Is Translation a Booming Industry?
In 2012, the size of the translation industry was estimated at US$33.52 billion. This year, 2019, the global market for translation, localization and other language-related services is expected to reach $49.8 billion.
So, what does industry actually mean?
Translation services include companies that translate written materials or documents from one language to one or more other languages. Translation services provided by the companies include translation of documents and websites (also known as localization). Localization services are common for international firms who want to translate their websites to a local language to cater for the needs of a local market.
With the global demand for healthcare, IT and other domains are increasing; language service industry is also increasing. The faster economies grow, the more they will be in need for translation services to help them with their expansion.
Interestingly, the translation market is not heavily affected by recessions. However, it is a very fragmented market; with spot number 1 claimed by military contractors and the Top 100 firms ranging from $427M down to $4M according to studies by Common Sense Advisory, a translation industry think tank. The United States represents the largest single market for translation services. Europe is a close second and Asia is the largest growth area. Currently, business is generated from the government and private industries alike.
The Future of the Translation Business
The recent acceleration in machine translation sophistication and reliability leads some observers to speculate that machines will essentially remove the need for expensive human translation even in the enterprise market, eliminating tens of thousands of jobs in product and service localization, publishing, marketing, and myriad other fields, even as the demand for translation explodes.
Going forward, the number of new language opportunities is substantial and represents a new market for many businesses. According to Common Sense Advisory (CSA), enterprises will need to translate content into a steadily increasing number of “niche” languages in order to reach small but fast-growing economies. Where approximately 14 languages are sufficient to reach about 75% of global Internet users today, reaching the next 20% requires adding about 40 more. By 2027, the firm estimates that enterprises will need to translate into more than 60 languages in order to reach 96% of the online population.