The Slator 2019 Language Service Provider Index

2018 has been a year of growth and transition for the language industry, as the latest translation productivity technologies are deployed in a highly complex supply chain. Ready access to capital and increased investor interest again fueled M&A activity among many of the top 50 language services providers and beyond, with Slator tracking 48 deals in 2018.

As in the 2018 edition, participants in the Slator 2019 Language Service Provider Index (LSPI) were selected based on their revenues and market activities for 2017 and 2018, as they represent a meaningful composite of leading vendors.

The 2019 Slator LSPI begins with a Leaders group that represents the top 30 or so leading language service providers and where assigning a rank is meaningful. This year, we also feature a Challenger group composed of companies with significant revenues but where assigning a rank is no longer meaningful given the overall fragmentation of the industry.

The combined US-Dollar revenue of companies in the 2019 Slator LSPI grew 17.2% in 2018 to USD 5.8bn. This is an attractive headline rate. However, a significant portion of this growth is caused by M&A-driven consolidation. We estimate organic growth across the 69 featured companies in the high single digits.

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Growth among the Leaders came in at 17.7%, outpacing the Challenger group’s 12.7%. While one driver of the Leaders’ outperformance was M&A, the data suggests larger LSPs are indeed growing faster than smaller ones on average. Only one company on the Leaders list reported negative revenue performance in 2018, while a total of five on the Challenger list did so.

The 2019 Slator Language Service Provider Index will be a useful resource for language industry stakeholders such as service vendors, buyers, advisors, consultants, and investors when used in conjunction with Slator’s online news service and research, such as the recent Slator 2019 Neural Machine Translation Report, the Slator 2018 Language Industry M&A and Funding Report, and other in-depth Data and Research.

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Slator LSPI data has been independently verified by Slator, led by Research Director Esther Bond, with company representatives or publicly accessible sources such as annual reports filed with regulators or stock exchanges. This list will change over time as more companies file their financials for 2018.

The Slator LSPI is the industry’s first look at growth in 2018. We will publish a comprehensive Market Report in early Q2 2019, with market-sizing and in-depth sectoral analysis.

Contact Slator Research Director Esther Bond if you would like to submit your company for inclusion in the next release of the 2019 Slator LSPI or the 2020 Slator LSPI. Contact Slator Commercial Director Andrew Smart if you would like to discuss our advisory services including a strategy review, senior management workshop, technology assessment, or custom industry research.

Key Takeaways

  • 2018 was a positive year overall, with strong double-digit growth for many of the leading 40 or so players. Growth among Leaders was marginally stronger than among Challengers.
  • Industry leader TransPerfect delivered another year of impressive organic growth, outperforming rivals significantly in both absolute (+USD 90m) and percentage terms (+15%). The New York-based LSP captured a sizeable part of overall market growth in 2018. While growing at a more modest pace, rivals Welocalize and Lionbridge also recorded a good year at 13.5% and about 10%, respectively.
  • M&A was the key driver for growth with RWS, SDL, Keywords Studios, Acolad Group, and LanguageWire all major beneficiaries of acquisitive growth. LanguageWire and Acolad reported pro forma revenues to Slator; that is, revenues that would have been generated in 2018 if they had owned all acquisitions for the entire year. SDL revenues are consolidated to include the Donnelley acquisition.
  • There was no major private equity exit in 2018, which means a number of investments in leading players such as Welocalize, ULG, Lionbridge, and others are beginning to mature. Lionbridge’s rumoured listing would be a major PE exit and the biggest listing of an LSP to date. PE continues to be a major force within the industry with about half of all dealmaking in 2018 done by PE-backed companies.
  • Media localization providers are growing strongly overall, with the exception being the leading incumbent, SDI Media, which faces headwinds from new entrants to the space (such as ZOO Digital, IYUNO, and others) who are also entering media localization.
  • Interpretation is growing, with Interpreters Unlimited, Easy Translate, and thebigword performing strongly in 2018. More interpreting revenue is being routed toward bigger providers and away from individual contractors or boutique LSPs as government increasingly bundles spend under nationwide framework agreements.

2018 saw the first IPO in the language industry in a long while as Straker listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney in October 2018, raising nearly USD 15m in the process.

The Slator LSPI contains 2018 and 2017 revenues (in US Dollars) for each company as well as percentage growth based on original reporting currency. A handful of potential Leaders have yet to provide Slator with their 2018 revenues (see Revenue Pending). For commentary on performance data and organizational changes for each LSPI Leader company, see the News Highlights section below.

The Revenue Pending section is a short list of LSPs known to have significant language service revenues (above USD 30m). These are companies that were featured in the 2018 LSPI, but whose 2018 financial results have not been made available to Slator in time for the launch of the 2019 LSPI. The 2018 revenues for these companies are pending, and confirmed revenues will be added to the Slator LSPI in due course.

Furthermore, Slator identified and contacted an additional 80 or so LSPs (not listed below), most of which would feature on the Challenger list.

The Challenger Companies section contains a list of smaller companies whose revenues we ascertained during the course of our research into the top LSPs globally. The language service industry is highly fragmented and there are lots of companies in the mid-field — meaning it is extremely difficult to continue to rank LSPs as company revenues decrease to below the USD 25m mark. Although LSPs included in the list of Challenger Companies have been ordered by 2018 revenues, the list should by no means be taken to be a complete one of companies of this size (ca. USD 10–25m). Of course, there is still value in making this data available. Companies may choose to use it as a benchmark for their own performance and growth, as an indication of growth in the language services industry, and as a starting point for evaluating strategic options including M&A.

The Other Companies section contains a roundup of relevant performance and organizational changes for companies known to have significant language service revenues, but whose performance Slator has not been able to independently verify. Some are subsidiaries or divisions within companies that derive the main portion of their revenues from non-language related activities; thus, including them in the LSPI would skew the depiction of the language services industry.

*Lionbridge’s 2018 revenues were estimated
*Keywords Studios 2018 revenues reported to be “at least” EUR 250m. Taken to be EUR 250m for LSPI.
*Acolad Group provided pro forma revenues.
*BTI Studios provided revenues in EUR, and quoted 2018 revenues as “at least EUR 100m.” Taken to be EUR 100m for LSPI.
*Languagewire provided pro forma revenues.

Slator 2019 LSPI Leaders News Highlights

1 – TransPerfect

TransPerfect has retained the title of world’s largest LSP by revenue for the second year running, with double-digit growth driven almost entirely by organic growth. With 14.7% revenue growth in 2018, TransPerfect grew by USD 90m, a sum larger than most companies on the LSPI. The company had a virtual freeze on acquisitions during the long drawn out ownership battle, which finally concluded in May 2018 with former co-CEO Phil Shawe emerging as TransPerfect’s sole owner and CEO. Since being free to do so, TransPerfect has made a few small acquisitions in TranslateNow, Applanga and, most recently, Propulse Video, but has yet to make any sizable acquisition.

2 – Lionbridge

Lionbridge grew by 10.2% based on estimated revenues in 2018 but failed to challenge TransPerfect for the title of world’s largest LSP by revenue. Growth was organic since Lionbridge made no acquisitions in 2018, but restarted dealmaking in 2019 with the acquisition of Tokyo-based language tech and services company Gengo. Since redefining its brand and offering over the past 12 months, Lionbridge has been much more vocal about its machine intelligence business. As the company neared its two-year anniversary of going private, reports reached Slator from Australia that the private-equity-owned LSP is exploring a listing on the Sydney-based ASX market. Lionbridge CEO John Fennelly remained tight-lipped on a potential listing, however, only commenting that as a portfolio company of one of the world’s largest private equity firms they “get calls all the time from bankers all over the world. And so that’s not unusual.”

3 – LanguageLine Solutions

Having been sold to French call center operator Teleperformance in 2016, LanguageLine Solutions is now part of Teleperformance’s “Specialized Services.” The company’s revenues grew by 8.7% in 2017, and their 2018 slowed slightly to 6.4% growth, as Q1 2018 performance was reportedly hampered by a weak dollar and an operational glitch. LanguageLine is a major player on the North America interpretation scene.

4 – SDL

SDL’s revenues grew by 12.4% in 2018, boosted in large part by the acquisition of Donnelley Language Solutions (DLS) in July 2018 for USD 77.5m, 13.3x EBITDA. SDL CEO Adolfo Hernandez spoke at SlatorCon San Francisco in September 2018 and explained that the Donnelley deal signified the company’s “very transparent move on premium industries,” as SDL plans to strengthen its position in the premium (regulated) verticals of Finance and Life Sciences that were DLS’s bread and butter.

5 – RWS

RWS’ latest fiscal year ended September 2018; meaning this is the first year the company has reported on consolidated revenues to include Moravia, which RWS acquired in a transformative acquisition in October 2017. But, with SDL’s purchase of Donnelley Language Solutions, RWS’ Moravia acquisition has failed to up its position on the Slator LSPI, and the company remains behind its fellow UK-based rival despite its 86.6% year-on-year growth. RWS spent most of 2018 focused on consolidating Moravia (newly rebranded as the RWS Moravia department), and stayed on the sidelines of M&A activity. RWS went on to acquire Alpha Translations Canada for USD 6m in January 2019 and is now expected to begin acquiring in earnest.

6 – Keyword Studios

Keyword Studios is continuing its strategy of acquiring companies rooted within the gaming space to achieve growth of 65.1%, having made eight acquisitions in 2018 and 11 acquisitions in 2017. Among its seven business lines, localization (including localization testing) is the biggest revenue driver, contributing about 30% to the top line, followed by functional testing, art creation services, player support, and audio services.

7 – Welocalize

Private-equity-owned Welocalize spent several years expanding its service offering, acquiring companies such as GLS and Nova (life sciences) and Traffic Optimiser (digital marketing, now Adapt Worldwide). Of late, the company appears to be focusing more on consolidating and integrating prior acquisitions rather than seeking out new ones.

8 – SDI Media

Media localizer SDI Media grew just 1.8% in 2018, versus 10.5% growth the year before. SDI Media CEO Mark Howorth, speaking at SlatorCon San Francisco in September 2018, described an industry experiencing much turbulence and disruption from all angles: new entrants to the market, pressure from procurement, systems in need of heavy investment, and talent shortage. “Having margins put under pressure is a really tough thing,” Howorth said, pointing out that the industry faces “frankly, a very uncertain future.” SDI Media is 100% owned by Imagica Robot Holdings Inc, a Japan-listed company.

9 – STAR Group

Switzerland-based STAR Group is a very, very private company. No acquisitions and few public appearances or online marketing efforts. Based in a former monastery at the northernmost tip of Switzerland, STAR Group’s performance was a steady affair with a modest increase in revenues of 7.4% from 2017.

10 – Amplexor International

Luxembourg-based Amplexor, formerly known as Euroscript, was originally almost entirely reliant on business from EU institutions, a segment whose portion now accounts for about 12–15% of the business. Amplexor has aggressively diversified since, gaining a foothold in the United States by acquiring Sajan for USD 28.5m in 2017, for example. Amplexor said it is looking for potential acquisitions further afield, but stayed quiet on the acquisition front throughout 2018.

11 – CyraCom International

After several exceptional growth years, CyraCom showed a comparatively modest increase in 2017 (8.7%) and 2018 (5.8%). The company featured on the Inc. 5000 list in 2016 and 2017, but missed out in 2018. The Inc. 5000 list ranks privately-held, for-profit companies based on percentage revenue growth over a three-year period. Along with the likes of LanguageLine, CyraCom is one of the giants of the remote interpreting space. CyraCom Chairman and CEO Jeremy Woan spoke at SlatorCon San Francisco 2018 about factors that influence remote interpretation demand, such as immigration and healthcare policy, and shared his view on the challenges facing interpreting startups.

12 – Acolad Group

Acolad Group is the newly rebranded Technicis group of companies. Backed by French PE group Naxicap since 2016, Technicis has set about making numerous acquisitions over the past three years, buying Swiss company Translation-Probst in July 2016 and Italian LSP Arancho Doc in 2017. In 2018,  Technicis made four acquisitions: French LSP TextMaster, finance and legal specialist HL Trad, Belgian LSP Telelingua, and Finland-headquartered AAC Global, buying its way up the LSPI with 165.9% growth.

13 – BTI Studios

BTI Studios posted impressive year-on-year growth of 57.4% in 2017, capitalizing on the upward swing in the media localization industry, but growth slowed considerably in 2018 to around 4.2%. The company has made a conscious move to prioritize dubbing above subtitling in recent years, shifting to a revenue split of 60:40. In 2018, BTI Studios acquired four dubbing studios in new territories, Creative Sounds (Netherlands), Berliner Synchron (Germany), and La Bibi and Multimedia Network (Italy).

14 – Semantix

Private-equity owned Semantix has recently been on an acquisition drive across the Nordics, buying up TextMinded in 2017, Amesto Translations in early 2018, and remote interpreting startup Tolkvox in 2019. Much of its 13.0% growth in 2018 (based on original reporting currency SEK) is linked to Amesto revenues: around USD 18m annually. Although they continue to dominate the Nordics, Semantix now has a footprint in other parts of Europe, as well as Chile and China (through the TextMinded deal).

15 – thebigword

thebigword rebounded strongly in 2017, posting an impressive 40% growth. This growth was largely credited to the UK-based company having secured a large Ministry of Justice contract in August 2016 (worth GBP 120m). thebigword also outperformed Executive Chairman Larry Gould’s growth estimates for FY2018, achieving 27.8%. With no acquisitions completed in 2018, thebigword’s growth was organic, and again credited in large part to the MoJ contract, which it has also managed to make profitable: EBITDA increased to nearly USD 6m in 2018 up from USD 3.3m in 2017. (thebigword’s fiscal year runs until May).

16 – Pactera Technology International

Pactera is the IT outsourcing unit of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group that was due to be sold in 2017. However, pre-IPO fundraising work was stopped back in November 2017. HNA itself acquired Pactera from Blackstone only one year earlier. The Globalization Services unit currently accounts for about 9% of Pactera’s revenues and traditionally services large enterprise IT accounts, going up against the likes of Lionbridge and Moravia (now part of RWS). Growth was strong in 2018 at 17.6%.

17 – Honyaku Center

Honyaku Center  divides its business into six units: Translation, Interpretation, Language Education, Temporary Staffing, Conventions, and Others. The company’s core Translation unit is, by far, its biggest and posted modest growth for the year, increasing by nearly 8% from 2017 to total revenues of around USD 70m. Overall, the company said that “although sales were not reached, profits exceeded the target.” Honyaku Center’s fiscal year ends in March.

In 2018, Executive Officer and Director Shunichiro Ninomiya took over Ikuo Higashi’s position as Honyaku’s President. Higashi became the Chairman of the Board. Ninomiya was previously responsible for the overall planning and management of the company.

18 – Ubiqus

France-headquartered Ubiqus has a long history of dealmaking, having acquired more than 20 companies over the past 15 years, and having made one acquisition a year since 2016. In late 2018, Ubiqus acquired aerospace and defense LSP Gedev, which generates around EUR 3m in revenues annually and posted modest growth for the year. The company has its roots in transcription and summarization, but today generates over 50% of its revenue from translation and interpretation. Ubiqus CEO Vincent Nguyen spoke at SlatorCon Zurich in November 2018 about the company’s involvement in NMT research and development, and how Ubiqus deploys NMT technology in its language operations.

19 – Voice & Script International

With revenues up 38.8% from 2017, 2018 was another strong growth year for VSI, which also posted 19.5% growth between 2016 and 2017. Group Managing Director of VSI London, Norman Dawood, told Slator in late 2017 that the company expects to see sustained growth in demand as organizations continue to recognize the value of adapting their content into multiple languages to extend their global reach. VSI works for some well-known OTT streaming giants and is leveraging the worldwide boom in media entertainment.

20 – LanguageWire

Denmark-headquartered LanguageWire was acquired by PE firm CataCap in 2017 and soon started to execute its buy-and-build strategy, acquiring Danish software company FrontLab in early 2018. Its second and more sizable deal took place in October 2018, when the company acquired Xplanation, a Belgium-based LSP of similar size (USD 34.8m in 2017). Rasmus Lokvig, Deputy Chairman of LanguageWire and Partner at Catacap, spoke at SlatorCon Zurich in November 2018 on why Catacap backed LanguageWire’s acquisition of Xplanation. By joining forces, LanguageWire and Xplanation have become a “fairly large company within the Europe borders” in Lokvig’s own words. Indeed, LanguageWire has moved up 10 places on the Slator LSPI, more than doubling in revenues thanks to the Xplanation deal.

21 – IYUNO Media Group

IYUNO’s revenues skyrocketed by 86.4% in 2017, and then grew again in 2018 by a formidable 67.7%. The company’s growth is indicative of the exceptional rise in demand for audiovisual services. In a further boost to its growth potential, Singapore-based IYUNO Media Group received an investment of USD 23.5m from SoftBank Ventures, one of the world’s biggest investors, in April 2018.

22 – Stratus Video

Out of the dozen or so US-based LSPs included in the 2017 Inc. 5000 list, Stratus Video earned itself top spot for its 2016 revenue growth, which was up by more than 2,100% from 2015. It also made the 2018 Inc. 5000 list, ranked 518. The video remote interpreting (VRI) provider, which has been owned by private equity firm Kinderhook Capital since 2015, posted double-digit growth in 2018 (18.1%).

23 – KERN Global Language Services

KERN is a Germany-based LSP with over 50 branches in Europe, North America, and Asia. The company posted growth of 4.9% year on year in 2018. KERN is the largest German LSP and operates in a country that continues to be one of the most highly fragmented language service markets worldwide with hundreds of small LSPs competing for business from the country’s export champions.

24 – Morningside Translations

Morningside Translations, a New York-headquartered LSP that focuses on IP, patent, legal, and other regulated industries, was acquired in May 2017 by a group of individuals led by co-CEOs Tom Klein and Roland Lessard. The pair come from outside the language industry and opted for Morningside because of its industry vertical mix and growth track record. In March 2018, Morningside appointed LanguageLine’s former CEO and Chairman as Chairman of the Board. The company posted strong growth of 24.6% in 2017 and 14.0% in 2018.

25 – SeproTec Multilingual Solutions

In 2016, Spain-based SeproTec acquired Lidolang and, in doing so, secured itself a production hub in a tech-savvy location (Poland). They also expanded US operations that same year. Amid an influx of asylum seekers to Europe, the company was mandated to provide services to the European Union, along with a number of other LSPs. It was also awarded a EUR 5.6m Police contract issued by the Departamento de Interior in Barcelona, Spain. Despite not completing any acquisitions in 2018, growth remained strong at 16.3%.

26 – Certified Languages International

Certified Languages International made the Inc. 5000 list three years running (2016, 2017, 2018). The Inc. 5000 list ranks privately-held, for-profit companies based on percentage revenue growth over a three-year period. The company posted another strong performance for 2018 with 12.5% growth year on year.

27 – Livewords

In 2016, Concorde Group acquired cloud translation platform Livewords and was itself then acquired by private equity firm Bencis Capital Partners. The company began executing its buy and build strategy, acquiring translation platform FindCircles in the same year and financial translation specialist BB&TW in 2017 before rebranding to Livewords. Year on year growth for 2017 was slightly negative at -2.2%. Acquisitions continued in 2018, with the company buying three Netherlands-based LSPs: Engels & Partners, Balance Translations and Metamorfose Vertalingen. Growth rebounded to a strong 19.0% in 2018. Livewords has also completed its first deal of 2019, buying Walker Language Consultancy.

28 – Akorbi

Akorbi featured on the Inc. 5000 list three years running (2016, 2017, 2018). Inc. 5000 ranks privately-held, for-profit companies based on percentage revenue growth over three years. Growth slowed for the company in 2017, with 6.6% year-on-year growth, but was moderately higher in 2018, with 8.4% growth. Akorbi is seemingly focused on senior hires and other growth initiatives of late.

29 – CSOFT International

CSOFT is a US-based LSP that provides language services across multiple sectors including enterprise, life sciences, financial services, IT, legal, government and media entertainment. After negative growth in 2018, CSOFT is now aggressively pursuing growth in its life sciences vertical. Led by CEO Shunee Yee, who founded the company in 2003, the company opened a new Boston office in February 2019 to take advantage of the local medical research and biopharma community. In June 2018, former CSOFT executive Matt Arney sold his company, TranslateNow, to TransPerfect.

30 – ZOO Digital

ZOO Digital’s fiscal year runs until March, meaning that figures for 2018 are for the fiscal year ended March 2018. The cloud-based media localization company posted strong growth of 73.3% in 2018, but recently warned investors that 2019 revenues would come in some USD 3m below forecasts. The trading update prompted a dive in shares as investors reacted to the news and shares returned to around the levels they were the year before, but down more than 60% from the July 2018 highs. If the revised forecasts of USD 30m in FY2019 revenues hold true (ending March 2019), growth for ZOO Digital will have slowed to around 5%.

31 – Apostroph Group

Apostroph Group is the banner for the Swiss/German group of companies that comprises Apostroph Switzerland, Wieners+Wieners, and López-Ebri. The group is majority-owned by ECM Equity Capital Management and has a history of executing a strategy of buy-and-build expansion in the DACH region: Wieners+Wieners acquired Apostroph in April 2017; Apostroph went on to do a small deal in early 2018, buying local rival Transcript; and the group’s most recent acquisition is German LSP López-Ebri, which it acquired in mid-2018.

Other Companies with Significant Language Service Revenues

1 – Mission Essential Personnel

Mission Essential Personnel started out as an LSP, and has since expanded its focus to serve other government requirements. In 2017, the company was awarded an unconfirmed portion of the DoD DLITE contract (ca. USD 10bn over 10 years), having fulfilled almost 75% of the previous DLITE contract worth USD 1.2bn. Estimates based on new and continuing contracts awarded to Mission Essential Personnel put the company’s Federal Government-generated revenue at around USD 121m for 2018, down from USD 243m in 2017 and USD 266m in 2016. The US Federal Government spend on translation and interpreting contracts is upward of USD 0.5bn.

2 – Global Linguist Solutions

Global Linguist Solutions supplies services to the US Federal Government, working on contracts such as the DoD DLITE contract, worth a total of USD 10bn over 10 years, which it shares with eight other companies. Estimates based on new and continuing contracts awarded to Global Linguist Solutions put the company’s Federal Government-generated revenue at around USD 39m for 2018, versus USD 31m in 2017 and USD 34m in 2016. Global Linguist Solutions also provides a variety of language services, cultural, and business consulting to commercial companies.

3 – DXC Technology

Hewlett Packard’s Enterprise Services, which housed its language division, ACG (Applications and Content Globalization), was spun off and merged with CSC in 2017. The new company, called DXC Technology, is an end-to-end IT company, which reported USD 24.5bn in consolidated revenues for the fiscal year ended March 2018. The language component is integrated within Global Business Services (GBS), which posted USD 9.3bn in revenues in 2018. GBS focuses on customers within the insurance, banking, healthcare, and life sciences industries, as well as manufacturing and other diversified industries.

4 – translate plus (Prodigious)

translate plus reported a 26.6% revenue jump to GBP 8.5 (USD 10.5m) in 2016 versus 2015, and went on to be acquired by cross-media production platform Prodigious (part of the Publicis Groupe) in 2017. translate plus CEO Robert Timms said that Prodigious generated revenues of EUR 263m (USD 301m) in 2018 and that income from local adaptation, translation, or language services accounted for around 80% of this total.

Although translate plus is the only fully dedicated language services arm within the Group, these figures suggest that Prodigious’s language-related revenue could be as high as USD 241m, up from USD 226m in 2017, an increase of 6.6%.

5 – Crestec Global Communications

Japan-based Crestec Global Communications has three business lines including Technical Documentation, which houses the Localization division along with the Writing and Data Creation units. The company’s localization activities focus on technical translations for documentation such as user guides, user interface (UI) menus, messages, packaging, and brochures. The company offers MT and MT post-editing services in addition to human translation using productivity tools. Crestec Global Communications generated JPY 17.3bn (USD 156.3m) in the 2018 fiscal year ending June 2018 but does not break out revenues for its divisions.

6 – Hogarth Worldwide Limited

Hogarth Worldwide Limited (UK) reported revenues of GBP 154.38 (USD 208.34m) in 2017 versus 102.81m (USD 126.77m) in 2016, meaning that 2017 growth for the UK entity was around 50%. No comparison with 2018 growth can be made since the 2018 reports have not been filed at the time of publication. In addition, these are UK-only accounts and there are additional undisclosed revenues from overseas entities. Hogarth Worldwide CEO Richard Glasson spoke at SlatorCon London in May 2018 about his company’s growth trajectory from its founding in 2008. London-based Hogarth is a marketing implementation agency that is part of WPP’s Digital business line, and typically competes more with advertising, advertising-production, and technology sectors rather than with LSPs directly.

7 – Appen

Australia-based Appen acquired UK transcription provider Mendip Media Group (MMG) in 2016 and Leapforce in 2017. Appen has a Language Resources Division that provides datasets for training AI engines, and a Content Relevance Division that helps clients train AI-driven products. Its operations are, therefore, quite different from that of a pure-play language service provider, with Language Resources revenues accounting for around 35% of business in the first half of 2016. Appen’s shares have outperformed strongly since the IPO in early 2015, lifting the company’s market capitalization to over AUD 1.75bn as of February 2019. Company revenues for 2018 were up 119% to AUD 364.3m (USD 260.9m). Since going public in January 2015, shares in Appen are up a staggering 4,480%.

8 – Datawords

Paris-based multilingual digital content platform Datawords made two acquisitions in 2018, buying Luxembourg-based digital marketing firm Vanksen in January and Belgian video content agency 87seconds in July. The company offers what it calls e-multicultural technologies, with services like language technology, online marketing, and localization.

Datawords recorded revenues of USD 65m in 2017 and has 500 full-time equivalents worldwide, with main hubs based in Paris, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, Brussels, Milan, and Barcelona. Datawords is owned by its management as well as private equity funds Cathay Capital, Keensight Capital, and Bpifrance.

9 – Språkservice

Språkservice has not yet filed its annual report for 2018 at time of publication, and declined to provide Slator with its 2018 revenues. Språkservice posted revenues of SEK 505m (USD 55.5m) in 2016 and SEK 508m (USD 62.1m) in 2017, generating 0.6% growth. The Sweden-based company has a strong customer footprint across the Nordic region in the public and private sectors.

US-based CTS Language Link has a multi-vertical offering, which includes e-learning, voters’ guides, and finance. Part of the company’s core focus is on supplying translation and interpreting services to Limited English Proficiency individuals (LEP), a sector that has been gaining traction because of the ever-expanding linguistic diversity of the United States. Requested services commonly involve over-the-phone interpreting (OTP), video-remote interpreting (VRI), and face-to-face interpreting services, and companies use a mix of software and technology to optimize delivery. Language Link was originally founded as Corporate Translation Services (CTS) in 1991 by CEO and owner Jeff Barger. Estimates based on new and continuing contracts awarded to Language Link / Corporate Translation Services put the company’s Federal Government-generated revenue at around USD 1.1m for 2018.

11 – Language Services Associates

In 2017, Language Services Associates emerged as one of the bigger creditors of Pearl Linguistics, which filed for bankruptcy leaving GBP 858.6k (USD 1.1m) in money owed to trade creditors. In 2018, the company released a new Instant Remote Interpretation Service App. The app is designed to improve delivery of language services for individuals of Limited English Proficiency (LEP). It aims to enhance the overall care and service through fast access to qualified video or voice interpreters via a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Estimates based on new and continuing contracts awarded to Language Services Associates put the company’s Federal Government-generated revenue at around USD 3.8m for 2018.

12 – Pole To Win

Pole To Win is a customer experience (CX) specialist that provides CX services including software apps and device testing, engineering and development support, multilingual support for end users, and text and audio localization to a range of industries. Pole To Win’s primarily services gaming, e-learning, and media customer bases.

13 – Deluxe

Deluxe is a video services and technology company, offering a range of services from creation to distribution including dubbing and subtitling. Localization sits under one of Deluxe’s four divisions, within the Deluxe Distribution business line, which primarily works with media entertainment customers including studios, broadcasters, OTT providers and content distributors.  

Approach to Data Collection

  • Unless otherwise noted, the figures reflect revenues obtained for the company’s fiscal year and, therefore, do not always represent the calendar year;
  • Figures are presented in US dollar millions (USDm) for the purposes of the index;
  • Where relevant, exchange rates are based on historical data for 2018 and 2017 figures;
  • Unless otherwise noted, the percentage growth is calculated based on the currency as reported to / acquired by Slator;
  • Figures are self-declared or from publicly accessible sources such as annual reports filed with regulators or the stock market.