to our global teams who drive unparalleled value for our global clients.

In this year’s report, Europe accounts for more than half the industry’s annual revenues. 92% of industry revenues are earned from language services tasks, with less than 8% attributed to areas such as language technology and consulting.

Market demand and supply

According to the report, demand for language services comes from four main areas:

  • Consumers of information. The Internet created a global population that demands instant access to the information they want in the languages they speak.
  • Commercial buyers. Corporate and individual customers want to do business in a familiar tongue. The most competitive organizations provide sales, product, service, and support in a variety of languages.
  • Public sector. Government agencies and NGOs must be able to communicate effectively in-country and across borders, making comprehensive language services and technology mission-critical.
  • Non-profit organizations. As causes and programs continue to cross borders in an increasingly global world, non-profits need to deliver services in multiple languages, particularly during emergencies.

As more organizations realize the importance of communicating in native languages, managers increasingly outsource language services as well as solutions such as consulting and training.

The CSA Research report notes that outsourcing is the preferred method for managing language services for domestic, multicultural, or global use. Even companies with a global and diverse workforce can’t scale language services internally. Outsourcing bridges the gap, enabling companies to secure the language services they need while still focusing on their core business goals.

Depending on need and budget, organizations typically outsource to full-service LSPs or freelancers, each of which may specialize in a single language, a regional language, or multiple languages. Larger LSPs are more likely to have a deeper service offering and access to technologies that smaller providers and freelancers do not.

As outsourcers, many LSPs face similar challenges as any service provider: identifying new trends and dealing with changes in order to match competitors.

Services and technology

The CSA Research report shows that successful LSPs respond to customers’ needs across multiple devices and content types. Many LSPs provide QA and testing services to improve quality and reduce costs. These companies also provide more than translation and localization, offering additional services like big data, industry/regulatory compliance, global campaign management, and information security.

Service growth of language services industry
*The Language Services Market 2015, Common Sense Advisory Research, June 2015

According to the CSA Research report, full-service LSPs offer the following:

  • Translation and related services which often include a range of translation methods such as machine translation, machine translation with human post-editing, subject matter expert translation, transcreation (in which creative concepts are adapted, not directly translated, to a target language), and more.
  • Localization and engineering services that adapt software, apps, websites, and products to specific markets. App and software localization, offered by almost 41% of surveyed LSPs, translates and adapts user interfaces for ecommerce and other applications. 35% percent offer website globalization, which ensures a satisfying online experience in any language or dialect. Gaming and multimedia localization does the same for videos, animation, games, and other interactive content. Finally, internationalization prepares products and code for global markets and sets the stage for future localization.
  • Translation services for media comprise post-production work such as subtitling, dubbing, and voice-over/narration for audio and video content. Subtitling provides on-screen written translation of dialogue and action. Dubbing inserts a recorded voice speaking the local language over the original dialogue, sometimes with an effort to sync to the actors’ lips. Voice-over is typically used for corporate videos and news reports in which guided narration is useful. Only 18% of LSPs in the CSA Research survey offer these services.
  • Interpreting services facilitate immediate communication between people of different languages and cultures. On-site interpreting (offered by 35% of LSPs surveyed) is provided in healthcare and legal settings as well as large organizational meetings or conferences. Telephone and video-remote interpreting provide the same function using three-way calling, dual handsets, smartphones, tablets, and tele- or video-conferencing capabilities.
  • Desktop publishing services apply translated, localized, and/or transcreated content to produce creative work for print, broadcast, online, or mobile. The CSA Research survey found that almost 37% of LSPs offer desktop publishing as an additional service option.

> Read more about Lionbridge’s ranking as a market leader here.

*The Language Services Market 2015, Common Sense Advisory Research, June 2015