The Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) was developed to track how employment and job market activity trend in the global language industry. The baseline was taken to be July 2018 (100), the starting point for measuring expansion or contraction of employment and hiring activity across the industry.
A new and improved LIJI was relaunched in May 2020, using updated metrics to provide an even more meaningful picture of job market trends in the language industry, in particular given the widespread uncertainty in the current job market.
The index fell by just less than one point from June to July 2020, declining to 95.7. The downward trend in July was reflected across some indicators used for the LIJI, including the number of job postings on LinkedIn.
However, there was a slight uptick in the job postings on leading language service provider websites for the first time since March 2020, and on a number of job aggregation sites monitored by Slator, which mitigated the overall decline.
July 2020 now marks the fourth consecutive month in which the LIJI has fallen, with the biggest drop so far noted between April and May 2020 (15 points). The impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — which has brought business activity in certain sectors and economies to a near standstill since March 2020 — started to take effect in the month to April, and now shows signs of slowing as many countries lift or relax lockdowns.
June 2020 also saw an encouraging uptick in language industry dealmaking, the most significant transactions being language service provider (LSP) RWS’ double acquisition of Ireland-based machine translation (MT) provider Iconic Translation Machines and Indian LSP Webdunia. Find out why the world’s most valuable LSP bought a machine translation startup (SlatorPro).
In other M&A and funding news, media localizer IYUNO acquired German dubbing studio Scalamedia, US government contractor SOSi bought a minority stake in local MT provider AppTek, and Canadian LSP Scriptis Translations expanded into the US with its acquisition of boutique rival MTM Linguasoft. Meanwhile, e-commerce provider Localised raised USD 6.5m in a Series A funding round backed by British entrepreneur Peter Jones and growth fund BGF.
Slator also covered news that Japanese financial printer Takara had acquired LSP Simul for USD 46m from the owner of Berlitz Language Schools (although the deal actually happened in Q1 2020). And, finally, media localizer AI Media was reported to be considering a listing in Sydney.
Though M&A activity is one sign that investors are regaining confidence and that the worst of the pandemic’s impact may be over for the industry as a whole, many in the industry have been left shaken by the deadliest health crisis of the past hundred years.
While the Index measures job market activity as it happens, the full extent of the disruption to the broader economy may not emerge for several months. We will continue to track the trend throughout August and September 2020.
The Slator LIJI relies on LinkedIn for a substantial part of the underlying data. The social media site has some 500 million users, many of whom share data on their personal LinkedIn pages about their skills, experience, location, company, and job title. In May 2020, there were over 700,000 profiles under the Translation and Localization category, and a search using the keyword Localization also yielded more than 700,000 profiles.
In addition to using data from LinkedIn, the Slator LIJI also culls data from a range of sources, including global job aggregation sites and additional direct company data collected from Slator LSPI companies.