The language industry job market is stabilizing after plunging in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Slator Language Industry Job Index (LIJI). The LIJI was developed for the purpose of tracking how employment and hiring activity trend in the global language industry.
In August 2020, the Slator LIJI rose to 96.93, up from 95.66 in July 2020. The baseline was taken to be July 2018 (100), the starting point from which expansion or contraction of employment and hiring activity across the industry was measured.
Prior to Covid-19, the LIJI started off slow in January 2020, but quickly bounced back with a record high in February 2020. August 2020 is the first month that the LIJI recorded an increase since March 2020, likely due to the ripple effects of Covid-related lockdowns around the world during the five months prior.
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The upward trend in August was most noticeable in the number of job postings from Slator LSPI companies and the number of LinkedIn user profiles associated with the Translation and Localization industry. However, there was a slight decrease in the number of job postings on one of the job aggregation sites monitored by Slator, which mitigated the overall increase.
Observational data relating to activity across the language industry in the month of July 2020 showed good indicators of a resilient industry, with M&A activity rebounding.
In one of the largest-ever transactions in the localization technology space, PE firm Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake in Memsource, the translation productivity and management software provider.
Also in July 2020, several language service providers (LSPs) were reported to have made purchases of their own. Netherlands-based interpreting provider TVcN acquired Sweden-based interpreting company Tolkresurs Sverige and rebranded to Global Talk. SwissGlobal purchased rival LSP Semiotic Transfer, located on the same street in the Swiss city of Baden.
Freelance translator platform Ureed bought freelancer marketplace Nabbesh for an undisclosed amount after closing a seven-figure-USD seed round. With an unexpected boost from coronavirus lockdowns, remote simultaneous interpreting platform KUDO raised USD 6m in funding. Meanwhile, tech company Intento raised USD 3m in seed funding for its AI platform, which manages neural machine translation (NMT) engines.
New Zealand-based, Australia-listed LSP Straker Translations’ shares jumped 12% on Q1 FY 2021 results, continuing a rebound from all-time lows at the end of March 2020. UK-based media localizer ZOO Digital’s financial results also showed a strong start to FY 2021, with revenues up 3% compared to 2019.
In senior hiring news, Slator reported that Silke Zschweigert was named CEO of Belgium-based LSP Jonckers. Former Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel became a board member of Smartcat, the translation management technology startup.
However, it was not good news all round in July, as UK-based Deluxe Entertainment sold its media localization department to Platinum Equity less than a year after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Phil Shawe, CEO of the world’s largest LSP by revenue, described his outlook for TransPerfect in Q3 2020 as “cautiously optimistic” after a slow Q2 2020.
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 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.