Continued Stability in US $12 Billion-plus Translation Industry

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The dollar is falling, but globalization presses on – with an increased demand for translation. These key facts explain why a new report from business globalization research and consulting firm Common Sense Advisory ( reveals that, in spite of the changing rankings of players in the global economy, pricing within the US$12 billion-plus translation services industry has remained relatively stable in recent years. For most languages, prices fluctuated by only 10 percent up or down over a four-year period. Common Sense Advisory based these findings on a detailed online survey, which was completed by nearly 300 language service providers (translation firms) about their pricing structures, processes, and customer bases. The firm’s 112-page report, entitled, “The Price of Translation,” includes pricing data in average prices for the 10 languages with the greatest global economic impact (for example, French and Chinese), as well as 23 “next-wave languages” used in rapidly developing markets or in countries that are important to the global supply chain (for example, Arabic and languages of India.

Other key findings include:

• The dollar has fallen out of favor. The research found that more than half of survey respondents currently invoice for translation jobs in Euros, and 49.1 percent indicated that foreign clients pay more than local clients. With an increased reliance on euros for pricing, companies that pay in dollars can expect their translation bills to go up.

• Spanish dropped in price more than any other language. In total, the company reviewed 74 language combinations. One pairing, English to Spanish for Latin America and Spanish to English, dropped in average price far more than any of the other pairs for translation in both directions.

• Automation benefits buyers. Businesses can obtain substantial cost savings by working with translation providers that partially automate the translation process. The research found that most providers discount the normal price by 65 percent when converting previously translated text.

• Seven languages are poised for major growth. The firm anticipates a significant growth of content in the six hyper-languages of the web (English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese), as well as Chinese.

Common Sense Advisory’s research and consulting clients include global companies from the information technology, medical device, telecommunications, consumer goods, and travel industries. “We regularly help companies with revenue growth and cost reduction in a global business environment; advising them on local best practices, including translation and localization services,” said Tahar Bouhafs, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. “With some 5,000 vendors across the globe offering translation services, ranging from mom-and-pop operations to enterprises with more than 4,000 employees, buyers of language services want to know how and where to get the best deal or the highest value. Suppliers want to find out whether their prices are competitive against a nearly unlimited number of mostly unknown rivals. That’s what this industry research report explains.”

The full report is available to subscribers of Common Sense Advisory’s research. Visit Analysts are available for interviews and briefings by contacting Melissa Gillespie at [email protected]

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