Hiring activity in the language industry increased strongly in May 2021, continuing the upward trajectory from April and March 2021. In May 2021, the Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) climbed by almost seven points, a significant increase but smaller than in the previous month.
The May 2021 LIJI grew to 139.41 from 132.66 in April 2021. The index now stands at an all-time high, surpassing its previous best in April 2021 as well as pre-pandemic peaks in July 2019 and March 2020.
The index has climbed a total of 31 points in 2021 year-to-date.
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 May 2021 figure is linked to an uptick in job ads across most platforms monitored by Slator. Observational data related to activity across the language industry in the month of April 2021 also indicated a buoyant environment in terms of hiring and demand levels.
M&A and investment news was dominated by startup and growth funding in April 2021 as website localization provider MotionPoint landed an investment from Lightview Capital; and the world’s largest pure-play media localization provider, Iyuno-SDI, secured a USD 160m investment from SoftBank only weeks after it sealed a transformative deal to acquire rival SDI.
A few old hands in media localization embarked on a new venture in April 2021, as former BTI execs raised EUR 1m for their startup, LinQ. Meanwhile, legal & IP translation startup Bering Lab received an undisclosed amount in funding from Korean search giant Naver and AI video startup Synthesia raised USD 12.5m in Series A funding.
In Australia, translation and captioning provider Ai-Media raised AUD 40m in a share placement and entitlement offer to acquire EEG, a technology firm operating in its core space. Stateside, Sony sold one of its business units to investor-backed media loc giant, Deluxe.
A variety of LSPs — both privately-held and listed— released a healthy set of financial results in April 2021. Super Agency TransPerfect reported a strong first quarter, with revenues climbing 21% (or USD 40m) organically year-on-year. RWS published its first set of results since acquiring major rival SDL, setting itself on course to break the billion-dollar revenue mark in 2021.
Media localization provider ZOO Digital lifted its full-year outlook by USD 1.5m to USD 39.5m, and New Zealand-based Straker praised newly-acquired Lingotek for contributing to its growth in the three months to March 31, 2021.
On the buy-side, with public sector translation budgets seemingly impervious to Covid-19 disruption, Sweden launched its search for a single interpreting vendor to cover 25% of the country’s population via a contract worth an estimated USD 70m+ over four years.
Consistent with the increase in hiring activity, a number of employers posted new roles on LocJobs in April 2021, including design tech startup Canva, TMS provider Memsource, Translators without Borders, and LSP Lingo24.
In other hiring news, Apple advertised job openings for creative voice producers in multiple languages, while the European Commission appointed a new Chief Interpreter in Genoveva Ruiz Calavera.
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.