The UK market is the second largest localization and interpreting market in the world. It is defined by several large language service companies, a handful of mid-sized players and over a thousand smaller or specialist companies competing to meet client needs. Nimdzi and the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) have combined their efforts to provide a comprehensive overview of the language industry in the United Kingdom.
The primary drivers for pricing interpreting in the UK and elsewhere are a function of both mode and modality. An interpreting mode refers to the way interpreting is performed, whether it be simultaneously, consecutively, or through sight translation. A modality refers to the method by which the service is delivered. These include in-person, over the phone, or video remote interpreting.
The secondary drivers of pricing include any industry specialization needed, geographic location and language rarity. Industry specialization is required within many linguistic services, but it is especially important in interpreting where the services are provided in real-time and cultural clarification and familiarity with traditional working standards may be needed. Long-tail languages, or languages of lesser diffusion, are more expensive than more frequently encountered languages. Also, geographically isolated locations or locations without linguistic diversity are also subject to high prices with the inclusion of travel.
Unique to the UK market is the impact that public sector contracts have on pricing. Many respondents to the ATC UK Survey noted that public sector contracts to large providers are having an adverse effect on rates.
Average pricing for interpreting services in the UK excludes public sector pricing.
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We recently conducted a large study for which we examined the interpreting markets in 12 countries. We assessed how the interpreting markets are run, what trends, challenges and opportunities stand out, and what drives interpreting - including pricing. Based on our research, we identified five factors that drive pricing in interpreting.