The Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI) was developed to track how employment and hiring activity trend in the global language industry.
In February 2020, the Slator LIJI rose to 109.59 from 107.69 in January 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 six consecutive months of growth starting in July 2019, the index fell to 107.69 in January 2020, from 108.95 in December 2019, consistent with a similar seasonal dip in January 2019.
The upward trend in February was reflected in most of the indicators used for the LIJI, including the number of job postings returned using a keyword search for Translation and Localization on LinkedIn. However, there was a drop in the number of job postings from Slator LSPI companies, which slowed the overall increase.
Observational data relating to activity across the language industry in January 2020 shows a healthy start to the year, with M&A and hiring activity continuing strong, and several companies breaking out record-setting revenue figures for 2019.
On the M&A front, Russia-based LSP AWATERA merged with Ireland-headquartered company SPEAKUS, a cloud-based remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) provider. Meanwhile, in the UK, Wolfestone Group acquired London-based language training company City Lingual.
And there was a large deal Stateside. AMN Healthcare announced it was buying private-equity-owned interpreting provider Stratus Video for USD 475m, less than a year after Stratus merged with InDemand Interpreting. The deal is expected to close by early March 2020.
It was an active month for earnings reporting, with largely positive results across the board for language service providers (LSPs):
- TransPerfect broke the USD three quarter of a billion mark in 2019, as revenues climbed to a record USD 764m;
- SDL released a trading update confirming market expectations, and is expected to reach roughly USD 488m in 2019 revenues;
- Video gaming specialist Keywords Studios’ top line grew by 30% in 2019, with organic growth accounting for around half;
- Despite an 8.4% drop in its 2018 figures, which were released late-December 2019, UK LSP Alpha CRC said it expects to bounce back with 2019 revenues;
- UK-based TranslateMedia’s 2019 revenues were up by 16.2% to nearly USD 11m.
Several news items highlighted likely demand drivers for language services in January 2020, including the publication of an EU award notice naming more than 50 suppliers for a translation contract into 18 languages. Meanwhile, the Netherlands public sector saw some turbulence, as over 1,500 Dutch linguists went on strike to oppose the use of unqualified interpreters within courts and immigration services.
In hiring news, a job posting revealed that the United Nations in Vienna is seeking a new Chief of Interpretation. Slator also reported on key industry hires at several language service providers, including Acclaro, ULG, lengoo, and Peter & Clark as well as Lingotek, Take1, ProTranslating, Language Connections, and Travod. In addition, we tracked 15 buyer moves in the January 2020 Language Industry Buyer Tracker (SlatorPro).
Moreover, results from Slator’s reader polls, published in January 2020, indicated a strong sense of optimism among language industry professionals for 2020, with the majority of respondents describing their outlook for the year as either “positive” or “very positive.”
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.