LanguageLine’s parent company, Teleperformance, released Q4 and full-year 2020 financial results on February 25, 2021. According to self-reported figures LanguageLine provided for Slator’s 2021 Language Service Providers Index (LSPI), the LSP’s 2020 revenues reached USD 618m, up 16.6% from USD 530m in 2019.
LanguageLine holds the #3 spot under the Leader category on the Slator 2021 LSPI, as it did last year. According to the Teleperformance press release, EBITA for LanguageLine “continued to rise in 2020 and margin, which remained high, proved particularly resilient during the [Covid] crisis.”
Teleperformance CEO Olivier Rigaudy echoed his past praise for LanguageLine’s staying power (Pro). Its success stands in stark contrast to the struggles of Teleperformance’s visa application management service, TLScontact, which saw a 70–80% decline in business due to the pandemic.
Together, LanguageLine and TLScontact make up Teleperformance’s Specialized Services division, where revenues are down –5.4%. The near shutdown of TLScontact due to the pandemic has led to losses of EUR 78m (USD 93m) since 2019 — mitigated only by LanguageLine’s solid, profitable growth, which returned to a steady pace in June 2020. Rigaudy credited LanguageLine for bringing Specialized Services “back to a positive figure” despite the hit.
“This achievement reflects a very efficient sales organization, a strong position in healthcare and public services, and an offering based on 13,700 interpreters who mainly work from home, making it possible to continue operating despite lockdown measures and other restrictions affecting the work environment,” the company said.
Successful ‘Shoring’ Model
LanguageLine’s growth is reflected in the expansion of its workforce. In 2020, Teleperformance hired close to 2,600 interpreters (nearly double from 2019) as part of a “shoring” model, where interpreters located outside North America work as external providers or “affiliates” of LanguageLine. These interpreters work primarily in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
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Of LanguageLine’s 13,700 interpreters, who work in 28 countries, 6,661 (48.6%) are employees; the rest are subcontracted or work as freelancers. Seventy percent of LanguageLine’s interpreters work in European languages, excluding Russian, which accounts for 2% of the work. Asian languages account for 13% of the services; Arabic, 3%; and all other languages, 3%.
The company’s work-at-home system, which replaced a call center setup in 2011, has been key to LanguageLine’s uninterrupted service. In 2019, 80% of interpreters worked from home, compared to 100% of interpreters in 2020.
It is unclear whether these figures represent interpreters who worked from home at any point during the year or interpreters who worked from home exclusively, as LanguageLine derived 3% of its 2020 revenue from on-site appointments.
Unsurprisingly, remote interpreting dominated LanguageLine’s services throughout 2020, with telephonic interpreting (OPI) making up 81% of the company’s 2020 revenue and virtual remote interpreting (VRI) contributing 10%. Document translation accounted for the remaining 5%.