Language Services Industry Booms Globally : In recent years, the translation and interpreting sector has experienced rapid growth, propelled by globalisation and technological advancements.
Market Size and Structure: According to the Nimdzi 100 Research 2023, the language services industry was estimated to have reached $64.7 billion in 2022 and was projected to grow to $69.3 billion in 2023. With an annual growth rate of approximately 7%, the industry is anticipated to reach a substantial $90.8 billion by 2027.
UK’s Significance: The United Kingdom holds a pivotal position in the global language services market, with its language services companies exhibiting notable growth rates—15.5% in 2021 and 12.5% in 2022, surpassing the global industry. The UK’s market size is estimated to range between GBP 1.94 and 2.20 billion in 2022, as reported by the ATC-UK Languages Services Industry Report 2023. Notably, the UK stands as the largest market outside the United States and China.
Diverse Market Dynamics: The language services market, often overlooked, continues to expand due to its versatility. It is not tied to a singular business sector; wherever communication is essential, there exists a demand for language services. This industry’s expansive scope is reflected in its varied sources of work. Regulated sectors such as legal, life sciences, and finance generate the highest volume of work, followed by creative services (including marketing and advertising) and technology, IT, and software, as outlined in the ATC-UK Languages Services Industry Report 2023.
Evolution Amidst Change: Adapting to the changing needs of businesses, economies, and societies, the language services industry is evolving rapidly. It actively responds to the opportunities and challenges introduced by new technologies, ensuring its continued growth and relevance in the dynamic global landscape.
Media: The urgency for media outlets to swiftly provide film, television, and audio content to a global audience has generated a heightened demand for subtitling and dubbed material. According to projections from the Global Captioning and Subtitling Solution Market Insights and Forecast, the global market size for captioning and subtitling is expected to soar to US$ 476.9 million by 2028, a significant increase from the 2021 figure of US$ 282 million. Notably, Netflix is experiencing a noteworthy surge in dubbed video consumption on its platform, with an annual growth rate of 120%.
Gaming: In the gaming industry, 2023 marked another triumphant year, with revenue estimates reaching a staggering $227 billion, solidifying its position as one of the largest global industries. The success of the gaming sector has been greatly influenced by localisation efforts, playing a pivotal role in sustaining this robust performance.
Public sector: The public sector stands as a significant avenue for interpreter employment, encompassing diverse roles such as police and court interpretation, language services in health and social services settings, and community interpretation for counselling and victim support services. In contrast, business interpreting spans from providing one-on-one assistance in business meetings to facilitating simultaneous interpretation for large assemblies at commercial and political conferences.
However, there are instances where the interpreter’s role places them on the front lines, particularly when collaborating with or working for the military in conflict sones. In such scenarios, interpreters serve as intermediaries between the armed forces and the local population or assist NGOs in delivering aid during humanitarian crises. Interpreters play a crucial role in numerous situations globally, often facing inherent dangers.
A notable recent trend in interpreting involves an increased prevalence of remote work. This shift may be driven by practical or logistical considerations, where communication would otherwise be challenging, or to enhance overall efficiency. Consequently, interpreters have had to acquaint themselves with new technologies to effectively navigate this evolving landscape.