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The Argentinian LSP Landscape

An overview of the Argentinian market

31 March 2020  0 Views

Report by Sarah Hickey.

Table of contents

  1. About this report
  2. Methodology
  3. The Argentinian market
  4. Market overview
  5. Where the clients are
  6. Most important changes in 2019
  7. The biggest challenges for 2020
  8. Location, location, location
  9. About TINA
  10. About AASL

About this report

Nimdzi conducted this research project in cooperation with Translated in Argentina (TINA) and  the Argentine Association of Language Services (AASL). The goal was to provide an overview of the language service provider (LSP) market in Argentina in 2019.

Methodology

  1. The data presented in this report has been gathered via primary research, i.e. an online survey distributed to Argentinian LSPs.
  2. We’re listing full company revenue, not just language services revenue. It is not possible to separate these in external sources of information, such as annual reports, press releases, and stock listings, which provide the foundation for our work.
  3. We use data from the latest fiscal year for each company. This means the numbers for some companies will not reflect 2019 calendar year revenues.
  4. All figures have been verified through the online survey distributed to participants.
  5. Our definition of language services includes: translation, transcreation, localization, multilingual desktop publishing (DTP), language quality assurance, linguistic testing, multilingual copywriting, multilingual technical writing, language project management, interpreting, video remote interpreting, telephone interpreting, linguist verification and staffing, media localization, versioning, adaptation, subtitling, voice-over, dubbing, machine translation (MT), training machine translation engines, cultural consulting, and related services.
  6. Growth rates are calculated in USD. 
  7. We use average annual currency conversion rates to US dollars, published by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States for each day of trading in 2019.

The Argentinian market

Argentina is a unique market within the language services industry. It is the preferred market for outsourcing and one of the largest employers of talent.

Large international players, such as RWS Moravia with 410 employees in Rosario and TransPerfect in Buenos Aires, and even smaller players like Globalization Partners, NetWire, and Korn employ hundreds of people across Argentina. In addition, LSPs of all sizes and from all corners of the industry have partnerships with local vendors. It's no surprise that in our survey, participants reported that the majority of their clients are other translation companies. The biggest player in the market is literally called Translation Back Office.

There is no other country that fulfills these characteristics.

There are 20 countries and two territories in the world where Spanish is the official or de-facto language. Among these, Argentina is the country with the fourth largest population, after Mexico, Colombia, and Spain. In addition, the country’s GDP is the third largest in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico.

After the economic crisis in the 1990s and the devaluation of the Argentinian Peso in 2001, Argentina became the go-to market for Latin American versions of Spanish within the language services industry, surpassing Mexico in this regard. Since then, Multi-Language Vendors (MLVs) from across the globe use Argentina as a human resources center for language professionals. As education standards in Argentina are high, the country produces great linguists, project managers, engineers, DTPers, and other professionals. In order to become a sworn translator, linguists must have a degree in translation and be accepted by one of the different national translator boards, known as Colegios de Traductores.

As in-country taxation laws are strict and companies are mindful of the information they share, this study aims to provide a glimpse into this unique market.

Market overview

The Argentinian LSPs listed in this report had a combined revenue of USD 19.3 million in 2019.

Our data show that the most dominant services provided by Argentinian LSPs are translation (28.6%), DTP (10.7%), localization (10.7%), interpreting (8.9%), transcreation (5.4%), training courses (5.4%), and other related services (5.4%).

The data further show that nearly one-third (31.8%) of revenues generated by Argentinian LSPs comes from services for other translations companies. In addition, 18.5% of revenues are derived from Life Sciences, 11.0% from Finance, Business & Legal, 6.9% from Education and E-learning, 5.9% from IT, 4.8% from the Healthcare sector, 4.7% from Technical, and 4.6% from Gaming, Media and Entertainment.

Revenue

The table below shows the Argentinian LSPs who participated in this study, ranked by their 2019 revenues. 

Growth

The average growth rate for Argentinian LSPs in 2019 was 20.3%. The below table ranks the LSPs in our study by fastest growth in 2019.

Productivity

When an organization measures its productivity, it is basically assessing the business efficiency in terms of allocated resources. One simple way to measure it is to divide the revenue of the company the number of full-time employees. Looking at the productivity of the Argentinian LSPs in our report, the average revenue per employee in 2019 was USD 62,300. Company size does not appear to play a significant role in relation to productivity. 

Where the clients are

We asked survey respondents to indicate the percentage of their revenue derived from customers based in different parts of the world. The results show that 67.8% of revenues in the industry derive from customers based in North America. This is followed by 20.0% of customers in Europe. Only very little revenue is generated by customers based in South America (7.8%) and Asia (3.7%). The smallest amount of revenue comes from Africa (0.5%) and Australia (0.2%).

The Argentinian LSP Landscape-Where are the clients are

Most important changes in 2019

We asked survey respondents to report the most important changes with their companies in 2019 and the results show that hiring, restructuring, and consulting was on everyone’s plate.

Argentinian companies were scaling up and onboarded more employees in 2019, particularly Project Managers, Operation Managers, and Marketing Teams. LSPs also hired consulting firms, including Nimdzi Insights, to help them grow.

In addition, the companies in this report focused on Neural Machine Translation, post-editing, and improving multilingual website translation processes. 

The biggest challenges for 2020

We also asked survey respondents what they see as the biggest challenges for 2020. Below is an overview of the themes that stood out:

  • Organic growth
  • Talent acquisition
  • Technology adoption
  • Instability in macroeconomic conditions in Argentina
  • Adjusting to changing business models
  • Threats by global MLVs operating locally
  • Competitors working only virtually and thus having lower costs and being able to offer better rates

A number of the challenges named by Argentinian LSPs are in line with challenges reported by LSPs in The Nimdzi 100, the annual global market study conducted by Nimdzi Insights. As with  the Argentinian companies in this study, LSPs around the globe are trying to scale up in response to increasing content volumes. Talent acquisition and technology adoption are key factors in this regard. 

Technology adoption as well as a rise in new content types, such as video, have also led to changing roles in the translation market. Translators increasingly work as post-editors and LSPs worldwide need to adjust their service offerings to the landscape, for example by including subtitling. 

Location, location, location

Location matters. When it comes to making the decision of where to open a local office, a number of factors are at play. Arguably the most important ones are the cost and the local talent pool. With this in mind, the biggest in-country market is not always the most lucrative one, because cost tends to be high and the market over-crowded with competitors. The second largest city often offers more advantages as it is still a viable market but less crowded, with lower cost and better access to good talent.

One-third of the population in Argentina lives in the capital, Buenos Aires. However, more than half of the largest LSPs in our ranking have offices in other cities, particularly Córdoba and Rosario, which are competing for the title of the second-largest city. Córdoba currently is the second-largest city with close to 1.4 million inhabitants but Rosario is not far behind with a population of 1.2 million. Both locations offer good opportunities for translation companies, as they provide access to highly educated local talent thanks to the existence of highly regarded universities in the cities. Córdoba has six universities with approximately 105,000 students, Rosario has two main universities and a number of colleges with about 80,000 students in total.

A wider view of the market

Our tables above rank the largest LSPs in Argentina who participated in our study. However, as the language services market in Argentina consists of many small to medium sized players, we dug deeper and identified a further 73 LSPs on the market that should not be missed. The map and infographic below show the concentration of all 87 LSPs we identified in this report, by province.

The Argentinian LSP Landscape-Argentina_Map

The Argentinian LSP Landscape-Market-view

Want to take a closer look? Grab all tables in Google Sheets!

About TINA

TINA was founded as the first association for the translation industry in Argentina and Latin America. Its aim is to form a true network of all the industry players.

TINA is a civil association that brings together professionals, companies, and academic institutions from the translation industry and related areas, who are Argentinian residents, work with Argentina, or who are based in or have branches in the country. TINA’s goal is to position Argentina as a hub for productivity and export for language and related services.

Its purpose is to link all players in the sector through promotion, training, awareness-raising and other tasks, in order to prioritize the profession and consolidate the sector within the country's productive scheme.

About AASL

The Argentine Association of Linguistic Services (AASL) was founded in 2017 with the aim of representing Argentine companies that are part of the translation industry and related activities, both locally, regionally, and internationally.

Its goal is to represent the challenges of translation, interpretation, and language companies in Argentina and abroad, to promote job creation, and to establish a dialogue with government entities. 

AASL further aims to provide networking opportunities, create benchmarking and mentoring spaces in different parts of the country, and contribute to the training of translators and related professionals.

Sarah_Hickey_Chief_Researcher_Nimdzi_Insights

This report was researched and written by Nimdzi's Chief Researcher, Sarah Hickey. If you wish to find out more about the Argentinian LSP landscape, reach out to Sarah at sarah@nimdzi.com.

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