Job Index Climbs More Than 50 Points Since the Start of 2021

Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) climbs 10 points in September 2021

Hiring activity in the language industry continued its upward swing in September 2021. After a six-point upsurge the month prior, in August 2021, the Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) increased by another 10 points in September.

The September 2021 LIJI grew to 161.51 from 150.77 in August 2021. The index now stands at its highest-ever level, surpassing a previous high in August 2021, as well as pre-pandemic peaks in July 2019 and March 2020.

The index has climbed a total of 53 points in 2021, year to date; and more than 60 points since the LIJI launch three years ago in July 2018.

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 growth in the September 2021 figure is linked to an increase in job ads across many of the platforms monitored by Slator. Moreover, there was a notable rise in language industry job ads on two of the job aggregation platforms, one of which saw the number of job ads more than double from the month prior.

Observational data related to activity across the language industry in the month of August 2021 indicate that the translation, localization, and interpreting hiring environment has remained buoyant.

M&A and Funding

Language industry M&A and funding activity continued strongly in August, with Slator covering a total of six transactions during the month. 

The month’s first M&A news came from UK-based LSP thebigword, which announced that investment firm Susquehanna Private Capital (SPC) had acquired a majority stake in the business, concluding four decades of ownership by company founder Larry Gould and his family.

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In another major transaction, Denmark-headquartered LanguageWire changed hands, as private equity firm Bridgepoint took over the reins from the now-former majority shareholder CataCap. Meanwhile, new market entrant Toppan Digital Language made its first move in August 2021, announcing the acquisition of UK-based LSP GlobaLexicon in its maiden M&A deal.

In the US, Super Agency TransPerfect snapped up digital marketing agency Webcertain shortly after its acquisition of Nordic LSP Semantix in the company’s biggest M&A deal to date. And, in the universe of life sciences, clinical research specialist WCG announced the acquisition of VeraSci, a provider of e-clinical software, translation services, as well as endpoints and assessments, for USD 330m. 

Also in the US, Boostlingo secured a growth equity investment from Mainsail Partners. The interpreting SaaS startup plans to use the funds for management hires, software products, and international expansion.

Beyond M&A and Funding, several of the dozen-or-so listed LSPs published results or trading updates during the month of August, revealing a largely positive set of numbers. 

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Australia-listed translation, transcription, and captioning provider Ai-Media released its first full-year financials post-IPO, with the company reporting revenue growth of 87% to USD 36m in the 12 months to June 30, 2021.

Also in August, three companies provided updates on their first-halves. Call center giant Teleperformance said its interpreting unit, LanguageLine, was the main driver of 22.5% growth in its Specialist Services division; media localization provider ZOO Digital guided for a record-breaking six months with revenues expected to reach at least USD 25m; and video game services provider Keywords Studios said it expects H1 revenues to climb around 37%, with organic growth in the region of 23%.

In quarterly reporting, New Zealand-based Straker Translations reported (unaudited) revenues of NZD 11.4m (USD 8m) for the three months to June 30, 2021, while Japan-based Honyaku Center generated net sales of around USD 22.5m, up nearly 13% from the same period the previous year. 

Meanwhile, in hiring news, Slator covered senior appointments at DITA localization specialist WhP (Chief Sales Marketing), translation management system provider Memsource (VP Global Sales), US-based LSP MultiLingual Solutions (Director of Strategic Initiatives), and multilingual video-meeting platform Interactio (UN Team Lead).

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Over at LocJobs, there were more than 20 new job postings in the month of August, as companies including Gemino (Germany), the International Achievers Group, TALK Finance (Luxembourg), and Language Inspired added their open vacancies for roles spanning language technology, solutions architecture, project management, and vendor management.

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.