January Job Index Hit by Usual Seasonal Dip

Hiring activity in the language industry dropped slightly in January 2021 consistent with previous years’ trends. In January 2021, the Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) fell by around one point, the smallest January dip observed since the LIJI launched in mid-2018.

The January 2021 LIJI fell to 108.45 from 109.38 from December 2020, and is up from 105.43 in the month of November. October 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 March 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 dip in the January figure is linked to a decrease in job ads across some of the platforms monitored by Slator. Others showed a slight increase, but failed to offset the overall decline, while the needle did not move much for the number of people in the LinkedIn categories that Slator tracks.

Observational data related to activity across the language industry in the month of December 2020 also indicated that the environment was largely stable in hiring and demand levels.

Slator covered news of senior hires at language service providers Tarjama, Efectiff, and US Translation Company, and language industry dealmaking continued unabated in the run-up to the holiday season. Writing productivity tool Wordtune raised USD 25m in a Series A funding round, and UK startup Papercup, which offers semi-automated dubbing, raised USD 11m.

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Meanwhile, Australia-based translation, transcription, and captioning provider Ai-Media acquired two US-based captioning and access providers, while fellow Australia-based, data-for-AI market leader Appen downgraded its full-year earnings guidance after a disappointing November 2020. 

In other news, Germany announced a pay raise for the country’s judicial translators and interpreters, which failed to satisfy all concerned; and a Slator reader poll revealed that many freelancers and LSPs planned to take only a few days off over the holidays, while nearly 30% said they would not be taking any vacation whatsoever.

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.