February 2021 Job Index Rebounds From January Dip

Slator Language Industry Job Index February 2021

Hiring activity in the language industry rebounded strongly in February 2021 after a seasonal dip in January 2021. In February 2021, the Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) climbed by more than four points, the largest upswing since the Covid-19 pandemic took effect.

The February 2021 LIJI climbed to 112.64 from 108.45 in January 2021. October 2020 was a milestone month as the index rebounded above the baseline, taken to be July 2018 (100), for the first time since Covid-19 lockdowns began in March 2020. The index now stands around the level of October 2019.

The LIJI was developed to track employment and hiring trends in the global language industry. The July 2018 baseline is the starting point from which expansion or contraction of employment and hiring activity across the industry is measured.

The increase in the February figure is linked to an uptick in job ads across all but one of the platforms monitored by Slator. Observational data related to activity across the language industry in the month of January 2021 also indicated that the environment was buoyant in hiring and demand levels.

In M&A, media localizer Deluxe acquired versioning platform Sundog, while a major media localization deal was unveiled as Iyuno Media Group announced its plan to acquire large rival SDI Media. Meanwhile, language service provider (LSP) Straker acquired TMS provider Lingotek, and another TMS provider, Across Systems, was sold to financial investors Volaris Group. 

In funding, audio and video editing platform Descript raised USD 30m in a Series B round. Descript provides same-language captioning and transcription. Although the platform does not as yet offer translation, the company said it is one of the most requested features.

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January also saw a number of LSPs, both publicly-listed and otherwise, release financial results. Japan’s Rozetta grew nearly 3% to around USD 29m for the nine months to November 2020 (Q1–3), and Stratus Video parent company AMN Healthcare said the interpreting provider brought in USD 129m in LTM revenues as of Q3 2020 — up from USD 108m in annual revenues in 2019.

US-headquartered TransPerfect reported 2020 revenues of USD 852m, up 11% from the previous year, while US-based media localization provider ZOO Digital issued a trading update guiding investors that full-year revenues (to March 31, 2021), are expected to hit at least USD 38, up around 28% from the previous year. UK-listed video game services provider Keywords Studios raised its revenue and earnings forecast for full-year 2020.

The Slator LIJI relies on LinkedIn for part of its underlying data. The social media site has some 500 million users, many of whom share data about their skills, experience, location, company, and job titles on their personal LinkedIn pages. There are over 600,000 profiles under the Translation and Localization category and a search using the keyword Localization also yields more than 600,000 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.