Slator Job Index Edges Up Slightly in March 2020

The Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) was developed to track how employment and hiring activity trend in the global language industry.

In March 2020, the Slator LIJI rose to 110.3 from 109.59 in February 2020. The baseline was taken to be July 2018 (100), the starting point from which was measured expansion or contraction of employment and hiring activity across the industry.

After reaching a record high of 108.95 in December 2019, the index fell to 107.69 in January 2020, consistent with a similar seasonal dip in January 2019. It then rebounded in February 2020, jumping to 109.59. Since March 2019, the index has grown by nearly nine points.

The upward trend in March was reflected in most of the indicators used for the LIJI, including the number of job postings on all job aggregation sites monitored by Slator. However, there was a slight decrease in the number of job postings returned using a keyword search for Translation and Localization on LinkedIn, which slowed the overall increase.

The positive data from the Slator Language Industry Job Index comes despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which over the past few days and weeks has led to activity in certain sectors and economies experiencing a dramatic slowdown. While the Index does measure hiring activity as it happens, the blow delivered to the broader economy may not show for a few weeks, possibly months. We will know more in April and May 2020.

On the M&A front, DACH-region language service provider (LSP) Apostroph Group acquired boutique rival USG Übersetzungs-Service AG. Meanwhile, New Zealand-headquartered Straker Translations made its first acquisition of 2020, buying New Zealand Translation Centre Limited International (NZTC International) for USD 1.1m. Also, a UK media report revealed that Capita plc is planning to sell off its translation and interpreting business line (Capita TI).

Several news items highlighted likely demand drivers for language services in February 2020. For example, a Mexican senator presented a new dubbing initiative, proposing that all non-Spanish film and TV content in Mexico be dubbed not only in Spanish but also in, at least, one indigenous language from the region. If approved, the initiative could boost demand for media localization and dubbing services in Mexico. Meanwhile, in Finland, the AV Translation Center published a new set of quality requirements for subtitles in an effort to promote consistent subtitling practices. And the Norwegian Police opened bidding for a nationwide interpreting contract worth an estimated USD 15m.

Senior industry hires at several language service and tech providers included lengoo, Unbabel, Acolad Group, and XTM, as well as Lionbridge, One Hour Translation, Argos Multilingual, Wordcraft, and Global Lingo. Slator also tracked 20 buyer moves in the February 2020 Language Industry Buyer Tracker (SlatorPro).

In industry news, a UK gaming survey found localization professionals to be the best educated and least depressed. The European Union announced it is seeking 50 translators with ‘perfect knowledge’ of Irish. In the UK, professional translators specializing in public service will soon have their own national register. And to top it off, Barbara Moser-Mercer was awarded the thirteenth Danica Seleskovitch Prize for outstanding service to the interpreting profession.

Also in February 2020, Slator released the 2020 Language Service Provider Index, a ranking of the world’s largest language service providers by revenue, featuring over 130 LSPs across the Leaders, Challengers, and Boutique categories.

The Slator LIJI relies on LinkedIn for a substantial part of the underlying data. The social media site has some 500 million users, many of whom share data about their skills, experience, location, company, and job title 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.