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The 2024 Nimdzi 100 Preliminary Ranking

Report by Laszlo K Varga.

State of the language industry in 2023

2023 will go down in the books as the year of AI uncertainties in the language industry. AI's impact on the job market has sparked endless debates and speculation, however, the broader economic landscape tells a more nuanced story. Despite the unsettling wave of layoffs within the tech sector, attributed largely to strategic adjustments rather than AI's direct influence, the U.S. economy – the biggest market for language services – has shown remarkable resilience. This robustness, underscored by low unemployment rates and sustained consumer spending, contrasted sharply with the economic challenges faced by Europe and China, illustrates the complex tapestry of global economic health.

Throughout the year, many of our discussions with LSPs of all sizes indicated that 2023 is a tougher year than the previous and revenues are in danger. The two key recurring factors mentioned were drops in order volumes from clients and the uncertainties about the return on investment of generative AI (GenAI) adoption to enterprise content workflows, resulting in a wait-and-see attitude of buyers. 

As we delve into the narrative surrounding AI, particularly its role within the language services industry, it's crucial to separate fact from fiction. The fear that generative AI will usurp jobs and diminish the need for human expertise in language services has not materialized as anticipated by many. This is not to say AI hasn't introduced efficiencies or reshaped certain aspects of our work. Instead, the integration of AI into localization processes has been gradual as a feature rather than a disruptive new way of working. On the large scale, AI seems to be complementing rather than replacing existing workflows, technologies, and human skills.

Moreover, the layoffs in the tech sector – while concerning – have not been directly tied to AI implementation in localization efforts. In fact, there's little evidence to suggest a widespread adoption of AI at a scale that significantly impacts employment within our industry. Instead, what we are witnessing is a recalibration of workforce strategies, aiming to optimize operational efficiencies in a shifting landscape of technological advancements.

Despite some instances that might indicate otherwise, the prognostications of doom have scarcely made their mark in Nimdzi's annual flagship industry analysis. The more traditional super-agencies – such as Transperfect, RWS, Lionbridge, and Welocalize – show results similar to last year, with low single percentage point changes up or down, and few have shown such sharp drops as Appen's multilingual AI data offerings. Equally resonant is the ripple effect of the Hollywood strikes – temporarily – shadowing the fortunes of LSPs deeply intertwined with the entertainment sector, such as IYUNO, VSI, Dubbing Bros, Plint, and Zoo Digital. In addition, a select few mid-tier LSPs have seen a slip in their standings, either descending the ranks or finding themselves on Nimdzi's watchlist.

Against this backdrop of constrained growth and recalibration, 2023 witnessed remarkable success stories. Noteworthy among these were LanguageLine, approaching the billion-dollar mark in the US interpreting sector, and Keywords, making strides in gaming services. The year also saw strategic movements through mergers and acquisitions, especially as language technology has become a main interest for investments. The successes of LSPs such as Propio, Global Talk, ELAN, and DA Languages demonstrate robust performances in specific niches like interpreting, healthcare, and public sector engagements. Toppan and PGLS saw their performance largely fueled by regulatory demands for comprehensive language access.

While reflecting a period of adjustment, this landscape does not necessarily spell an industry-wide retrenchment. Instead, it indicates the language services sector's enduring adaptability and resilience. Some providers told us stories where clients ditched their services for automated solutions powered by large language models (LLM), only to return a few months later for expert language and workflow support. The complexity of adopting new technology paradigms prevents plug-and-play enterprise implementations, and this gives time and opportunity for the industry to adapt, building on the experience of the successful embrace of machine translation over the past several years.

This resilience is clearly written in the numbers as well. This year's ten largest providers overshadowed the top 10 from last year with a 12.3% increase in combined revenues (from USD 6.1 billion in 2022 to USD 6.8 billion in 2023). The same increase for the top 20 is 14.3%, (from USD 8.1 billion in 2022 to USD 9.3 billion in 2023, noting that there is only one new entrant to the top 20 ranks), and the top 100 combined marks a whopping 19.2% increase in revenues (from USD 11.2 billion in 2022 to USD 13.3 billion in 2023), up from 17.1% in last year’s ranking.

Combined revenues of ranked LSPs

According to Nimdzi’s research, it would be an overstatement to declare the demise of the language industry. The growth we see isn't solely organic; mergers and acquisitions also play a role. However, growth persists across the board. While the compound revenues of the top 10 providers grew the most at 12.3%, the top 100 weighted average growth also shows an impressive 8.1% figure.

Weighted average growth
Top 100 Top 20 Top 10
8.1% 9.2% 12.3%

Growth trend of ranked LSPs

Even the LSP at the bottom of the top 100 list shows impressive expansion, with revenue reported to be $17.8 million in 2024, which is a 27.1% increase from $14.0 of the 100th LSP in 2023. This growth trend, consistent over the years, underscores the industry's robust health and dynamism.

The language industry: Market growth 2009-2023 and forecast 2024-2028

In our previous report, we forecasted a 7.0% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the language industry and we expect the rate to stay the same. We have already factored into our projection the effects of the shifting economic landscape, characterized by inflation, geopolitical conflicts, and the integration of AI into strategic planning. This projection reflects our confidence in the industry's capacity to navigate and thrive amid these considerations. At this rate, the industry should reach USD 97.2 billion by 2028.

 

We estimate that the language services industry reached USD 69.3 billion in 2023 and project it to grow to USD 74.1 billion in 2024 at 7%.

The Nimdzi 100 Ranking

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 worldwide. 

wdt_ID Rank Company Country 2023 Revenue (USD million) Note Main business
3 1 TransPerfect United States 1,200.0 v translation, life sciences, legal
4 2 LanguageLine Solutions United States 963.0 v interpreting, translation & localization, healthcare, government
5 3 RWS United Kingdom 912.7 FY translation, patents, life sciences, IT
6 4 Sorenson Communications United States 858.0 e sign language interpreting
7 5 Keywords Studios Ireland 844.2 e video game services
8 6 Lionbridge United States 569.5 v translation, life sciences, technology, legal, games & entertainment
9 7 Iyuno United States 420.0 e media localization
10 8 Translate Plus United Kingdom 379.6 v translation, dubbing, manufacturing, marketing
11 9 President Translation Service Group International (PTSGI) Taiwan 353.0 v translation & localization, interpreting, healthcare, video games, financial & legal, life sciences
12 10 Poletowin Pitcrew Holdings Japan 323.2 e translation, video game services
13 11 Welocalize United States 306.2 v translation & localization, data & AI, technology, legal, life sciences
14 12 Hogarth Worldwide United Kingdom 298.0 v communications company, localization
15 13 Acolad Group France 281.4 v translation & localization, manufacturing, life sciences, government
16 14 Appen Australia 273.0 FY data company
17 15 AMN Language Services United States 260.0 v interpreting, healthcare
18 16 GienTech China 241.7 v translation & localization, language testing & QA, technology, IT & software
19 17 Centific United States 238.0 v localization, data curation, global experiences
20 18 STAR Group Switzerland 213.6 v translation & localization, platform licensing, automotive & aviation, manufacturing
21 19 CyraCom International United States 192.5 v interpreting, translation, healthcare, insurance, government
22 20 Translation Bureau Canada 158.0 v translation & localization, interpreting, government
23 21 Pixelogic Media United States 141.6 e media localization
24 22 Dubbing Brothers France 132.0 v dubbing & audio, subtitling, media & entertainment
25 23 Propio Language Services United States 125.0 v healthcare, government
26 24 STAR7 Italy 113.6 e translation & localization services, manufacturing, IT
27 25 VSI United Kingdom 108.2 v media localization
28 26 Visual Data Media Services United States 102.7 e media localization
29 27 Datawords France 93.1 e translation, marketing
30 28 thebigword United Kingdom 91.1 e interpreting, translation, government
31 29 BIG Language Solutions United States 90.0 e translation, interpreting, education, legal, healthcare, life sciences, financial
32 30 United Language Group United States 88.0 v translation, interpreting, healthcare, life sciences
33 31 CQ fluency United States 86.0 e translation & localization, healthcare, life sciences
34 32 Verbit United States 80.0 e Transcription, captioning, translation
35 33 Honyaku Center Japan 77.9 v translation, patents, life sciences, finance & legal
36 34 Global Talk Netherlands 76.2 v interpreting, government, healthcare
37 35 SWISS TXT Switzerland 75.3 v media localization
38 36 LanguageWire Denmark 74.4 v translation, life sciences, luxury, automotive
39 37 GTCOM (Global Tone Communication Technology) China 74.1 v language technology, translation, data & AI
40 38 GLOBO Language Solutions United States 71.1 v interpreting, healthcare, government, education
41 39 Uphealth-Martti United States 71.0 v interpreting, healthcare
42 40 Argos Multilingual United States 68.4 v translation & localization, life sciences, technology & IT
43 41 SeproTec Multilingual Solutions Spain 67.0 v translation, interpreting, pharma, life sciences, IP
44 42 TAKARA & COMPANY Japan 62.0 v transcreation, translation, technology & IT, creative services
45 43 Translated Italy 62.0 v translation & localization, tourism, technology
46 44 Certified Languages International United States 61.1 v interpreting, healthcare, other LSPs
47 45 Logos Group Italy 61.0 v translation & localization, copywriting & transcreation, dubbing & audio
48 46 ElaN Languages Belgium 59.5 e translation & localization, copywriting & transcreation
49 47 Verztec Singapore 59.0 e interpreting, transcription, DTP & graphic design, education, financial & legal
50 48 Sunyu Transphere China 58.9 v translation & localization, intellectual property, technology & IT
51 49 Vistatec Ireland 55.2 e translation, LQA
52 50 Akorbi United States 55.1 v interpreting, translation & localization, healthcare, financial
53 51 KERN Global Language Services Germany 52.7 v translation, interpreting, life sciences, automotive, technology, financial
54 52 EC Innovations Singapore 52.1 v translation & localization, interpreting, life sciences, technology & IT
55 53 Prime Focus Technologies India 48.5 v media localization
56 54 DA Languages United Kingdom 46.6 e interpreting, translation, education, financial
57 55 MotionPoint United States 43.7 e website translation
58 56 PGLS United States 43.2 v translation & localization, government
59 57 Ai-Media Australia 43.0 FY translation & localization services, government, education
60 58 SunFlare Japan 42.7 v translation, technical writing
61 59 Toppan Digital Language United Kingdom 39.9 v translation & localization, healthcare, marketing, finance
62 60 ONCALL Language Services Australia 39.4 e interpreting, healthcare
63 61 Multicultural NSW Australia 39.3 FY translation, interpreting, government
64 62 ZOO Digital Group United Kingdom 37.5 v subtitling, dubbing, media & entertainment
65 63 Plint Sweden 37.1 e media localization
66 64 Unbabel United States 36.4 v translation, customer experience
67 65 Yamagata Japan 35.0 v documentation company, technical translation
68 66 Spark United Kingdom 35.0 v localization, technology, media
69 67 Språkservice Sverige Sweden 34.3 v interpreting, translation & localization, government, technology & IT
70 68 Sichuan Lan-bridge Information Technology Co. China 33.9 v translation & localization, manufacturing, technology & IT, automotive
71 69 Jonckers Belgium 33.6 e translation platform
72 70 EVA France 33.0 v dubbing, media localization
73 71 Traductions Serge Bélair (TRSB) Canada 32.7 v translation & localization, financial & legal, life sciences
74 72 Akagane Japan 32.3 e translation & localization, DTP & graphic design, manufacturing
75 73 Straker Translations New Zealand 31.5 FY technology & IT, manufacturing, translation & localization
76 74 Versacom Canada 31.1 v translation & localization, financial & legal
77 75 Alpha CRC United Kingdom 30.8 v technology & IT, video games, translation & localization
78 76 DigitalTolk Sweden 30.6 v interpreting, public sector
79 77 TIS National (Translating and Interpreting Service) Australia 30.3 FY translation, interpreting, government, public sector
80 78 Summa Linguae Technologies Poland 30.2 v data & AI, translation & localization, technology & IT
81 79 Rozetta Corp. Japan 30.0 FY translation, platform, technology
82 80 Transvoice Sweden 30.0 e interpreting, healthcare, government
83 81 CRESTEC — Localization Japan 29.7 vv translation, localization, manufacturing, automotive, IT & software
84 82 Acclaro United States 28.4 e translation & localization, copywriting & content creation, technology & IT, media & entertainment
85 83 Weglot France 28.2 e website localization
86 84 Glodom Language Solutions China 27.8 v translation, IT, patents
87 85 Apostroph Group Germany 27.1 v translation & localization, marketing, life sciences
88 86 Difuze Canada 26.8 e media localization
89 87 Janus Worldwide Austria 26.6 v translation & localization, technology & IT, manufacturing
90 88 Linguava Interpreters United States 26.0 v interpreting, translation & localization, healthcare
91 89 Skrivanek Czech Republic 25.6 v translation & localization, manufacturing, other LSPs
92 90 Transline Gruppe Germany 25.1 v translation & localization, DTP & graphic design, manufacturing, life sciences
93 91 Lilt United States 25.0 v translation & localization, copywriting and content creation
94 92 t'works Germany 24.4 e translation, website localization, manufacturing, life sciences, legal
95 93 Hanna Interpreting Services United States 22.5 v interpreting, healthcare, government, public sector
96 94 BLEND Israel 22.0 v translation & localization, education, IT, video games
97 95 Supertext Switzerland 20.0 v translation, transcreation, marketing
98 96 Language Link Corp United States 19.7 v interpreting, healthcare, finance & legal, government
99 97 Translations in Motion United States 19.5 v interpreting, healthcare, finance & legal, government
100 98 CBG Konsult & Information Sweden 19.3 v translation & localization, automotive & aviation, government
101 99 LanguageLoop Australia 18.5 v interpreting, government
102 100 Lingsoft Group Finland 17.8 v translation & localization, government, other LSPs

Our ranking is a live document and therefore subject to change. These represent data collected as of March 1st, 2024. Updated data will be published along with the full Nimdzi 100 Market Report later this year.

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
  • Some companies appear to have the same revenue due to currency rounding. However, the ranking order is accurate considering the second decimal.

Just shy

While these companies did not quite make this year's Nimdzi 100 ranking due to the growth of other players as well as new arrivals on the ranking, their work in the translation and localization space is still impressive. With continued growth and innovation, they may well find themselves on the list in the future. For now, they merit recognition as leaders shaping the industry and pushing it forward. Though they missed the cutoff this time, their efforts continue to elevate the entire field.

wdt_ID Company Country 2023 Revenue (USD million) Note Main business
62 Tarjama& United Arab Emirates 16.4 v translation, transcription, financial & legal, media & entertainment, public sector, government
63 THG Fluently United Kingdom 15.7 v translation & localization, copywriting & content creation, consumer goods, beauty & wellness
64 Hero Tolk Norway 15.2 e interpreting, public sector, government
65 Awatera Cyprus 15.0 v translation & localization, interpreting, life sciences, technology & IT, gaming
66 Willingjet United States / China 14.9 e translation & localization, healthcare
67 mt-g Germany 14.8 v translation & localization, DTP & graphic design, life sciences
68 Terra Translations United States 14.7 v translation, healthcare, life sciences, video games
69 Interpreters Unlimited Group United States 14.4 v interpreting, legal, education, gaming
70 Hansem Global South Korea 14.1 v technical writing, translation, consumer goods
71 itl Institut für technische Literatur Germany 14.1 v translation & localization, automotive & aviation, technology & IT
72 Presence Translate & Interact Luxembourg 14.0 v interpreting, healthcare, government
73 24translate Group Germany 13.5 v translation & localization, DTP & graphic design, financial & legal

Watchlist

Language service providers without a definitive revenue estimate 

The Watchlist consists of companies that could be in the ranking but are not listed because they do not disclose, publish, or otherwise reveal their revenue. Furthermore, some organizations are units inside larger corporate groups where a small part of revenue comes from language services, and annual reports do not allow researchers to segment out the translation and interpreting revenue. We provide visibility to such companies on the Watchlist to highlight their impact on the industry. 

The reason it is important for us to track these companies is because even though they might not compete for clients, they compete for talent and resources. They also represent opportunities for technology providers and investors.

The companies are listed in alphabetical order.

wdt_ID Company Country Main business
1 CSOFT International United States translation & localization, interpreting, technology & IT, life sciences
2 Deluxe United States media localization
3 EVS Translations Germany translation, finance, legal
4 Expression Australia Australia sign language interpreting
5 Future Group United Arab Emirates translation & localization, interpreting, technology & IT, testing, DTP & graphic design
6 German Translation Network - Ge|Tra|Net| Germany translation & localization, interpreting, manufacturing, financial & legal
7 Global Lingo United Kingdom translation, interpreting, transcription, technology & IT, e-learning
8 kothes GmbH Germany linguist staffing,
9 MasterWord Services United States interpreting, translation & localization, linguist staffing, government, healthcare
10 Mother Tongue United Kingdom transcreation, translation, content creation
11 Questel France translation, legal, patents, life sciences
12 Systran (ChapsVision) France machine translation
13 The Kitchen United States media localization, video games, dubbing & audio, subtitling, media & entertainment
14 Transcom Global United Kingdom translation, life sciences
15 Translate.One United States translation & localization, financial & legal, intellectual property, life sciences
16 Translation Back Office Argentina translation, media services, testing, video games
17 Transn China translation, financial & legal
18 Valiant United States interpreting, translation, transcription, government

How we create the Nimdzi 100

During the course of this market analysis, Nimdzi 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 1 million or more in revenue, with the assistance of in-country experts. In most countries, there are only a few providers of this 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 typically listing full company revenue, not just language services revenue. It is impossible to separate these in external sources of information, such as annual reports, press releases, and stock listings, which provide the foundation for our work. However, in some cases – where meaningful and the data was available – we do list the company’s language division’s revenue.
  3. We use data from the latest fiscal year for each company. This means the numbers for some companies will not reflect 2023 calendar year revenues. However, where possible, we aggregated quarterly or half-year revenue data to match the calendar year.
  4. Our definition of language services includes: translation, localization, transcreation, 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, voiceover, dubbing, machine translation (MT), training machine translation engines, cultural consulting, data/AI services, 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 2023) where applicable.
29 February 2024

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