The 2021 Nimdzi 100: The Ranking of Top 100 Largest Language Service Providers

1 March 2021

Nimdzi 100 top lsps

Report by Sarah Hickey and Belén Agulló García.

The state of the language industry today

Rumours of the industry’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Maybe this is how Mark Twain would have put it. Because while 2020 might be the year the world wants to forget, it might also be the year the language industry wants to remember. 

While early predictions and industry surveys might have painted a gloomy picture, the majority of players interviewed for the Nimdzi 100 reported a strong finish to the year with record growth. These reports are backed up by data collected via our survey and financial records of publicly traded companies that show that even in 2020, the language services industry as a whole once again grew. Our estimate is that the language services industry reached USD 55 billion in 2020 and should grow to USD 58.3 billion in 2021. Considering a CAGR of 6%, the industry would be valued at USD 73.6 billion by 2025.

Ranking the top 100 LSPs

Chances are the information you came here for is the Nimdzi 100 Ranking, which is presented in the table below. The ranking is based on revenue and lists the top 100 largest language service providers (LSPs) worldwide. In 2021, this is what the ranking already tells us about the state of the industry:

  • Data show that annual growth among the 100 largest industry players has slowed significantly, increasing a mere 6.8% between 2019 and 2020 compared to 11.5% for the top 100 in the previous period.
  • However, combined revenue of companies comprising the top 10 positions in 2020 rose 9% compared to those from the previous year.
  • Despite ongoing consolidation at the top, the industry as a whole continues to grow, producing larger LSPs every year. This trend holds true even in the lowest positions of our ranking, with the 100th largest LSP confirming revenues of USD 12.0 million this year as compared with USD 11.6 million and USD 10.3 million for the 100th ranked LSPs in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Now, let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Our ranking is a live document and therefore subject to change.

*Pactera EDGE spun off from Pactera Technology in 2019 and has since been its own separate company. We list both companies in this year’s ranking, as both provide language services. The main distinction between the two businesses is their geographic footprint. Pactera EDGE has its headquarters in the United States and the majority of its clients are located in the US and Europe. Pactera Technology remains headquartered in China. 

Notes:

  • (fy) fiscal year, figures for the latest financial year (verified with financial reports)
  • (v) verified, data provided by companies
  • (e) estimated revenue, based on extensive industry research
  • (c) calculation based on public financial records
  • Some companies appear to have the same revenue due to currency rounding. However, the ranking is accurate considering the second decimal. 

How we create the Nimdzi 100 ranking

In the course of this market analysis, Nimdzi has uncovered prominent LSPs that have previously been invisible in market reports because they do not participate in surveys and are reluctant to disclose their revenue. Nimdzi has employed an investigative approach and invested hundreds of hours into intense research, data collection, and analysis in order to present data that have previously been unavailable.

We are very proud to offer broad access to our data. This ranking is offered to all who are interested. No paywall. No strings attached. Localization buyers, investors, savvy job seekers, and analysts are welcome to use this document, just don’t forget to reference Nimdzi Insights, LLC as the source. Interested parties are free to reach out to us directly should they have any questions.

Below is a summary of the methodology used for the Nimdzi 100 Ranking.

  1. We concentrated on identifying LSPs with USD 10 million or more in revenue with the assistance of in-country experts. In most countries, there are only a few providers of that size, and it is impossible for them to hide from local competitors because they hire staff, take part in requests for proposals, and employ a large number of translators. Once we identified the relevant LSPs, we researched information that could help us make more accurate estimates of their size and talked to the management directly to verify our findings.
  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 2020 calendar year revenues. 
  4. 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.
  5. Growth rates are calculated in USD. 
  6. 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 2020.

In previous editions of the Nimdzi 100, we published the ranking of the top 100 largest LSPs alongside our analysis of the size and state of the industry. This year, we released the ranking ahead of the analysis. The full report will be out soon, so stay tuned for updates as we work on releasing our full analysis of market trends, growth patterns, and the impact of COVID-19 on the industry in 2020 and beyond.

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