How Big Is the Translation Industry?

How Big Is the Translation Industry

The language industry had an addressable market size of USD 27.03bn in 2023, according to the Slator 2024 Language Industry Market Report. The report provides a comprehensive view of the global language services and technology industry, which contracted by 3.07% in 2023 from the prior year.

Slator’s market size estimate includes services relating to the transformation of text or speech from one language to another, covering the core services of translation, localization, interpreting, subtitling, and dubbing.

This figure was derived by Slator using proprietary research methods as well as referencing third-party analysis.

The language services and technology industry saw both tailwinds and headwinds in 2023. Growth across verticals was mixed. Media localization experienced significant disruption linked to US actors and writers strikes, and technology companies continued a pattern of layoffs and tightening budgets that began the prior year.

Demand for interpreting stayed strong, however, fuelled by requirements from US healthcare, as well as EU public sector buyers. Regulated industries also remained resilient. The high levels of inflation that characterized the previous year eased in 2023. However, general macroeconomic and political uncertainty contributed to a focus on profitability, cost-cutting, and localization ROI from major buyers.

A rapid run of impactful AI releases in 2023 continued to raise the bar in language AI. The state-of-the-art — for converting and generating text, speech, audio, image, and video — shifted markedly from month to month. This pace of AI innovation has persisted through early 2024. Buyers and providers are under pressure to quickly adapt, innovate, and extract value from new AI capabilities.

2024 also saw AI regulations start to take shape in the EU, US, and globally. Questions of how to build and implement AI while balancing risks have, with the adoption of such regulations, become more specific and concrete.

The Slator 2024 Language Industry Market Report analyzes the market via the lenses of geographic, language services provider (LSPs) segments, and buyer intentions. 

A market outlook for 2024 and five years to 2028 is also provided, along with growth areas and competitive differentiators for language service providers.