There are many different ways to look at the size of the language services industry. Judging purely by headquarters location, Europe is the frontrunner, with 39.9 percent of the 153 medium-to-large-sized language service providers (LSPs) identified in the Nimdzi 100 based there. The United States does not lag far behind, being home to 37.3 percent of these LSPs.
When it comes to revenue, the United States is without a doubt the biggest single-country market. Companies with headquarters in the United States concentrate most of the revenue within the language industry. In 2020, the top 100 largest companies earned a combined revenue of USD 8.8 billion. Companies based in the US made up nearly 43 percent of this figure (USD 3.8 billion), and the top three LSPs, all of which were US-based businesses in 2020, accounted for more than USD 2.2 billion alone (25 percent).
While this is impressive — and there might certainly be something to the old phrase “location, location, location” — looking at where the largest businesses are located only tells us half the story. The more important part to consider is where the clients are — because, really, that’s what tells us where the money is.
As part of our survey for the 2021 edition of Nimdzi 100, we asked participants to indicate the percentage of revenue they derived from each of the different regions of the world. The question received close to 200 validated responses from LSPs from all corners of the world. Using this data as the baseline for our market sizing by geography (and figuring in our overall revenue estimate of USD 55 billion for all language services worldwide), the following map shows the estimated size of the language services market in 2020, split by geographic region in total revenue:
Language technology providers are scrambling to jump on the speech-to-text bandwagon which means users can view machine-generated live subtitles (translated from the original) as well as multilingual captions (monolingual transcripts available for different languages)of speeches in their preferred language.
This report is the first in an ongoing Business Confidence Study series that Nimdzi is kicking off to keep a pulse on the industry.
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