The 2021 Nimdzi 100: The Ranking of Top 100 Largest Language Service Providers

2021年Nimdzi 100:最大的100家语言服务提供商排名

2021-03-01 11:38 Nimdzi Insights


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Report by Sarah Hickey and Belén Agulló García. Table of contents Chances are the information you came here for is the Nimdzi 100 Ranking, which is presented in the table below. The ranking is based on revenue and lists the top 100 largest language service providers (LSPs) worldwide. Now, let’s just jump right in, shall we? Our ranking is a live document and therefore subject to change. *Pactera EDGE spun off from Pactera Technology in 2019 and has since been its own separate company. We list both companies in this year’s ranking, as both provide language services. The main distinction between the two businesses is their geographic footprint. Pactera EDGE has its headquarters in the United States and the majority of its clients are located in the US and Europe. Pactera Technology remains headquartered in China. Notes: (fy) fiscal year, figures for the latest financial year (verified with financial reports) (v) verified, data provided by companies (e) estimated revenue, based on extensive industry research (c) calculation based on public financial records Some companies appear to have the same revenue due to currency rounding. However, the ranking is accurate considering the second decimal. Close, but no cigar The following companies would have made the ranking in previous editions, but due to the growth of other players as well as new arrivals on the Nimdzi 100, they did not make the cut this year. However, they deserve an honorary mention. Watchlist Language service providers without a definitive revenue estimate The Watchlist consists of companies that should be in the ranking but are not listed because they do not disclose, publish, or otherwise reveal their revenue. Furthermore, some organizations are units inside larger corporate groups where a small part of revenue comes from language services, and annual reports do not allow researchers to segment out the translation and interpreting revenue. We provide visibility to such companies on the Watchlist to highlight their impact on the industry. The reason it is important for us to track these companies is because even though they might not compete for clients, they compete for talent and resources. They also represent opportunities for technology providers and investors. The companies are listed in alphabetical order. Changelog A lot has changed on the ranking since last year. Here is a brief overview to help you better navigate the ranking. New arrivals on the Nimdzi 100 Pixelogic Media — USD 150.0 million (e). Pixelogic Media is a US-based company, which specializes in media localization and other media services. We estimated their size based on business news publications. Pactera Technology — USD 140.6 million. This year, Pactera Technology, the industry veteran based in China, is back on the Nimdzi 100 ranking after Pactera EDGE spun off from the company in 2019. Pactera Technology specializes in translations for the technology and IT sector. Verztec — USD 43.5 million. Verztec is a consulting and translation company based in Singapore. Verztec offers many language services, including interpreting, as well as translation for (among others) the life sciences and legal sectors. The company was on our Watchlist in previous editions and officially disclosed their figures to us this year. BIG Language Solutions — USD 41.0 million. BIG Language Solutions is a relatively new business founded in 2019, but has already been active in the M&A space. The US-based company acquired ProTranslating and ISI Language Solutions — two companies that have been on the Nimdzi 100 in previous years. BIG's group of companies are providing language services in both regulated and non-regulated industries. t’works — USD 17.4 million. t’works is a translation and website localization company based in Germany. The company operates in many verticals but is particularly focused on the fields of technology, healthcare, and legal. TOIN Corporation — USD 15.0 million. TOIN Corporation is a translation and localization company based in Japan. The company has clients in many industries and is particularly big in the areas of technology and consumer goods. The company was on our Watchlist in previous years and officially disclosed their figures to us this year. BLEND — USD 14.0 million. BLEND is a translation platform, with headquarters in Israel. The company was on our Watchlist in previous years when they still operated under the name One Hour Translation. This year, they disclosed their figures to us. Fidel Technologies — USD 10.0 million. Fidel Technologies is an LSP based in Japan. The company’s main focus is on translations in the technology and IT sector. Fidel Technologies would have made it into the top 100 in previous editions but due to the growth of other players as well as new arrivals on the Nimdzi 100, they didn’t make the cut this year. We’ve added them to our “Close, but no cigar” list this year. Rebranded TVcN is the largest interpreting provider in the Netherlands and was already on our ranking in 2020. The company has now rebranded as Global Talk. Language Connect, based in the United Kingdom, has been present on our rankings for years. In 2021, the company rebranded as THG Fluently. One Hour Translation was on our Watchlist of market influencers in previous editions. This year the company can be found on the ranking, rebranded as BLEND. Acquired and removed from the ranking Amplexor is an industry veteran and ranked 12 in the 2020 version of the Nimdzi 100, with a verified revenue of USD 180.1 million. The company joined Acolad Group in 2020 and is therefore no longer listed individually in our ranking. ProTranslating held position number 57 in the 2020 ranking, with a confirmed revenue of USD 25.0 million. This year, the company has disappeared from our ranking as it was acquired by BIG Language Solutions. ISI Language Solutions held position number 89 in the 2020 ranking, with a confirmed revenue of USD 14.6 million. This year, the company has disappeared from our ranking as it was bought by BIG Language Solutions. Stratus Video was ranked in position 16 in the 2020 edition of the Nimdzi 100, with a verified revenue of USD 110.9 million. In 2020, the company was acquired by AMN Healthcare, a healthcare staffing company from outside the language industry. Listed as AMN Language Services, we have moved Stratus Video to our Watchlist this year, to highlight their continued impact on the industry. How we create the Nimdzi 100 ranking During the course of this market analysis, Nimdzi uncovered prominent LSPs that have previously been invisible in market reports because they do not participate in surveys and are reluctant to disclose their revenue. Nimdzi has employed an investigative approach and invested hundreds of hours into intense research, data collection, and analysis in order to present data that have previously been unavailable. We are very proud to offer broad access to our data. This ranking is offered to all who are interested. No paywall. No strings attached. Localization buyers, investors, savvy job seekers, and analysts are welcome to use this document, just don’t forget to reference Nimdzi Insights, LLC, as the source. Interested parties are free to reach out to us directly should they have any questions. Below is a summary of the methodology used for the Nimdzi 100 ranking. Rumors of the industry’s demise are greatly exaggerated, as Mark Twain might have put it. Because while 2020 might be the year the world wants to forget, it might just be the year the language industry wants to remember. We have long said that our industry is impervious to crises. This is because we don’t create anything from scratch, we transform. Already in the 2020 edition of the Nimdzi 100, we alerted readers to the fact that, if COVID-19 became a pandemic, the translation industry would be impacted in the same proportion as the industries that it serves — both negatively and positively. Our data show that, in many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as an accelerator. Businesses that already had remote solutions in place grew, whereas those who ran entirely onsite-focused operations saw an accelerated downturn. LSPs with large clients in the travel and hospitality sector were hit hard, just as LSPs who predominantly offered onsite interpreting, whereas businesses with a diverse client base were able to navigate fluctuations in demand much better. Remote interpreting providers thrived — especially in the healthcare sector. Early predictions and industry surveys throughout the year painted a gloomy picture and it needs to be acknowledged that some LSPs had significant losses, while others merely stayed at the level of their 2019 revenue, as a result of the disruption caused by the pandemic. LSPs who were negatively impacted were mostly in the small-to-medium-sized range and/or focused on a niche that was hit hard, such as the retail industry or onsite interpreting. However, the language industry as a whole has once again proven to be resilient. The majority of players interviewed for the Nimdzi 100 reported a strong finish to the year and some even experienced record growth in 2020. These reports are backed up by data collected via our survey and financial records of publicly traded companies which show that, even in 2020, the language services industry as a whole once again grew. These findings are no surprise if we consider that, in 2020 and beyond, language services have played a key role in saving lives and advancing knowledge and communication across the globe. While some of what we’re seeing in the data might just have been one-time benefits, such as increased profitability due to reduced costs for travel and office space, we can expect that the pandemic will have a lasting impact on how all of us, including our customers, do business. Throughout this report, we reference different data points that were used for our analysis. In some cases, we report directly about data relating to the top 100 largest LSPs. In other cases, our calculations are based on data collected via our survey, which received 173 valid responses from LSPs of all sizes (including about two-thirds of the top 100 from our ranking). We also refer back to data collected via interviews we conducted with more than 30 of the largest players in the language industry. We highlight the sources of our data where appropriate. Our data show that annual growth among the 100 largest LSPs has slowed significantly, increasing 6.8% between 2019 and 2020 compared to an increase of 11.5% in the previous period. However, the combined revenue of companies comprising the top 10 positions in 2020 rose 9.0% compared to the combined revenues of the top 10 listed in 2019. The top 50 positions grew by 6.4% and the remaining positions 51 to 100 grew by 10.0%, as compared to last year’s ranking. Growth by ranking segment between 2019 and 2020 Despite ongoing consolidation at the top, the industry as a whole continues to grow, producing larger LSPs every year. This trend holds true even in the lowest positions within our ranking, with the 100th largest LSP confirming revenues of USD 12.0 million this year as compared with USD 11.6 million and USD 10.3 million for the 100th ranked LSPs in 2019 and 2018, respectively. In order to get some perspective on growth and consolidation in the LSP space, we decided to take a look at the numbers for the top company in the industry in the year 2000. The largest LSP in the world in 2000 was then publicly traded Berlitz GLOBALNET (now part of Lionbridge), with revenues of USD 103.9 million. If we look at the pro-forma consolidated revenues of RWS and SDL, the largest LSP in 2020 reached USD 936.7 million. Looking only at the top company in the ranking, the variation would be equivalent to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6% or a nominal growth of 901.5% over 20 years. The number one company in 2000 and 2020 Five-year growth projection When calculating the addressable market for their services, commercial providers should limit the opportunity to 60% of the total figure. Firstly, not everything is outsourced, as a significant portion of the overall volume is performed by in-house teams on the buyer side. For example, the European Union employs about 5,000 staff translators and interpreters. Secondly, the market size calculation includes revenues for both translation companies and their suppliers, i.e. a part of the revenue is counted twice. Top 100 companies concentrate 15% of industry revenue Although consolidation continues, the language services industry remains fragmented. The top 100 companies in our ranking accounted for just 15.0% of the overall language industry in 2020 — a rise of a mere 0.5% from 2019. Adding in the Watchlist and our “Close, but no cigar” honorary ranking, all 153 large LSPs tracked by Nimdzi accounted for only 21.4% of the language industry in 2020. In absolute figures, the companies tracked by Nimdzi earned over USD 11.7 billion in their latest fiscal years. The top 10 companies were responsible for more than a third of that total. USD 4.3 billion in the top 10 USD 3.9 billion in the next 90 USD 3.5 billion approximately on the Watchlist (including the “Close, but no cigar” honorary ranking for this purpose) Despite ongoing consolidation at the top, the industry is still predominantly made up of companies smaller than USD 10 million. A closer look at the top 100 In this year’s ranking, 65 of the top 100 largest LSPs in the world reported various degrees of growth. 33 companies had negative growth, and revenues remained flat for two companies in our ranking. The average growth rate for the top 100 was 7.9% in 2020. The top 20 grew at an average of 8.5% — only 0.6% more than the top 100 average. The next in line, LSPs with revenues between USD 50 and 96.1 million, grew at 10.7%. The remaining LSPs in the top 100, with revenues between USD 12 and 50 million, grew at 7.1% in 2020. Average growth of the top 100 in 2019 and 2020, by revenue bracket Average growth of the top 100 in 2019 and 2020, by revenue bracket If we look at last year’s figures as a matter of comparison, we can see a downturn in growth among the top 100. While the average growth for all top 100 only dropped 5.0%, companies in the mid-revenue section were hit much harder. Although the mid-revenue section remains the fastest-growing segment in the ranking, growth average is down by more than half of what it was in 2019 for the same segment. The top 20 are still growing at a slower pace than the mid-revenue section, but their growth only fell off 1.6% in comparison to the previous year. What this indicates is that the top players were better positioned to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic, which is a trend that also stood out in the interviews conducted for this analysis and in our wider industry research. The larger players in the industry typically operate in multiple verticals, offer a wide variety of language services, and are not reliant on a small number of key clients. This makes them more resilient in times of crisis, as they are better poised to compensate when one segment of their business has been negatively affected. The smaller the companies, the more they tend to specialize in certain niches within the industry. This can be an asset at times but also means a lack of safety net when said niche is among those hit hardest. This being said, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the top players to grow organically, which is why their growth is generally slower. Growth by company size When calculating the average growth by company size, it is, again, those in the middle that come out on top. In 2020, LSPs with 100 to 249 employees grew the fastest, with an average growth rate of 13.1%. In 2019, it was also the middle segment that saw the fastest growth, even though companies with 50 to 99 employees took the lead. In 2020, LSPs with 50 to 99 employees were next in line, with an average growth of 8.9%. The slowest positive growth rate was reported for companies with 500 to 999 employees, and some of the smallest LSPs in our ranking, with 25 to 49 professionals on staff, even had negative growth. It is reasonable to assume that this negative growth among the smallest players was, at least partially, a result of the pandemic. While some larger players also struggled, smaller ones tend to be more greatly impacted by market fluctuations. The most productive companies in the industry Looking at the productivity of the top 100 LSPs, the average revenue per employee in 2020 was about USD 102 thousand. In 2019, the average was USD 128 thousand, so this is a decrease in productivity of about 20%. The average productivity for the top 20 was USD 142 thousand in 2020. Considering company size, seven out of the top ten most productive companies in 2020 employ between 25 and 99 professionals. Two companies in this ranking have between 100 and 249 full-time employees and only one company has more than 1000 people on staff. The 10 fastest-growing LSPs in our ranking Below is a list of the ten fastest-growing LSPs in 2020. It is worth noting that the biggest growth in the industry was due to M&A activity this year rather than organic growth. The top three fastest-growing LSPs listed below all completed major acquisitions in 2020. Women-run LSPs This year, 20% of the largest LSPs in our ranking have female CEOs. Half of these are located in North America, seven in Europe, two in Australia, and one in Asia (or two, as one company reports dual headquarters in the US and China). The top five women-run LSPs are all located in North America. The percentage of women-run companies in the language industry is above average compared with other industries and the Fortune 500 (2.6% female CEOs). However, the 20 women-run companies in our ranking only make up 8.1% of the total revenue of the top 100, and there are no female CEOs among the top 10 largest companies in the industry. While these are interesting data points, the topic needs to be explored on a deeper level to truly understand what the data mean for the industry. Stay tuned as Nimdzi publishes a more in-depth report about women and diversity and the drivers behind the figures. Top services and verticals in the market In this year’s survey, we asked companies to select the services and verticals they operate in. The results show that the services most commonly provided by LSPs are translation and localization (97.5%), machine translation and post-editing (71.5%), subtitling (68.4%), and desktop publishing and graphic design (61.4%). Copywriting, transcreation, and content creation, as well as transcription are in fifth place (58.2% each). Onsite interpreting and dubbing, voiceovers and audio services share the sixth place (54.4% each), and an additional 46.2% also selected remote interpreting in addition to onsite interpreting. Considering the split by verticals, our survey results show that technology, IT & software (72.0%), life sciences (67.7%), and financial and legal (66.5%) are the three most prevalent segments in terms of industry participation. Marketing (63.4%) and education & e-learning (62.7%) are the fourth and fifth most common industry segments, and manufacturing is in sixth place (61.5%). Consumer goods and media & entertainment share the seventh position (54.7% each). The results show that regulated industries are still driving a lot of the business in the language industry. However, we also see that an increasing number of players of all sizes have branched out into up-and-coming fields such as e-learning, and media and entertainment, and that the IT sector is still going strong. When looking at these data it is important to bear in mind that these results represent a numerical count, showing how many players offer a certain service or operate in a certain vertical. They do not reflect the market share by revenue. Growth by geographical distribution To get a better sense of where the biggest growth came from by geographical distribution in 2020, we have compiled a map of the growth rates of the top 100 LSPs, by region, based on country headquarters. We calculate growth based on revenues expressed in USD, using the annual exchange rate for each day of trading. This means that, for some regions, currency fluctuations skew the growth picture. For example, EUR, GBP and SEK performed better against USD in 2020 than they did in 2019, so as a result, companies reporting in these currencies saw a boost to growth in the equivalent USD. On the flipside, in comparison to 2019, companies reporting in CAD and AUD saw a negative impact from currency fluctuations in 2020. In 2020, the industry reached a new level of maturity, with major consolidation at the top. Three companies that were among the top 15 largest LSPs in last year’s ranking (based on 2019 revenues) have effectively vanished from the ranking in 2021 due to mergers and acquisitions (M&A). As a consequence, at the time of publishing, our ranking is already obsolete. If we consider the M&A activity that went into effect after December 31, 2020, the list of top 10 LSPs in March 2021 looks like this: Adjusted ranking of the top 10 LSPs as of March 2021 While 2019 had already seen a lot of M&A activity, deals predominantly consisted of large players buying small-to-medium-sized companies to either expand their geographic footprint, their service offering, or their presence in new verticals. In 2020, on the other hand, we witnessed much larger deals, motivated by top players fighting over clients and wanting to secure their place in the market. It was the consolidation of the consolidation that saw former rivals joining forces, and created new segment leaders. New leaders in the language industry After buying long-time rival SDL for GBP 809 million (USD 1.066 billion), RWS is the new number one on the market. SDL has been one of the household names in the industry. After the acquisition by RWS, the SDL brand will now disappear and all units will be rebranded to RWS. Since the completion of the deal, RWS shareholders now own about 70.5% of the combined company and SDL shareholders the remaining 29.5%. The deal closed on November 3, 2020, after the end of RWS’ financial year 2020 (September 30, 2020), which is why we still consider both companies separately in this year’s ranking based on 2020 revenues. RWS is the new de facto leader in the industry. The combined 2020 revenues of RWS and SDL currently stand at USD 937.5 million, so we can expect the company to break the billion-dollar barrier in 2021. As it stands, RWS now outperforms former leader TransPerfect by USD 85.1 million in our adjusted ranking. This shift in leadership also comes with a geographic shift, as it is the first time that a company based in the United Kingdom will be leading the industry. In continental Europe, Acolad Group is the new leader after buying industry veteran Amplexor. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Acolad had already been busy in the M&A field in the previous years and, for example, bought Livewords, the second-largest interpreting provider in the Netherlands, in 2019. Thanks to its aggressive buy-and-build strategy, the company is currently one of the fastest-growing in the industry. Between 2019 and 2020, Acolad Group grew by almost 70%. In late January 2021, Iyuno Media Group announced its intention to acquire former rival SDI Media. At the time of writing in mid-March 2021, the deal has not yet closed, but once it does, Iyuno will be the new number one in the media localization industry, with a combined revenue of USD 376 million. Already in 2019, Iyuno and former rival BTI Studios merged, which then solidified its position as the number two in the multimedia market. What’s interesting to note is that in all three of the acquisitions highlighted above, it was the smaller player that bought the larger one. In last year’s Nimdzi 100, Acolad Group was in position 13 (USD 168.0 million) and Amplexor was ranked 12 (USD 180.1 million), Iyuno Media Group held spot number 10 (USD 185.0 million) and SDI Media was in ninth place (USD 211.0 million), RWS was number five (USD 454.1 million) and SDL was the fourth largest LSP in the world (USD 480.0 million). So all three acquisitions had a David and Goliath flavor. Beyond M&A: The first spin-off Aside from mergers and acquisitions, the industry also had a notable spin-off in 2020. Lionbridge sold its AI division — Lionbridge AI — to TELUS International, a digital customer experience company from Canada. The deal went through for approximately USD 935 million (CAD 1.2 billion). The sale was effective December 31, 2020, so in our ranking based on 2020 revenues, the revenue from Lionbridge AI is still included in Lionbridge’s overall figure. In 2021, the AI revenue will need to be deducted, which currently places Lionbridge in fourth place in our adjusted ranking, at USD 546 million. The drivers behind the M&A wave Many factors contribute to the surge in M&A activity. We currently find ourselves in a seller’s market, meaning there are more companies that want to buy than companies that want to sell. The supply of mid-sized companies is dwindling, and so the valuations for professional buyers like private equity firms is going up. In 2020, the pandemic acted as an additional trigger. Growth in the language industry might have slowed down in comparison to previous years but the fact that the industry grew during a pandemic that saw the global economy suffer is a clear sign to investors that the language industry is resilient and that investing in it is a smart move. Already, 26 companies in our ranking are backed by private equity funds, and more can be expected. Megadeals like the ones we witnessed in 2020 will trigger more large deals. Companies cannot afford to stand still in such a dynamic marketplace and, as it is hard for the top players to grow organically, this is driving M&A into a frenzy. In our survey, more than half of respondents (52.2%) expressed an interest in M&A, stating they are either looking for companies to acquire (23.1%), looking to receive offers (14.2%), or both (14.9%). Going forward, mid-sized companies will be bought up by the large players. When the middle disappears, small providers will roll up into the mid-sized positions, where they will subsequently become the next acquisition targets for the top LSPs on the market. In addition, current owners of LSPs looking to retire will have a “changing of the guard” effect that will also likely add to the M&A wave. Despite the ongoing consolidation, it is worth noting that the industry will always remain fragmented. This is because it has a low barrier to entry by nature and new small players constantly enter the market. Thousands of small companies account for more than three-quarters of the industry. What the ranking doesn’t show is that many of the top providers in the industry are not in direct competition with one another. Because the market is so fragmented, there are many clusters of top players for the various sectors within the language services industry. While companies from the top ranks are trying to diversify and branch out into other segments, no one, for example, comes near Keywords Studios when it comes to gaming, near Iyuno Media Group when it comes to media localization, or near LanguageLine Solutions in the area of interpreting. In every segment of the market, there are a handful of LSPs that have reached the level of brand awareness that puts them in a top-of-mind position for buyers. From a buyer’s point of view, the top companies in each segment of the industry are more likely to be bundled and tend to be interrelated in the client's mind. Let’s take a look at who they are, per sector of the industry. Considering the ranking of top players, the Watchlist of significant market influencers, as well as numerous briefings with industry experts, we highlight a number of current key trends and challenges we identified throughout the course of our analysis. The LSP is dead. Long live the LSP! Yes, the traditional concept of a translation company is dead. However, this bold statement is only partially true. Let us clarify. It is true for the biggest companies in the industry, so the ones that belong in the Nimdzi 100 ranking. Or the ones that aspire to become a big player. But it’s not necessarily true for most of the smaller companies (> USD 10 million in revenue) that are still a big part of the language service industry (78.6% according to our market-sizing exercise). So what do we mean by that? Moving away from transactional work We have identified a trend in the top 100 companies that is not new, but it’s now stronger than ever before. Increasingly, the top 100 LSPs are trying to stay away from transactional work and focus on MSA (master service agreement)-based business. In that sense, the LSPs’ ability to upsell and to develop strong account management or customer success programs plays a key role in building and nurturing those lasting relationships with clients. The needs of localization buyers have become more complex and LSPs are pivoting and adapting to meet those requirements by, for example, adding adjacent services to their offering. Consequently, they are becoming “corporate service providers” or rather business partners to help clients expand their international business. To know that the acronym of LSP is obsolete, we just need to have a look at the biggest players in our ranking. Are TransPerfect, or Lionbridge, or RWS, or Keywords only offering language services to their clients? Definitely not! Language services are just one part of their revenue, but they have been able to pivot and tailor their services to cater to the needs of their clients, and that’s one of the reasons why they’ve been able to thrive. Should we, therefore, exclude them from the LSP ranking? Of course not, that would be too narrow-minded of us. What we need to do is to update our concept of LSP to one that reflects their complexity. We’re talking about strategic partners for global business. This transformation is of course not random and is motivated by the same consolidation trend that we have seen throughout the M&A space. Big companies are looking for ways to simplify the supply chain and, in general, they want to reduce the number of vendors, including LSPs. The key here is to package the services in a way that makes sense for the customers. The multimedia localization industry is a great example of how to identify and understand the needs of clients and add value by offering adjacent services and technology such as digital packaging or cloud recording. Other services that LSPs now offer focus on global content strategy for their clients, and that can include content management, content creation, and copywriting, among other services. Technology as the biggest ally Technology is the biggest ally in the move to achieve this transformation from traditional LSP to strategic partner for global business. COVID-19 made it very clear that companies with a solid technical infrastructure were able not only to survive the pandemic but to grow their business. Why? Because they were able to respond quickly to client challenges: scalability, productivity, limited budgets, need to deliver the same services remotely (in the case of interpreting and dubbing), and so on. Examples of companies that succeeded during 2020 thanks to a solid technical infrastructure are the interpreting giant LanguageLine Solutions, with their remote interpreting solution, and ZOO Digital, with their adaptable cloud solutions and workflows tailored to OTT platforms. Our thesis is that LSPs only offering language services as well as language technology providers (LTPs) only offering language technology have limited value for more mature clients. Offering a combination is the way forward. In 2020, we witnessed significant mergers and acquisitions that support this thesis: RWS and SDL, Straker and LingoTek, Awatera and SpeakUS, and Deluxe and Sundog. In previous years, we’ve also seen how Keywords acquired KantanMT and XLOC. Or we can look at how Lilt reinvented themselves, starting as a language technology company and becoming an enhanced-technology LSP. And we will probably see more of these marriages between LSPs and LTPs, as well as more LSPs creating or increasingly investing in their own technology. AI-enhanced language portals for transactional work At the same time, we have seen how companies are investing in developing AI-enhanced language portals to simplify and automate workflows for transactional work. So instead of ignoring a big part of the market (remember, around 78%), some companies are investing in creating language portals that offer translations (or even interpreting services) as a commodity, like buying products from Amazon. The key for productivity is to create an automated system where human interaction is not required. Where do smaller LSPs stand? So, what does this all mean for small LSPs? Traditional LSPs will still work in local markets or focus on specific verticals and services covering niche needs within the market. There will always be a need for boutique language services. The existence of Deloitte and the other big three hasn’t eradicated the small accounting business working with smaller clients with different needs. But, of course, boutique LSPs will need to highlight their value proposition and show how they contribute to the supply chain. Quality and price are no longer sufficient positioning strategies. Data for AI services keeps growing Following the trend of service diversification, one of the most hyped services for the language service industry in recent years has been language data for AI. Already in the 2020 edition of the Nimdzi 100, we mentioned that large players like TransPerfect, Lionbridge, and Welocalize had identified AI support services, such as data annotation and data labeling, as growth drivers. According to our survey, 27.8% of LSPs are currently offering data and AI related services. This was also a recurrent topic during our interviews with major players, coming from both specialized and mature language data providers and regular LSPs. We have seen how companies such as Summa Linguae Technologies have shifted their focus from language service providers to multilingual data providers. We can expect to see more of these shifts in the near future. Companies who have been offering both AI services and localization, report that they increasingly see a convergence of the two, to the point where it is sometimes impossible to define whether a project is an AI or a localization project. We can expect this field of AI localization to expand in the coming years. That there is money in the AI business is no surprise, but if ever there were any doubt, Lionbridge selling its AI division to TELUS will have eliminated that. That deal closed for almost USD one billion. Despite the sale, Lionbridge is not leaving this lucrative field altogether. The company will continue its AI efforts, only now these will exclusively be focused on language services (namely, on neural machine translation). Life goes on(line): E-commerce and e-learning are booming In March 2020, the world went into lockdowns of various degrees. One year later, it sometimes feels like life has stopped. But, really, life rather pivoted to the virtual world (wherever possible). This brought a boom to digital trends, which in turn increased the demand for language services. Two areas that stood out in this regard during our research are e-commerce and e-learning. While these two fields are not directly connected by any means, what they have in common is what the “e” in the name stands for — electronic, that is they exist purely in the virtual realm and have thus seen a huge increase since the start of the pandemic. Let’s take a closer look. E-commerce: Record growth Repeated lockdowns have interrupted the retail industry and forced traditional brick-and-mortar stores into unpredictable closures. However, the same trend has boosted the e-commerce industry beyond even the most ambitious of projections. According to McKinsey, the US e-commerce market experienced 10 years’ growth in only three months in early 2020, and eMarketer estimates that the global e-commerce industry grew by 27.6% to more than four trillion US dollars in 2020. China is still the frontrunner in the e-commerce space and it is expected that, in 2021, China will become the first country in the world that will see more than half of its retail sales happening online. The boom in e-commerce comes from two sides. First, there are the established e-commerce platforms like Shopify that experienced record growth in 2020. The current gross merchandise volume (GMV) of the e-commerce giant stands at USD 120 billion, after an impressive 86% growth in GMV. On top of that, as lockdowns continued there was a notable shift in the number of brick-and-mortar stores participating in the online market, which is the second factor that boosted growth in the e-commerce field. More e-commerce means more online content, which triggers higher localization demand. As Nimdzi’s Project Underwear study into buying behavior shows, offering a product or service in a consumer’s native language influences their buying decision. It is also worth noting that while e-commerce is commonly referred to as a vertical, it really is a way of selling and in that regard offers endless opportunities for all business segments. E-learning: Time to upskill E-learning was already on the rise prior to the pandemic but has since seen a notable uptick. This is for a number of reasons: As a result of the developments listed above, there has been an explosion of e-learning platforms. For the language industry this means more content, which in turn means more opportunity for growth. The area of subtitling for corporate videos has seen significant increase. The main challenges to address with e-learning localization are low budgets, scalability, and complex, non-standardized workflows and content types. Automatic captions, machine translation, and synthetic voices are some services that might help overcome the challenges alongside the expertise of media service providers. The language services industry offers many types of services and operates in even more verticals. In this section, we provide a more in-depth overview and analysis of a number of sectors within the industry that stood out in 2020 and that will continue to be the most relevant going into 2021. Interpreting: Turning a crisis into an opportunity The interpreting market has arguably been the sector within the industry that was most heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — both positively and negatively. While various types of remote interpreting have long started to make their way into the interpreting market, they were largely seen as a nice idea or a solution in search of a problem. However, once lockdowns hit and in-person events and gatherings were forbidden or restricted, remote interpreting stepped out of the shadows to become the salvation of the interpreting industry. Those who were prepared were able to pivot their business to remote operations without major difficulties, and virtual interpreting technology (VIT) providers saw their business skyrocket. Remote simultaneous interpreting is booming Remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) in particular has seen a significant increase since the onset of the pandemic. This is because conference interpreting was the segment within the interpreting industry that, before March 2020, was predominantly performed onsite. Once the pandemic hit and the initial shock was over, almost the entire demand for conference interpreting pivoted from onsite to virtual, creating a huge spike in business for established RSI providers. This boom did not go unnoticed and soon attracted investors. RSI veteran, KUDO, for example, secured USD 6 million in funding in July 2020. Within the remote interpreting space, the biggest opportunity or potential competition comes from outside the language industry. Zoom, by far the most popular video conferencing platform, has added interpreting as a feature. Clients from outside the language industry are more familiar with Zoom and often prefer to stick with what they know. The VIT space has recognized this and most VIT providers can integrate with Zoom. Telemedicine as an area for growth It should come as no surprise that the telemedicine sector presented another area for growth for remote interpreting providers in 2020. Even before the pandemic, this field had started to take off. One example that illustrates the attractiveness of this segment is the acquisition of Stratus Video by healthcare staffing company AMN Healthcare for USD 475 million in February 2020. In the same month, telehealth platform Cloudbreak Health, which comes with its own proprietary remote interpreting platform, Martti, received USD 10 million in funding. Since the onset of the pandemic, healthcare providers in all countries affected by the crisis, have been urging patients to call before making an in-person visit to doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals. With this increase in over-the-phone consultations comes an increase in over-the-phone interpreting, as people from all language backgrounds need to be supported. Not only phone consultations led to a spike but as the pandemic progressed and lockdowns became more and more stringent, hospitals tried to avoid anyone entering their facilities who did not absolutely need to be there — including interpreters. For the safety of both interpreters and patients, many onsite appointments were replaced with virtual ones. Boostlingo, for example, reported a spike in requests from telehealth vendors, looking for ways to integrate interpreting into their own platforms. Remote interpreting giant LanguageLine Solutions has long been active in the healthcare sector and saw record growth in 2020, with revenues jumping from USD 530 million in 2019 to USD 618 million in 2020. Remote interpreting in the telehealth sector was already growing before March 2020 but the pandemic accelerated this trend significantly and we can expect it to last beyond COVID-19. Adaptation and co-existence What does this mean for the future of the interpreting industry? Is remote here to stay? Based on our research, the future will be a mix of adaptation and co-existence. Remote will not replace onsite interpreting, but we can expect that the current exposure to remote interpreting will have a lasting impact. Especially in the corporate sector, it is likely that remote interpreting will continue to see increased demand now that more businesses have tried it and are considering offering work-from-home options to their employees beyond the pandemic. This is just one example of how remote interpreting can expand the overall interpreting market. However, there will always be areas where onsite interpreting will be the preferred mode. For example, when privacy issues need to be considered in the healthcare sector, or with matters of confidentiality in the legal field. To put it simply — remote interpreting will not replace onsite interpreting, it will replace not having any interpreting at all. Multimedia localization — growing, but not so much Last year, we highlighted media localization as a booming segment of the industry. That’s not even a trend anymore, it’s a reality. Multimedia content is here to stay, and not only is it staying, it is also growing. According to our data, media localization companies grew by an average of 17.4% in 2020 compared to 2019, even though the pandemic slowed down content production due to lockdown measures. We would be lying or being overly simplistic if we said that this growth was due to more content being generated and more content needing translation. It was not. Or not entirely. The growth is mainly due to M&A activities and the diversification of services in the media localization space. Media localization companies are shifting from language service providers to media service providers (MSPs). Buyers in this space now require services beyond subtitling and dubbing. They look for partners that are able to meet as many requirements as possible in a single package, so that their workflows and project management efforts are simplified. Traditional studios or LSPs that want to succeed in this landscape struggle to meet all the requirements from digital media companies, especially those from over-the-top (OTT) platforms. It is expected that production will speed up again during 2021, meaning that the content to be localized will grow exponentially. This is good news for companies providing services in this space, but at the same time it can present a challenge for LSPs who will need to scale up quickly to meet the demand. This has already had an impact on M&A activities, as localization buyers are pushing for consolidation. The biggest deal — Iyuno acquiring SDI Media — is very recent and has not even closed yet, at the time of writing in March 2021. As Keywords Studios became dominant in the gaming industry, we can expect Iyuno to become the consolidator in the media space. 2020 was also the year of remote recording. Lockdowns made it impossible to record from physical studios, and media localization companies had to figure out how to ensure business continuity. In 2020, innovation for remote solutions was accelerated. We saw how Deluxe launched its remote recording platform OneDub, and Iyuno released its disaster recovery solution iDub. Moreover, the remote recording solutions that were already available, such as ZOODubs, were consolidated even more during this period. This change in operations naturally came with a learning curve and a period of adaptation for all stakeholders, but eventually ensured business continuity. As we highlighted last year, there’s still a shortage of talent for the media industry. For dubbing, there is still a need for trained script adaptation professionals and artistic directors, as the demand for content will continue to increase. For subtitling, the demand is increasing for several languages. In India, some less mainstream languages, such as Punjabi, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, and Gujarati started to pick up. Finding language professionals who are able to perfectly write in those languages and also have translation and subtitling skills has been a challenge. This scenario is repeated in other regions where media localization is booming as OTT platforms continue to expand their business internationally. MSPs play a key role in acting as vendor managers for the media industry. Game localization is of course not falling behind and continues to grow. Segment giant Keywords reported an increase of 16.3% in revenue in 2020 compared to the previous year, even though this revenue includes much more than just language services. As the gaming industry keeps growing as a whole (USD 152.1 billion in 2019, USD 159.3 billion in 2020, according to Newzoo), the type of games are also evolving, and Games as Services are now a big part of the industry. This means that games are constantly being updated and more content created to provide a continuous source of entertainment to players. In this area, the industry still needs to find efficient ways to manage the updates and content through continuous localization workflows and centralized content management systems that can also meet the needs of localization. There are new tools trying to fill this gap, including Gridly and Lokalise, but they still need to be adopted both by game developers and localization companies. It remains to be seen whether they can meet all the requirements. Technology trends In 2020, we witnessed more software projects (e)merging here and there in all the areas within multilingual communication. From new additions to the family of remote simultaneous interpreting to the spread of remote dubbing to new achievements in natural language processing (NLP) and machine translation (MT). All about that data The NLP and language data space is getting bigger and even more hungry for quality data. To prepare data, curate MT training, evaluate MT engines, and fine-tune the MT processes, human specialists are needed. For them, this work on MT customization may now be quicker — with products like Spotlight by Intento. This is one of the tools from Intento’s MT Studio, the toolkit for complex MT curation with options for data cleaning, training, and evaluating of multiple MT models. Following the language data trends, Systran announced their Systran data, a multilingual catalog of industry-specific translation models. These models are designed by a community of experts called 'trainers' and are offered in self-service to professional users. In the event that a contributor (e.g. LSP) already has language data collected over time, they are now able to successfully monetize it. TAUS Data Marketplace, released in November 2020, is a platform for both data sellers (translators, data producers, LSPs) and data buyers (MT providers, enterprises, etc.) to exchange datasets. Future marketplace projects trying to follow the same model and replicate a way for the global language and AI industries to trade, clean, cluster, and curate data, will need to pay very close attention to validation of the ownership and quality of the language data being exchanged. While some LSPs are still hesitant about MT adoption and MTPE compensation methods, other companies (e.g. TranslateMe) offer to combine MT with human validation and use the way people engage with the translation technology as the method of generating and getting paid tokens. TMS: More partnerships The translation management systems (TMS) arena has been bombarded with investments and M&A deals. In January 2021 alone: Across was acquired by Volaris, a Canadian investment group Memsource and majority shareholder The Carlyle Group acquired Phrase Lingotek was acquired by Straker Group Despite this TMS unification trend, users are still confronted with an abundance of tools to choose from: The Nimdzi Language Technology Atlas features more than 140 TMS solutions. With so many language technology options, this space is becoming more attractive to investors. For instance, in February 2021, XTM International secured a growth equity investment from K1 Investment Management, a firm focused on enterprise SAAS companies. Where the largest LSPs are Out of 153 medium-to-large-sized companies identified in 2020, 39.9% are headquartered in Europe and 37.3% in North America. Companies from Asia represent 19.6% of the geographical distribution. Australia or New Zealand host 3.3% of the top players. Africa and South America have not yet produced an LSP that could be included in the Nimdzi 100. For the first time this year, a company from the Middle East (BLEND) has made it into the Nimdzi 100. Compared to 2019, there is a slight decrease in companies headquartered in Europe (44.0% in 2019) and North America (38.7% in 2019). This difference is made up by LSPs based in Asia (14.0% in 2019). Where the clients are We asked survey respondents to indicate the percentage of their revenue derived from customers based in different parts of the world. The results show that in 2020, Europe was the region with the largest client base in the industry, followed by North America and Asia. This is similar to the market distribution we saw in 2019, although the weight shifted slightly. In 2020, 48.9% of revenues came from clients based in Europe, down from 54.3% in 2019. This slight decline in the European client base seems to have shifted to North America and Asia. In 2020, North America accounted for 33.9% of the client base, up from 29.9% in 2019, and 14.7% of revenues in 2020 were derived from customers in Asia as compared to 10.6% in 2019. It is possible that travel restrictions due to COVID-19 shifted the focus of LSPs towards clients in their national markets rather than looking over the fence to other countries, which is a trend that stood out from interviews with industry players. Given that the US is the largest market for language services by revenue, this might be one explanation for the slight shift we observed. Another might be increased regulations in Europe, as well as Asia being the global engine of economic growth. Same as in 2019, South America (1.3%), Australia (1.0%), and Africa (0.2%), are the smallest regions in terms of client base in 2020. India: A booming digital economy, new language regulations, and the battle for talent In the 2020 edition of the Nimdzi 100 we already mentioned India as one of the most promising geographical areas for growth. India’s digital economy in particular is booming. Areas such as OTT services and digital multimedia content production and consumption, video game usage, use of social media via handheld devices, e-learning platforms and courses, and e-commerce all grew throughout 2020, and the potential for language services is far from saturated, as illustrated by the following figures: 45% of the Indian population uses the internet and there is a potential 55% that can be brought on-board. In absolute numbers this is 762,679,782 potential users of which almost 90% do not speak English. 76.7% of internet users make online purchases. 77.2% of internet users watch TV content via streaming services. 92.8% of internet users play video games on any device. There has been an annual growth of 21.2% (78,000,000 users) in the usage of social media. India has the largest advertising audience for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger, the second largest advertising audience for LinkedIn and Snapchat and the third largest for Twitter. In addition, the country’s Union Budget for 2021, announced the launch of the National Language Translation Mission (NLTM), whereby the entire governance-and-policy related knowledge on the internet will be made available in major Indian languages. Such an official mission in favor of local Indian languages on a national level is the first of its kind. What do these figures mean for the localization and language industry in India? Missions like NLTM will provide a big boost to regional language initiatives. It will also encourage agencies to translate scientific and technology content, currently available mostly in English, into Indian languages. This will democratize the Indian internet, make it more inclusive and afford accessibility in most Indian languages. The initiative will have a positive effect on the Indian language and language technology ecosystem, especially for the language technology companies who built capabilities in Indian writing systems and digitized the fonts. For some of the global giants, this was a foreseen step. Tech majors like Microsoft, social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube, OTT platforms like Netflix and Prime, and e-commerce sites like Flipkart and Amazon have all localized into various Indian languages already. Even Alexa provides support in five Indian languages. This opens up localization opportunities for a plethora of content platforms and content types. Typing in Indian language scripts is still not as easy as typing in English, hence the technology and services around speech-to-text based localization or localized voice services have become the preferred choice. Banks have seen an opportunity here and have deployed multilingual voice bots, like AXAA by Axis bank, to handle customer queries and requests. AXAA supports over 10 Indian languages and over 160 dialects. With limited use cases and low adoption of digitized Indian scripts and fonts, there have been suggestions to separate language from script, increase adoption of transliteration of Indian languages as well as promote the use of localized voice over written language. It is with this workaround that 2020 also saw an increase in investments in companies offering voice-based services in local languages, such as, as well as the acquisition of a language technology company like Webdunia by RWS. As global companies enter Indian markets and need localization services, industry players are incentivized to participate in the Indian localization ecosystem. The main challenge LSPs face in India is talent acquisition and low prices. As LSPs flock towards India, we expect a battle for the best talent in the local market. Africa: Many languages but few language services While India is the market that everyone is talking about, Africa is the market that nobody is talking about. There is a notable lack of African LSPs in our rankings and even when we look at the client base of the top players in the industry, only 0.2% of revenue comes from clients in Africa. It is estimated that there are between 1500 and 2000 languages spoken on the African continent. Yet, there are few language services to be found there. This is largely due to a few top challenges: A lack of investment: Translation companies in African countries often don’t have the financial muscle of those based in Europe, North America, or Asia. This hampers their ability to scale up their service offerings and make the desired impact. A lack of talent: There is a notable lack of qualified, professional linguists. This is because the majority of language professionals are teaching and do not consider translation a viable career. Adding to this is the fact that training courses can be expensive and studying a language can be seen as extravagant, as career opportunities afterward are uncertain. A lack of structure and professionalization: Professional associations play a huge role in the advancement of the professionalization of any service industry. Translator and interpreter associations in the African market appear to be less active and organized. That being said, in 2019, a number of translators got together to organize the first Africa International Translation Conference, held in Nairobi, Kenya, which paved the way to igniting the interest of indigenous language translators and to change the face of the translation industry in Africa. The second edition of the Africa International Translation Conference was held in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2020 to sustain the feat of a growing language industry in Africa. Despite all the challenges listed above, language services do, of course, exist in Africa. Right now, the majority of LSPs on the African market operate in the USD 1 million bracket and mostly focus on the colonial languages, i.e. English and French, as well as German, Spanish, and Russian. However, localization needs for local languages do exist, especially for Swahili, Afrikaans, Zulu, Amharic, Xhosa, Malagasy, Ewe, Twi, Hausa, and Tigrinya, as well as Arabic in North Africa. And there is room for growth. Africa is home to nearly one billion people, and the digital economy on the continent is booming. Data from a Nimdzi survey for consumers in Africa revealed that more than half of respondents in North Africa, and close to 40% of respondents in Sub-Saharan Africa, reported that the lack of culturally and linguistically relevant content was one of the most significant reasons why mobile users chose not to access the Internet. In addition, China has been Africa’s largest trading partner and a formidable investor in African infrastructure for about 20 years now. This investment has come with an increased presence of Chinese businesses on the African market, which in turn is creating an ever increasing need for language services in Mandarin on the African continent. When we finished writing the 2020 edition of the Nimdzi 100 in late February 2020, COVID-19 had not yet been declared a pandemic, but we already noted the fact that if it became a pandemic, the language industry would be impacted in the same way as the industries it serves — both negatively and positively. In this year’s edition of the Nimdzi 100, we are dedicating an entire section to the effect of COVID-19 on the language services industry. While we might all be sick of talking about it at this stage, the pandemic is still here and it is still having an impact on the market. In fact, almost everything in our analysis has been impacted by the pandemic. Still, there are a few overall takeaways worth highlighting. A few stats about the impact of the pandemic In this year’s survey, close to 75% of respondents reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on their business. Asked to specify, our data show that a shift to remote work (76.5%) was the most common effect of the pandemic. This is followed by a decrease or loss of existing business (60.8%) and suspension or termination of work from clients (33.3%). On a more positive note, respondents also saw an increase of existing business (28.4%) and a decrease in expenses (27.5%). When it comes to layoffs due to reduced volumes (18.6%) versus onboarding new staff to handle increased volumes (16.7%) the reported figures only vary slightly. Impact of the pandemic on the language industry Impact on verticals and services The pandemic is affecting segments within the industry in different ways. In the healthcare and life sciences sector for example, we saw a huge increase for anything related to COVID-19, but a significant decrease for anything non-essential, such as elective surgeries, physical therapy, and routine consultations. In the legal sector, it was mostly business as usual, although sub-segments were affected in different ways, e.g. courts were closed and law firms were switching to video remote interpreting. Immigration has effectively come to a halt, due to the imposed travel bans. In the government sector, demand is down by about 50%, as governments are only focusing on essential services and COVID-19 related communication. It, of course, comes as no surprise that onsite interpreting has been hit hard and has almost completely gone away. LSPs whose revenues are driven by onsite interpreting reported a significant drop in business of around 70% or higher, and one medium-sized provider from the United States reported it had to lay off 40% of its staff. Conference interpreting has been obliterated. In turn, we’re seeing an increase for remote solutions, especially remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI), which is in high demand right now. COVID-19: The big accelerator In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as an accelerator. It has intensified trends and widened the gap between those who already had remote solutions and digital offerings in place and those who did not. This is true across the globe and not just in the area of language services. As mentioned before, the US e-commerce market, for example, had 10 years worth of growth in only three months as a result of brick-and-mortar retail stores shutting down due to imposed lockdowns. In the language industry, companies who already had remote solutions in place thrived, whereas those who ran entirely onsite-focused operations saw an accelerated downturn. Especially for the latter group, but also for the majority of players interviewed, the pandemic also became a catalyst for internal projects that had been put on the back burner. Many LSPs had, for example, planned to improve their digital presence or offer various remote solutions to their clients and internal staff for a long time but never acted on these plans. They were seen as a nice-to-have, rather than something essential. However, once the pandemic hit, these projects suddenly needed to be prioritized in order to keep businesses afloat. Technology as the big differentiator A general trend that stood out is that those who had the right technology in place won the race. They shot ahead of everyone else and increased their growth by being able to cash in on remote trends, like remote interpreting in the telehealth field or remote dubbing in media localization. Those who weren’t set up properly were hastily playing catch up, for example by launching new RSI platforms, finally increasing their digital presence, or increasing automation. Increased profitability Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity. 65% of the top 100 LSPs in our ranking recorded various degrees of growth, and our data show that the industry as a whole grew as well. That being said, growth has slowed down across the industry, and for some LSPs, revenues also decreased or remained flat. But there is more to it than meets the eye. While revenues might have decreased, profitability went up. 45.5% of survey respondents reported that their profitability increased in 2020, which is also echoed by the top players interviewed for the Nimdzi 100. 35.6% of companies surveyed reported that their profitability stayed level with the previous year and only 18.9% noted a decrease in profitability. This increase in profitability comes as no surprise when the side effects of the lockdowns are considered, i.e. no or very little travel, reduced need for office space, and no in-person events. All of these byproducts of the pandemic translated into a decrease in expenses which in turn increased profitability. Work from home is here to stay While the language industry had already been remote-friendly prior to March 2020, the pandemic took it to a new level. More or less overnight (or over the weekend), players of all sizes had to move their entire operations and staff online. The vast majority of companies interviewed pulled this off without major difficulty. The new work-from-home situation changed the way we work, and we can expect it to have a lasting impact on the industry. Most companies interviewed reported that they are considering offering work-from-home options to their employees beyond the pandemic in a hybrid model. Survival strategies and growth opportunities Now that we know how businesses were impacted by the pandemic, it is time to take a closer look at the strategies LSPs employed to handle this new challenge. Customer focus During the early stages of the pandemic, helping customers move their business online became the number one task for companies of all sizes. Any client that didn’t already have a digital presence needed one now — and fast. On the translation side of the industry, this led to an increasing demand for website localization. On the interpreting side, corporate businesses and government entities alike were reaching out, looking for remote interpreting solutions. Customer service is always important in any service industry, but especially in uncertain, challenging times. LSPs can use such a situation to stand out by providing extra strong customer service. Many LSPs in the industry realized this and responded, for example, with 24/7 availability, quicker turnaround times, and putting in extra hours to educate and train their customers on remote solutions. And as client industries adapted to a new way of working, so did the language industry. Investment in marketing and sales More than ever, LSPs ramped up their sales and (even more so) their marketing efforts after March 2020. As mentioned before, the pandemic changed the nature of sales channels. Due to lockdowns, and travel and meeting restrictions, traditional sales channels like conferences and face-to-face meetings were not available. LSPs had to come up with new ideas, and invest into new sales methods. Many ran more ads, campaigns, and reach out initiatives. A number of companies interviewed for the Nimdzi 100 reported that they expanded their sales teams as part of their strategy to avoid losses. In the same vein, as marketing — especially digital marketing — became crucial, many companies expanded their marketing teams significantly after March 2020. Reshuffling and reinvesting The pandemic forced many to take a closer look at their internal structures. For some LSPs interviewed for the Nimdzi 100 it became all about managing cash flow, whereas others focused heavily on investing in technology and increasing their digital presence. As highlighted above, the pandemic affected different segments of the industry in different ways. Many LSPs reacted to this challenge by reshuffling internal resources. For example by reassigning linguists and project managers from their travel and hospitality division — which was down — to their life sciences division — which was booming. In addition, companies were assessing their client portfolios. Once the pandemic hit, it became very apparent that LSPs with a diverse client base performed much better than those who derive most of their revenue from one or two large clients in a certain vertical. As it stands, in March 2021 we are still in a worldwide pandemic and lockdown measures of varying degrees continue in countries across the globe. Nobody can say for sure how long this situation is going to last. What we do know is that, once restrictions are lifted, we can expect an explosion of content. Once production can resume in the media space, the market will be flooded with new movies and TV shows, which will translate into a massive spike for media localization down the line. The travel and hospitality business plummeted during the pandemic but it is reasonable to assume that once people are allowed to travel again, this segment of the industry will experience a huge boost. In addition, once 5G becomes widely implemented, it will make content available exponentially faster and at scale. This means that more content will be created, which in turn will trigger more localization demand in various segments of the industry. While not all trends and workarounds from the pandemic will remain in place, we can expect some trends and innovations to have a lasting impact on the industry. Remote dubbing and remote interpreting, for example, experienced a significant boost in the last year as they came to the rescue of two otherwise heavily impacted segments of the market. They say to never waste a good crisis. Our analysis shows that the language industry certainly did no such thing. This is why we put our growth estimates back on track and predict that the industry will reach USD 73.6 billion by 2025.
Sarah Hickey和Belén AgulóGarcía报道。 目录 你来这里的信息可能是Nimdzi 100排名,如下表所示。该排名以收入为基础,列出了全球前100家最大的语言服务提供商(LSP)。 现在,我们直接跳进去,好吗? 我们的排名是一个活的文件,因此受到改变。 *Pactera EDGE于2019年从Pactera Technology分拆出来,从此成为自己独立的公司。我们将这两家公司都列入今年的排名,因为这两家公司都提供语言服务。这两家公司的主要区别在于它们的地理足迹。Pactera EDGE的总部设在美国,其大部分客户位于美国和欧洲。Pactera科技的总部仍设在中国。 注意事项: (fy)会计年度,最近一个会计年度的数字(与财务报告核实) (v)经核实,公司提供的数据 (e)根据广泛的行业研究估计收入 (c)根据公共财务记录计算 由于货币四舍五入,一些公司的收入似乎相同。不过,考虑到第二位小数,排名是准确的。 接近,但没有雪茄 以下几家公司在以前的版本中本可以进入排名,但由于其他玩家的增长以及Nimdzi 100上的新成员,今年它们没有进入榜单。然而,他们值得一个荣誉的提及。 观察列表 没有明确收入估计数的语言服务提供商 观察名单由那些应该在排名中,但由于没有披露,公布或以其他方式披露收入而未被列入名单的公司组成。此外,有些组织是较大公司集团内的单位,其中一小部分收入来自语文服务,年度报告不允许研究人员将笔译和口译收入分成部分。我们为观察名单上的这类公司提供可见性,以突出它们对行业的影响。 对我们来说,跟踪这些公司很重要的原因是,尽管它们可能不是在争夺客户,但它们在争夺人才和资源。它们也为技术提供商和投资者提供了机会。 这些公司按字母顺序排列。 变更日志 自去年以来,排名发生了很大变化。这里有一个简短的概述,以帮助你更好地导航排名。 Nimdzi 100飞机上的新乘客 Pixelogic Media----1.5亿美元(e)。Pixelogic Media是一家总部位于美国的公司,专门从事媒体本地化和其他媒体服务。我们根据商业新闻出版物估计了它们的规模。 Pactera Technology-1.406亿美元。今年,位于中国的行业老牌企业Pactera Technology重返Nimdzi 100强排行榜,此前Pactera EDGE于2019年从该公司剥离。Pactera Technology专门从事技术和IT领域的翻译。 Verztec----4350万美元。Verztec是一家总部设在新加坡的咨询和翻译公司。Verztec提供多种语言服务,包括口译,以及为生命科学和法律部门(除其他外)提供翻译。该公司在以前的版本中就在我们的观察名单上,今年正式向我们披露了他们的数据。 大型语言解决方案-4100万美元。BIG Language Solutions是一个相对较新的业务,成立于2019年,但已经活跃在并购领域。这家总部位于美国的公司收购了ProTranslating和ISI Language Solutions,这两家公司在前几年都上了Nimdzi 100的榜单。Big的公司集团在受监管和不受监管的行业都提供语言服务。 T'Works-1,740万美元。T'Works是一家位于德国的翻译和网站本地化公司。该公司在许多垂直领域开展业务,但尤其专注于技术,医疗保健和法律领域。 TOIN Corporation-1,500万美元。TOIN Corporation是一家总部设在日本的翻译和本地化公司。该公司在许多行业都有客户,尤其是在科技和消费品领域。该公司前几年都在我们的观察名单上,今年正式向我们披露了他们的数字。 混合-1,400万美元。BLEND是一个翻译平台,总部设在以色列。该公司在前几年还在我们的观察名单上,当时他们还以一小时翻译的名义运营。今年,他们向我们披露了他们的数字。 Fidel Technologies-1,000万美元。菲德尔科技公司是一家总部位于日本的LSP公司。该公司主要致力于技术和IT领域的翻译。Fidel Technologies在以前的版本中本可以进入前100名,但由于其他玩家的增长以及Nimdzi 100中的新成员,他们今年没有进入。我们今年把它们加入了我们的“接近,但没有雪茄”的名单中。 重新命名 TVcN是荷兰最大的口译提供商,在2020年已经进入我们的排名。该公司现已改名为Global Talk。 Language Connect总部位于英国,多年来一直在我们的排行榜上。2021年,公司改名为THG流利。 《一小时翻译》在之前的版本中被列入了我们的市场影响者观察名单。今年,该公司被重新命名为Blend,出现在排行榜上。 获得并从排名中除名 Amplexor是行业老手,在2020年版Nimdzi 100中排名第12位,经核实的营收为1.801亿美元。该公司于2020年加入Acolad集团,因此不再单独列入我们的排名。 ProTranslating在2020年排名中排名第57,确认收入为2500万美元。今年,该公司因被BIG Language Solutions收购而从我们的排名中消失。 ISI Language Solutions在2020年排名中排名第89位,确认收入为1460万美元。今年,由于被BIG Language Solutions收购,该公司已经从我们的排名中消失。 Stratus Video在2020年版的Nimdzi 100中排名第16位,经核实的收入为1.109亿美元。2020年,该公司被AMN Healthcare收购,AMN Healthcare是一家来自语言行业之外的医疗人员配置公司。作为AMN语言服务,我们今年将Stratus Video移到了我们的关注名单,以突出其对行业的持续影响。 我们如何创建Nimdzi 100排名 在这一市场分析过程中,Nimdzi发现了一些以前在市场报告中看不到的知名LSP,因为它们不参与调查,也不愿披露其收入。Nimdzi采用了一种调查方法,投入了数百个小时进行紧张的研究,数据收集和分析,以便提供以前无法获得的数据。 我们非常自豪地提供广泛的访问我们的数据。这个排名提供给所有感兴趣的人。没有付费墙。没有附加条件。本地化买家,投资者,精明的求职者和分析师欢迎使用本文档,只是不要忘记参考Nimdzi Insights,LLC作为来源。感兴趣的人可以直接联系我们,如果他们有任何问题。 下面是Nimdzi 100排名所使用的方法总结。 正如马克·吐温所说的那样,有关该行业消亡的传言被严重夸大了。因为虽然2020年可能是世界想要忘记的一年,但它可能只是语言行业想要记住的一年。 我们早就说过,我们的行业是不受危机影响的。这是因为我们不是从头创造任何东西,我们是转型。在2020年版的Nimdzi 100中,我们已经提醒读者,如果COVID-19成为一种大流行,翻译行业将受到与它所服务的行业相同比例的影响--既有负面影响,也有正面影响。(译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注:译者注)。我们的数据表明,在许多方面,COVID-19大流行起到了加速器的作用。已经有远程解决方案的企业增长了,而那些完全以现场为中心的企业则加速下滑。与主要提供现场口译服务的本地服务提供者一样,在旅游和接待部门拥有大客户的本地服务提供者受到了沉重打击,而拥有多样化客户基础的企业则能够更好地应对需求波动。远程口译提供商蓬勃发展,尤其是在医疗保健部门。 早期的预测和全年的行业调查描绘了一幅黯淡的图景,需要承认的是,由于大流行造成的破坏,一些LSP出现了重大亏损,而另一些LSP仅仅停留在2019年的收入水平。受到负面影响的地方服务提供者大多是中小型企业和(或)侧重于遭受重创的利基行业,如零售业或现场口译。 然而,语言行业作为一个整体再次被证明是有韧性的。大多数接受采访的Nimdzi100选手都表示今年的成绩很好,有些选手甚至在2020年取得了创纪录的增长。这些报告得到了通过我们的调查收集的数据和上市公司的财务记录的支持,这些数据表明,即使在2020年,语言服务行业作为一个整体再次增长。如果我们考虑到,在2020年及以后,语言服务在拯救生命,促进全球知识和交流方面发挥了关键作用,这些调查结果就不足为奇了。 虽然我们在数据中看到的一些可能只是一次性的好处,比如由于降低了旅行和办公空间的成本而增加了盈利能力,但我们可以预计,这场大流行将对我们所有人,包括我们的客户,做生意的方式产生持久的影响。 在本报告中,我们引用了用于分析的不同数据点。在某些情况下,我们直接报告与前100个最大LSP有关的数据。在其他情况下,我们的计算是基于通过我们的调查收集的数据,我们的调查收到了173份来自各种规模的LSP的有效答复(包括我们排名前100名中的三分之二)。我们还参考了通过采访收集到的数据,采访了30多家语言行业最大的参与者。我们在适当的地方突出显示我们数据的来源。 我们的数据显示,100家最大的低保企业的年增长率显著放缓,2019年至2020年间增长了6.8%,而上一个时期的增长率为11.5%。然而,与2019年排名前十的公司合并收入相比,2020年排名前十的公司合并收入增长了9.0%。与去年的排名相比,前50名的排名增长了6.4%,其余第51至100名的排名增长了10.0%。 2019年至2020年按排名细分的增长情况 尽管高层正在进行整合,但整个行业仍在持续增长,每年生产更大的LSP。这一趋势即使在我们排名中的最低位置也是如此,排名第100位的LSP今年确认收入为1,200万美元,而排名第100位的LSP在2019年和2018年分别为1,160万美元和1,030万美元。 为了了解LSP领域的增长和整合情况,我们决定看看2000年该行业最大公司的数据。2000年世界上最大的LSP是当时公开交易的Berlitz GLOBALNET(现为Lionbridge的一部分),收入为1.039亿美元。如果我们看一下RWS和SDL的备考合并收入,最大的LSP在2020年达到了9.367亿美元。如果只看排名最靠前的公司,这一变化将相当于11.6%的复合年增长率(CAGR)或20年901.5%的名义增长率。 2000年和2020年排名第一的公司 五年增长预测 在计算其服务的可寻址市场时,商业提供者应将机会限制在总数字的60%。首先,并不是所有的事情都外包,因为很大一部分的总量是由买方的内部团队完成的。例如,欧洲联盟雇用了大约5000名工作人员笔译员和口译员。其次,市场规模计算既包括翻译公司的收入,也包括其供应商的收入,即一部分收入被计算两次。 百强企业集中了15%的行业收入 虽然整合仍在继续,但语言服务行业仍然支离破碎。在我们的排名中,前100家公司在2020年仅占整个语言产业的15.0%--比2019年仅上升了0.5%。加上观察列表和我们的“接近,但没有雪茄”荣誉排名,Nimdzi追踪的全部153个大型LSP在2020年仅占语言行业的21.4%。 从绝对数字来看,Nimdzi跟踪的公司在最近一个财政年度的收入超过117亿美元。排名前10位的公司占总数的三分之一以上。 前十名中43亿美元 下一个90年39亿美元 约35亿美元被列入观察名单(包括“接近,但没有雪茄”的荣誉排名) 尽管高层正在进行整合,但该行业仍主要由规模小于1000万美元的公司组成。 近距离观察前100名 在今年的排名中,全球最大的前100家LSP中,有65家报告了不同程度的增长。33家公司出现负增长,我们排名中有两家公司收入持平。 2020年百强平均增长率为7.9%。前20名的平均增长率为8.5%--仅比前100名的平均增长率高0.6%。紧随其后的是收入在5,000万美元至9610万美元之间的LSP,增长率为10.7%。排名前100位的其余LSP的收入在1,200万至5,000万美元之间,在2020年的增长率为7.1%。 2019年和2020年前100家企业按收入等级分列的平均增长率 2019年和2020年前100家企业按收入等级分列的平均增长率 如果我们把去年的数字作为一个比较,我们可以看到在前100名中增长的低迷。尽管百强企业的平均增长率仅下降了5.0%,但中等收入企业受到的冲击要大得多。尽管中等收入部门仍是排名中增长最快的部门,但该部门的平均增长速度比2019年下降了一半以上。前20名的增长速度仍然慢于中等收入部门,但与前一年相比,它们的增长仅下降了1.6%。 这表明,顶级参与者更有能力应对这一大流行病带来的挑战,这一趋势在为本分析进行的访谈和我们更广泛的行业研究中也很突出。行业中较大的参与者通常在多个垂直领域运作,提供多种语言服务,并且不依赖于少数关键客户。这使它们在危机时期更有弹性,因为当其业务的某一部分受到负面影响时,它们更有能力进行补偿。越小的公司,就越倾向于专攻行业内的某些利基领域。这有时可能是一种资产,但也意味着缺乏安全网,当所说的利基是那些受打击最严重的。话虽如此,顶尖球员有机成长变得越来越困难,这也是他们成长普遍较慢的原因。 按公司规模分列的增长 在计算公司规模的平均增长时,同样是那些处于中间位置的公司的增长最快。2020年,拥有100至249名员工的LSP增长最快,平均增长率为13.1%。2019年,同样是中间细分市场增长最快,尽管拥有50至99名员工的公司占据了领先地位。 2020年,拥有50至99名员工的LSP紧随其后,平均增长8.9%。员工人数在500至999人之间的公司的正增长速度最慢,而在我们的排名中,一些最小的LSP(员工人数在25至49人之间)甚至出现了负增长。可以合理地假定,最小参与者的这种负增长至少部分是这一大流行病的结果。虽然一些规模较大的公司也陷入困境,但规模较小的公司往往受到市场波动的更大影响。 业内最具生产力的公司 看看前100家LSP的生产率,2020年每位员工的平均收入约为102,000美元。在2019年,平均是12万8千美元,所以这是生产力下降了大约20%。2020年,前20名的平均生产率为14.2万美元。 考虑到公司规模,2020年最具生产力的前十家公司中,有七家雇用的专业人员在25至99人之间。在这份排名中,有两家公司拥有100到249名全职员工,只有一家公司的员工人数超过1000人。 排名中增长最快的10个LSP 以下是2020年增长最快的十大LSP。值得注意的是,行业增长最大的原因是今年并购活动而非有机增长。下面列出的增长最快的前三家LSP都在2020年完成了重大收购。 妇女经营的地方服务项目 今年,在我们的排名中,20%的最大LSP都有女性CEO。其中一半位于北美,7家位于欧洲,2家位于澳大利亚,1家位于亚洲(或者说是2家,因为一家公司的总部设在美国和中国)。排名前五位的妇女经营的LSP都位于北美。 与其他行业和《财富》500强(2.6%的女性CEO)相比,语言行业女性经营公司的百分比高于平均水平。然而,我们排名中的20家女性经营的公司仅占百强总营收的8.1%,行业前10大公司中也没有女性CEO。 虽然这些都是有趣的数据点,但这个主题需要在更深层次上进行探索,才能真正理解数据对行业意味着什么。Nimdzi将发表一份更深入的报告,内容涉及女性和多样性,以及这些数据背后的驱动因素。 市场上的顶级服务和垂直行业 在今年的调查中,我们要求企业选择他们运营的服务和垂直领域。 结果显示,LSP最常提供的服务是翻译和本地化(97.5%),机器翻译和后期编辑(71.5%),字幕翻译(68.4%)以及桌面出版和平面设计(61.4%)。文案,转写,内容创作以及转录排在第五位(各占58.2%)。现场口译和配音,画外音和音频服务占第六位(各占54.4%),另有46.2%的人在现场口译之外还选择了远程口译。 从行业细分来看,我们的调查结果显示,科技,IT与软件(72.0%),生命科学(67.7%)和金融与法律(66.5%)是行业参与度最高的三个细分领域。市场营销(63.4%)和教育&电子学习(62.7%)是第四和第五个最常见的行业细分领域,制造业排在第六位(61.5%)。消费品和媒体娱乐占第七位(各占54.7%)。 研究结果表明,受管制的行业仍在推动着语言产业的大量业务。然而,我们也看到,越来越多的不同规模的公司已经开始涉足新兴领域,如电子学习,媒体和娱乐,而且IT部门仍在强劲发展。 在查看这些数据时,重要的是要记住,这些结果代表了一个数字计数,显示了有多少玩家提供某种服务或在某种垂直领域运营。它们并不反映按收入计算的市场份额。 按地域分布分列的增长情况 为了更好地了解2020年最大的增长来自哪里,我们以国家总部为基础,编制了按地区分列的前100个LSP的增长率地图。 我们根据以美元表示的收入计算增长,使用每天交易的年汇率。这意味着,对某些区域来说,货币波动会扭曲增长情况。例如,欧元,英镑和瑞典克朗兑美元在2020年的表现要好于2019年,因此,以这些货币报告的公司看到了以等值美元计算的增长的提振。另一方面,与2019年相比,2020年使用加元和澳元报告的公司受到了货币波动的负面影响。 2020年,行业成熟度再上新台阶,顶部出现大的盘整。在去年的排名中跻身前15大LSP(基于2019年营收)的三家公司,由于合并和收购(M&A),实际上已经从2021年的排名中消失。因此,在发布的时候,我们的排名已经过时了。如果考虑到2020年12月31日后生效的并购活动,2021年3月前10大LSP的名单是这样的: 截至2021年3月前10个LSP的调整排名 尽管2019年已经出现了大量并购活动,但交易主要是大型企业收购中小型企业,以扩大它们的地理足迹,提供服务或在新的垂直领域的存在。另一方面,在2020年,我们看到了规模大得多的交易,这些交易的动机是顶级玩家争夺客户,希望确保自己在市场上的一席之地。正是整合中的整合,让以前的竞争对手联合起来,并产生了新的细分市场领导者。 语言产业的新领军者 在以8.09亿英镑(10.66亿美元)收购了长期竞争对手SDL之后,RWS成为市场上新的第一。SDL一直是业界家喻户晓的品牌之一。在被RWS收购后,SDL品牌现在将消失,所有单位将重新命名为RWS。自交易完成后,RWS股东现在拥有合并后公司约70.5%的股份,SDL股东拥有其余29.5%的股份。该交易于2020年11月3日完成,也就是RWS 2020财年结束(2020年9月30日)之后,这就是为什么我们在今年基于2020年收入的排名中仍然将两家公司分开考虑的原因。 RWS是该行业事实上的新领导者。RWS和SDL公司2020年的总收入目前为9.375亿美元,因此我们可以预计公司将在2021年突破十亿美元大关。目前,RWS在我们调整后的排名中比前领导者TransPerfect高出8510万美元。这种领导地位的转变也伴随着地理位置的转变,因为这是首次由一家总部设在英国的公司领导这个行业。 在欧洲大陆,Acolad集团是收购行业老手Amplexor后的新领军者。交易的财务细节没有披露。此前几年,Acolad已经在并购领域忙得不可开交,比如2019年收购了荷兰第二大口译提供商Livewords。由于其积极的购买和建造战略,该公司目前是行业中发展最快的公司之一。2019年至2020年间,Acolad集团增长了近70%。 2021年1月下旬,Iyuno传媒集团宣布有意收购昔日竞争对手SDI传媒。在2021年3月中旬撰写本文时,这笔交易尚未成交,但一旦成交,Iyuno将成为媒体本地化行业新的第一,合并营收将达到3.76亿美元。早在2019年,Iyuno就和之前的竞争对手BTI Studios合并了,这巩固了它在多媒体市场第二的地位。 有趣的是,在上述三起收购中,都是小公司收购了大公司。在去年的Nimdzi 100中,Acolad Group排名第13位(1.68亿美元),Amplexor排名第12位(1.801亿美元),Iyuno Media Group排名第10位(1.85亿美元),SDI Media排名第9位(2.11亿美元),RWS排名第5位(4.541亿美元),SDL是全球第四大LSP(4.8亿美元)。所以这三次收购都有大卫和歌利亚的味道。 超越并购:第一次分拆 除了并购,该行业在2020年还出现了显著的分拆。Lionbridge将其人工智能部门--Lionbridge AI出售给了来自加拿大的数字客户体验公司TELUS International。这笔交易以约9.35亿美元(12亿加元)完成。该销售于2020年12月31日生效,因此在我们基于2020年收入的排名中,来自Lionbridge AI的收入仍包含在Lionbridge的总体数字中。2021年,人工智能收入需要扣除,这使得Lionbridge目前在我们调整后的排名中排名第四,为5.46亿美元。 并购浪潮背后的驱动因素 许多因素促成了并购活动的激增。我们目前发现自己处于卖方市场,意味着想买的公司比想卖的公司多。中型企业的供应正在减少,因此私人股本公司等专业买家的估值正在上升。 2020年,这一大流行病成为另一个导火索。与前几年相比,语言产业的增长可能有所放缓,但在全球经济遭受重创的大流行期间,语言产业实现了增长,这对投资者来说是一个明确的信号,表明语言产业具有韧性,投资于语言产业是一个明智的举动。在我们的排名中,已经有26家公司得到了私人股本基金的支持,预计还会有更多的公司。 像我们在2020年目睹的那些大型交易将引发更多的大型交易。在这样一个充满活力的市场中,企业经不起停滞不前的代价,而且,由于顶尖企业很难实现有机增长,这正将并购推向一场狂潮。在我们的调查中,超过一半的受访者(52.2%)表示对并购感兴趣,表示他们要么在寻找被收购的公司(23.1%),要么在寻找被收购的公司(14.2%),要么在寻找被收购的公司(14.9%)。 未来,中型企业将被大型企业收购。当中间市场消失时,小型供应商将进入中间市场,它们随后将成为市场上顶级LSP的下一个收购目标。此外,希望退休的大型企业的现有所有者将产生“换帅”效应,这也可能增加并购浪潮。 尽管正在进行整合,但值得注意的是,该行业将始终保持碎片化。这是因为它天生进入壁垒低,不断有新的小玩家进入市场。数以千计的小公司占据了这个行业的四分之三以上。 排名没有显示出的是,许多业内顶尖的供应商彼此之间并没有直接的竞争关系。由于市场非常分散,语言服务行业内的各个部门都有许多顶尖的参与者聚集在一起。 尽管顶级公司都在努力实现多元化,并向其他领域扩张,但在游戏领域,没有一家公司能与Keywords Studios比肩,在媒体本地化领域,没有一家公司能与Iyuno Media Group比肩,在口译领域,也没有一家公司能与LanguageLine Solutions比肩。 在市场的每一个细分领域,都有为数不多的LSP已经达到了品牌知名度的水平,使他们处于买家心目中的最高位置。从买方的角度来看,每个细分行业的顶级公司更有可能被捆绑在一起,在客户心目中往往是相互关联的。让我们看看他们是谁,每个行业。 考虑到顶级玩家的排名,重要市场影响者的观察名单,以及与行业专家的大量简报,我们强调了我们在整个分析过程中发现的一些当前的关键趋势和挑战。 LSP死了。LSP万岁! 是的,翻译公司的传统概念已经死了。然而,这种大胆的说法只是部分属实。让我们澄清一下。行业内最大的公司也是如此,所以那些进入Nimdzi 100排名的公司也是如此。或者那些渴望成为大玩家的人。但对于大多数规模较小的公司(收入超过1000万美元)来说,这并不一定是真的,这些公司仍然是语言服务行业的一个重要组成部分(根据我们的市场规模评估,这一比例为78.6%)。那么我们这么说是什么意思呢? 远离事务性工作 我们在前100家公司中发现了一个趋势,这并不是什么新鲜事,但它现在比以往任何时候都更加强劲。越来越多的是,排名前100位的LSP正试图远离事务性工作,而专注于基于MSA(主服务协议)的业务。从这个意义上说,LSP在提升销售和发展强有力的客户管理或客户成功计划方面的能力在建立和培养与客户的持久关系方面发挥着关键作用。本地化购买者的需求变得更加复杂,LSP正在进行调整和调整,以满足这些需求,例如,通过在其提供的服务中增加相邻的服务。因此,它们正在成为“公司服务提供者”或更确切地说是帮助客户扩大其国际业务的商业伙伴。 要知道LSP的首字母缩写已经过时了,我们只需要看一看我们排名中最大的玩家。TransPerfect,Lionbridge,RWS或Keywords是否只为客户提供语言服务?绝对不能!语言服务只是他们收入的一部分,但他们能够根据客户的需求调整服务,这也是他们能够蓬勃发展的原因之一。因此,我们应否将他们排除在LSP排名之外?当然不是,那样我们就太狭隘了。我们需要做的是更新我们对LSP的概念,使之能够反映它们的复杂性。我们谈论的是全球业务的战略合作伙伴。 这种转变当然不是随机的,它是由我们在整个并购领域所看到的相同的整合趋势所驱动的。大公司正在寻找简化供应链的方法,通常,它们希望减少供应商的数量,包括LSP。这里的关键是以一种对客户有意义的方式来包装服务。多媒体本地化产业是一个很好的例子,说明如何识别和理解客户的需求,并通过提供相邻的服务和技术(如数字包装或云记录)来增加价值。LSP现在提供的其他服务侧重于为其客户提供全球内容战略,其中包括内容管理,内容创建和文案撰写等服务。 科技是最大的盟友 在实现从传统LSP向全球业务战略伙伴转变的过程中,科技是最大的盟友。COVID-19非常清楚地表明,拥有坚实的技术基础设施的公司不仅能够在大流行中生存下来,而且能够发展业务。为什么?因为他们能够快速响应客户的挑战:可伸缩性,生产力,有限的预算,需要远程交付相同的服务(在口译和配音的情况下)等等。凭借坚实的技术基础设施,在2020年取得成功的公司有口译巨头LanguageLine Solutions和ZOO Digital,前者提供远程口译解决方案,后者提供适应OTT平台的云解决方案和工作流程。 我们的论点是,仅提供语言服务的LSP和仅提供语言技术的语言技术提供商对于更成熟的客户来说价值有限。 提供一个组合是前进的方向。2020年,我们见证了支持这一论点的重大并购:RWS和SDL,Straker和LingoTek,Awatera和SpeakUS,Deluxe和Sundog。在前几年,我们也看到了关键字是如何收购KantanMT和Xloc的。或者,我们可以看看Lilt是如何进行自我改造的,从一家语言技术公司开始,变成了一个增强技术的LSP。我们可能会看到更多的LSP和LTP之间的这种联姻,以及更多的LSP创建或越来越多地投资于自己的技术。 用于事务性工作的AI增强语言门户 同时,我们看到了各公司如何投资开发AI增强的语言门户,以简化和自动化事务性工作的工作流。因此,一些公司没有忽视大部分市场(记住,大约78%),而是投资创建语言门户,将翻译(甚至口译服务)作为一种商品提供,就像从亚马逊购买产品一样。生产力的关键是创建一个不需要人工交互的自动化系统。 较小的LSP在哪里? 那么,这些对小型LSP意味着什么呢?传统的LSP仍将在本地市场工作,或专注于特定的垂直领域和服务,涵盖市场内的利基需求。精品语言服务永远是需要的。德勤和其他三大会计师事务所的存在并没有根除与不同需求的小客户打交道的小型会计业务。但是,当然,精品LSP将需要突出他们的价值主张,并展示他们如何为供应链做出贡献。质量和价格已经不是足够的定位策略。 人工智能服务数据持续增长 顺应服务多元化的趋势,语言服务行业近年来炒作最多的服务之一就是面向AI的语言数据。在2020年版的Nimdzi 100中,我们已经提到TransPerfect,Lionbridge和Welocalize等大型厂商已经将人工智能支持服务(如数据注释和数据标签)视为增长动力。根据我们的调查,27.8%的LSP目前正在提供数据和AI相关服务。这也是我们采访主要参与者时经常提到的话题,这些参与者既来自专业的,成熟的语言数据提供商,也来自正规的LSP。我们看到了Summa Linguae Technologies等公司是如何从语言服务提供商转向多语言数据提供商的。我们可以期待在不久的将来看到更多这样的转变。 同时提供人工智能服务和本地化服务的公司报告说,他们越来越多地看到两者的融合,以至于有时无法确定一个项目是人工智能项目还是本地化项目。我们可以期待AI本地化的这一领域在未来几年将会扩大。 人工智能业务赚钱并不令人意外,但如果有任何怀疑的话,Lionbridge将其人工智能部门出售给TELUS将消除这一疑虑。这笔交易以近10亿美元成交。尽管出售,Lionbridge并没有完全离开这个利润丰厚的领域。该公司将继续在AI方面的努力,只是现在这些努力将完全集中在语言服务(即神经机器翻译)上。 生活还在继续(线):电子商务和电子学习正在蓬勃发展 2020年3月,世界进入了不同程度的封锁状态。一年过去了,有时会觉得生活停止了。但事实上,生活更多地转向虚拟世界(只要可能)。这给数字趋势带来了繁荣,反过来又增加了对语言服务的需求。在我们的研究期间,在这方面突出的两个领域是电子商务和电子学习。虽然这两个领域没有任何直接的联系,但它们的共同点是名称中的“E”代表的是电子,也就是说,它们纯粹存在于虚拟领域,因此自大流行开始以来出现了巨大的增长。 下面我们就来详细了解一下。 电子商务:创纪录增长 屡禁不止的锁业中断了零售业,迫使传统实体店陷入不可预知的倒闭。然而,同样的趋势推动了电子商务行业的发展,甚至超出了最雄心勃勃的预测。据麦肯锡称,美国电子商务市场在2020年初仅用3个月时间就经历了10年的增长,eMarketer估计2020年全球电子商务行业增长27.6%,达到四万亿美元以上。中国仍然是电子商务领域的领跑者,预计到2021年,中国将成为世界上第一个超过一半的零售额都发生在网上的国家。 电子商务的繁荣来自两个方面。首先是像Shopify这样在2020年经历了创纪录增长的老牌电商平台。目前,这家电子商务巨头的商品总额(GMV)达到1200亿美元,GMV增长了86%,令人印象深刻。此外,随着封锁的继续,参与在线市场的实体店数量发生了显著变化,这是推动电子商务领域增长的第二个因素。 更多的电商意味着更多的线上内容,这引发了更高的本地化需求。正如Nimdzi的内衣项目对购买行为的研究表明,用消费者的母语提供产品或服务会影响他们的购买决定。还值得注意的是,虽然电子商务通常被称为纵向贸易,但它实际上是一种销售方式,在这方面,它为所有业务部门提供了无穷无尽的机会。 电子学习:提升技能的时候到了 在大流行之前,电子学习就已经在增长,但自那以后出现了显著的增长。这是出于以下几个原因: 由于上述发展,电子学习平台出现了爆炸式增长。对于语言产业来说,这意味着更多的内容,而这又意味着更多的增长机会。公司视频的字幕领域有了显著的增长。电子学习本地化需要解决的主要挑战是低预算,可伸缩性以及复杂的,非标准化的工作流和内容类型。自动字幕,机器翻译和合成语音是一些可以帮助克服这些挑战的服务,同时也是媒体服务提供商的专业知识。 语言服务行业提供多种类型的服务,甚至在更多的垂直运营。在本节中,我们将更深入地概述和分析在2020年脱颖而出,并将在2021年继续成为最具相关性的行业。 解读:化危为机 口译市场可以说是该行业中受COVID-19大流行影响最严重的部门,包括正面和负面影响。 虽然各种类型的远距离口译早已开始进入口译市场,但它们在很大程度上被看作是一个好主意或解决问题的方法。然而,一旦封锁来袭,面对面的活动和集会被禁止或限制,远程口译走出阴影,成为口译行业的救星。那些做好准备的人能够在没有重大困难的情况下将他们的业务转向远程操作,虚拟口译技术(VIT)提供商看到他们的业务暴涨。 远程同声传译蓬勃发展 特别是远距离同声传译(RSI),自大流行开始以来已显著增加。这是因为在2020年3月之前,会议口译是口译行业中主要在现场进行的部分。一旦大流行来袭,最初的冲击结束,几乎所有会议口译的需求都从现场转向了虚拟,为老牌RSI提供商带来了巨大的业务增长。这种繁荣并没有被忽视,很快就吸引了投资者。例如,RSI的老手工藤在2020年7月获得了600万美元的资助。 在远程口译领域,最大的机会或潜在的竞争来自语言行业之外。到目前为止最受欢迎的视频会议平台Zoom已经增加了口译功能。来自语言行业以外的客户更熟悉Zoom,并且通常更喜欢坚持他们所知道的内容。VIT空间已经认识到这一点,大多数VIT提供商都可以与Zoom集成。 远程医疗是一个有待发展的领域 在2020年,远程医疗部门成为远程口译提供商的另一个增长领域,这一点不足为奇。甚至在大流行之前,这一领域就已经开始蓬勃发展。显示这一领域吸引力的一个例子是,医疗人员配置公司AMN healthcare于2020年2月以4.75亿美元收购Stratus Video。同月,远程医疗平台Cloudbreak Health获得了1000万美元的资助,该平台附带了自己的专有远程解释平台Martti。 自大流行爆发以来,受危机影响的所有国家的卫生保健提供者一直敦促患者在亲自到医生办公室,诊所和医院就诊之前先打电话。随着电话咨询的增加,电话口译也随之增加,因为所有语言背景的人都需要得到支持。不仅是电话咨询导致了疫情的激增,而且随着疫情的进展和封锁变得越来越严格,医院试图避免任何不是绝对需要进入医院的人--包括翻译--进入医院。为了口译员和病人的安全,许多现场预约被虚拟预约取代。例如,Boostlingo报告称,远程医疗供应商的请求激增,他们寻求将口译集成到自己的平台中的方法。远程口译巨头LanguageLine Solutions长期以来一直活跃在医疗保健领域,并在2020年实现了创纪录的增长,收入从2019年的5.3亿美元跃升至2020年的6.18亿美元。远程医疗领域的远程口译在2020年3月之前就已经在增长,但大流行大大加速了这一趋势,我们可以预期这种趋势将持续到Covid-19之后。 适应与共存 这对口译行业的未来意味着什么?是遥远的地方吗?基于我们的研究,未来将是适应与共存的混合。远程口译不会取代现场口译,但我们可以预期,目前对远程口译的接触将产生持久的影响。特别是在企业部门,远程口译的需求可能会继续增加,因为越来越多的企业已经尝试了远程口译,并正在考虑在大流行之外为员工提供在家工作的选择。这只是远程口译如何扩大整体口译市场的一个例子。然而,总会有一些领域,现场口译将是首选的模式。例如,在医疗保健部门需要考虑隐私问题时,或在法律领域需要考虑保密问题时。简单地说,远距离口译不会取代现场口译,它将取代根本没有任何口译。 多媒体本地化-增长,但不是那么多 去年,我们强调媒体本地化是一个蓬勃发展的行业。这已经不是一种趋势了,而是一种现实。多媒体内容将继续存在,而且不仅继续存在,而且还在增长。根据我们的数据,媒体本地化公司在2020年比2019年平均增长了17.4%,即使大流行由于封锁措施减缓了内容生产。如果我们说这种增长是由于更多的内容被生成,更多的内容需要翻译,那我们就是在撒谎或者过于简单化了。其实不是。或者不完全是。增长主要得益于并购活动和媒体本地化空间的服务多样化。 媒体本地化公司正在从语言服务提供商转向媒体服务提供商(MSPs)。这个领域的买家现在需要的服务不仅仅是字幕和配音。他们寻找能够在单个软件包中满足尽可能多的需求的合作伙伴,从而简化他们的工作流程和项目管理工作。想要在这一领域取得成功的传统工作室或LSP努力满足来自数字媒体公司的所有要求,尤其是来自OTT平台的要求。 预计2021年期间生产将再次提速,意味着要本地化的内容将呈指数级增长。这对于在这一领域提供服务的公司来说是一个好消息,但同时对于需要迅速扩大规模以满足需求的LSP来说也是一个挑战。这已经对并购活动产生了影响,因为本地化买家正在推动整合。最大的一笔交易--Iyuno收购SDI Media--是最近发生的,在2021年3月撰写本文时,甚至还没有完成。随着关键字工作室在游戏产业中占据主导地位,我们可以预期Iyuno将成为媒体领域的整合者。 2020年也是远程录音的一年。封锁使得无法从实体工作室录制,媒体本地化公司不得不想出如何确保业务的连续性。2020年,远程解决方案创新加快。我们看到了Deluxe是如何推出其远程录音平台OneDub的,Iyuno发布了其灾难恢复解决方案IDub。而且,已有的远程录制解决方案,如ZOODubs,在这一时期得到了更多的整合。业务上的这种变化自然伴随着所有利益攸关方的学习曲线和适应期,但最终确保了业务的连续性。 正如我们去年强调的那样,媒体行业仍然缺乏人才。对于配音来说,仍然需要训练有素的剧本改编专业人员和艺术总监,因为对内容的需求将不断增加。对于字幕,对几种语言的需求正在增加。在印度,一些不太主流的语言,如旁遮普语,卡纳达语,马拉地语,马拉雅拉姆语和古吉拉特语开始兴起。寻找能够完美地用这些语言写作,同时又具有翻译和字幕技巧的语言专业人员一直是一个挑战。随着OTT平台不断在国际上拓展业务,媒体本地化蓬勃发展的其他地区也在重复这种场景。MSPs在作为媒体行业的供应商管理者方面发挥着关键作用。 游戏本地化当然也没有掉队,还在继续增长。细分市场巨头Keywords报告称,与前一年相比,2020年的收入增长了16.3%,尽管这一收入包括的远不止语言服务。随着整个游戏产业的持续增长(根据Newzoo的数据,2019年为1521亿美元,2020年为1593亿美元),游戏类型也在不断发展,游戏作为服务如今已成为游戏产业的重要组成部分。这意味着游戏在不断更新,更多的内容被创造出来,为玩家提供持续的娱乐来源。在这方面,业界仍然需要找到高效的方法,通过持续的本地化工作流和也能满足本地化需求的集中式内容管理系统来管理更新和内容。有新的工具试图填补这一空白,包括Gridly和Lokalise,但它们仍然需要游戏开发商和本地化公司都采用。他们是否能满足所有要求还有待观察。 技术趋势 在2020年,我们见证了更多的软件项目(e)在多语言交流的所有领域中到处合并。从远程同声传译家族的新成员到远程配音的普及,再到自然语言处理(NLP)和机器翻译(MT)的新成就。 所有这些数据 NLP和语言数据空间越来越大,对高质量数据的渴求也越来越强烈。为了准备数据,策划MT培训,评估MT引擎,以及微调MT过程,需要人类专家。对他们来说,MT定制的工作现在可能更快了--有了Intento的Spotlight这样的产品。这是Intento的MT Studio中的一个工具,该工具包用于复杂的MT管理,具有多个MT模型的数据清洗,训练和评估选项。 紧随语言数据趋势,Systran宣布了他们的Systran数据,一个行业特定翻译模型的多语言目录。这些模型是由一个名为“培训师”的专家社区设计的,并以自助服务的方式提供给专业用户。如果一个贡献者(例如LSP)已经拥有随着时间的推移收集的语言数据,他们现在能够成功地将其货币化。TAUS Data Marketplace于2020年11月发布,是一个数据卖方(翻译,数据生产者,LSP)和数据买方(MT提供商,企业等)都可以交换数据集的平台。未来的市场项目试图遵循相同的模式,复制一种全球语言和人工智能行业交易,清理,集群和整理数据的方式,将需要非常密切地关注正在交换的语言数据的所有权和质量的验证。 当一些LSP仍然对MT的采用和MTPE的补偿方法犹豫不决时,其他公司(如TranslateMe)提出将MT与人工验证相结合,并使用人工参与翻译技术的方式作为生成和获得付费代币的方法。 TMS:更多伙伴关系 翻译管理系统(TMS)领域已经受到投资和并购交易的轰炸。仅在2021年1月: Cross被加拿大投资集团Volaris收购 Memsource和大股东凯雷集团收购了Phrase Lingotek被Straker Group收购 尽管出现了TMS统一的趋势,用户仍然面临着丰富的工具可供选择:Nimdzi语言技术图谱提供了140多种TMS解决方案。有了如此多的语言技术选项,这一空间正变得对投资者更具吸引力。例如,2021年2月,XTM International从K1 investment Management获得了一笔增长股权投资,K1 investment Management是一家专注于企业级SAAS公司的公司。 其中最大的LSP 在2020年确定的153家中大型公司中,39.9%的总部位于欧洲,37.3%位于北美。来自亚洲的公司占地理分布的19.6%。澳大利亚或新西兰主办了3.3%的顶级球员。非洲和南美洲尚未生产可列入Nimdzi 100的LSP。今年,一家来自中东的公司(BLEND)首次跻身Nimdzi 100强。 与2019年相比,总部位于欧洲(2019年为44.0%)和北美(2019年为38.7%)的公司略有下降。这一差异由以亚洲为基地的LSP弥补(2019年为14.0%)。 客户在哪里 我们要求被调查者指出来自世界各地客户的收入百分比。结果显示,2020年,欧洲是该行业客户基础最大的地区,其次是北美和亚洲。这与我们在2019年看到的市场分布类似,尽管权重发生了小幅偏移。 2020年,48.9%的收入来自总部位于欧洲的客户,低于2019年的54.3%。欧洲客户群的这种小幅下降似乎已转移到北美和亚洲。于2020年,北美客户占客户基础的33.9%,较2019年的29.9%有所上升,而来自亚洲客户的收入占2020年的14.7%,较2019年的10.6%有所上升。COVID-19造成的旅行限制有可能使地方服务提供者的重点转向本国市场的客户,而不是越过栅栏去看其他国家,这是与业界人士进行访谈时发现的一个明显趋势。鉴于美国是收入最大的语言服务市场,这可能是我们观察到的轻微变化的一个解释。另一个可能是欧洲加强监管,以及亚洲成为全球经济增长的引擎。 与2019年相同,南美(1.3%),澳大利亚(1.0%)和非洲(0.2%)是2020年客户基础最小的地区。 印度:蓬勃发展的数字经济,新的语言法规和人才争夺战 在2020年版的Nimdzi 100中,我们已经提到印度是最有希望增长的地理区域之一。尤其是印度的数字经济正在蓬勃发展。OTT服务和数字多媒体内容生产和消费,视频游戏使用,通过手持设备使用社交媒体,电子学习平台和课程以及电子商务等领域在整个2020年都在增长,语言服务的潜力远未饱和,如下图所示: 45%的印度人口使用互联网,潜在的55%可以上网。绝对数字为762,679,782名潜在用户,其中几乎90%不会说英语。 76.7%的网民进行网上购物。 77.2%的网民通过流媒体服务观看电视内容。 92.8%的网民在任何设备上玩电子游戏。 社交媒体使用量每年增长21.2%(78,000,000用户)。 印度拥有Facebook,Instagram,YouTube和Facebook Messenger最大的广告受众,LinkedIn和Snapchat第二大广告受众,Twitter第三大广告受众。 此外,该国的2021年联邦预算宣布启动国家语言翻译任务,通过该任务,将以印度主要语言在互联网上提供与治理和政策有关的全部知识。这样一个在国家一级支持当地印第安语言的官方使团是第一次。 这些数字对印度的本地化和语言产业意味着什么? 像NLTM这样的任务将大大促进区域语言活动。它还将鼓励各机构将目前主要以英语提供的科学和技术内容翻译成印度语。这将使印度互联网民主化,使其更具包容性,并提供大多数印度语言的可访问性。 该倡议将对印度语言和语言技术生态系统产生积极影响,特别是对那些在印度书写系统中建立能力并将字体数字化的语言技术公司。 对于一些全球巨头来说,这是可预见的一步。微软这样的科技巨头,Facebook和YouTube这样的社交媒体平台,Netflix和Prime这样的OTT平台,以及Flipkart和亚马逊这样的电子商务网站,都已经实现了各种印度语言的本地化。甚至Alexa也提供了五种印度语言的支持。这为大量的内容平台和内容类型提供了本地化的机会。 用印度语文字打字仍然不如用英语打字容易,因此围绕语音到文本的本地化或本地化语音服务的技术和服务成为首选。银行在这里看到了一个机会,已经部署了多语言语音机器人,比如Axis bank的AXAA,来处理客户的查询和请求。AXAA支持超过10种印度语言和超过160种方言。 由于使用情况有限,数字化的印度文字和字体的采用率很低,有人建议将语言与文字分开,更多地采用印度文字的音译,并促进使用本地化的语音而不是书面语。正是有了这种变通方法,2020年还出现了对提供本地语言语音服务的公司的投资增加,比如,以及RWS收购Webdunia这样的语言技术公司。 随着全球公司进入印度市场并需要本地化服务,行业参与者被激励参与印度本地化生态系统。LSP在印度面临的主要挑战是人才获取和低价格。随着LSP蜂拥而至印度,我们预计当地市场将出现一场争夺最优秀人才的争夺战。 非洲:多种语言但语言服务很少 印度是一个人人都在谈论的市场,而非洲是一个无人谈论的市场。在我们的排名中,非洲LSP明显不足,甚至当我们观察行业顶级玩家的客户群时,只有0.2%的收入来自非洲客户。 据估计,非洲大陆上使用的语言在1500到2000种之间。然而,那里几乎没有语言服务。这在很大程度上是由于几个最大的挑战: 缺乏投资:非洲国家的翻译公司通常没有欧洲,北美或亚洲的翻译公司那样的财力。这妨碍了它们扩大服务范围和产生预期影响的能力。 人才缺乏:合格的,专业的语言学家明显缺乏。这是因为大多数语言专业人员都在教书,并不认为翻译是一个可行的职业。此外,培训课程可能很昂贵,学习一门语言可能被视为奢侈,因为以后的职业机会不确定。 缺乏结构和专业化:专业协会在推动任何服务业的专业化方面发挥着巨大的作用。非洲市场的笔译员和口译员协会似乎不那么活跃和有组织。尽管如此,2019年,一些翻译工作者聚集在一起,在肯尼亚内罗毕举办了第一届非洲国际翻译会议,为激发土著语言翻译工作者的兴趣和改变非洲翻译行业的面貌铺平了道路。第二届非洲国际翻译会议于2020年在坦桑尼亚的阿鲁沙举行,以维持非洲不断增长的语言产业的壮举。 尽管存在上述种种挑战,语言服务当然在非洲是存在的。目前,非洲市场上的大多数LSP都在100万美元的范围内运作,并且大多侧重于殖民语言,即英语和法语,以及德语,西班牙语和俄语。然而,当地语言的本地化需求确实存在,特别是斯瓦希里语,南非荷兰语,祖鲁语,阿姆哈拉语,科萨语,马达加斯加语,埃韦语,特维语,豪萨语和提格里尼亚语,以及北非的阿拉伯语。 而且还有增长的空间。非洲是近十亿人口的家园,非洲大陆的数字经济正在蓬勃发展。Nimdzi对非洲消费者的调查数据显示,北非一半以上的答复者和撒哈拉以南非洲近40%的答复者报告说,缺乏与文化和语言相关的内容是移动用户选择不上网的最重要原因之一。 此外,中国一直是非洲最大的贸易伙伴,也是非洲基础设施领域令人生畏的投资者,至今已有约20年时间。随着中国企业在非洲市场的不断扩大,中国企业在非洲大陆对汉语语言服务的需求也在不断增加。 当我们在2020年2月底完成2020年版的Nimdzi 100的写作时,COVID-19还没有被宣布为大流行,但我们已经注意到这样一个事实:如果它成为大流行,语言行业将受到与它所服务的行业相同的影响--既有负面影响,也有正面影响。 在今年的Nimdzi 100版中,我们用了一整节来阐述COVID-19对语言服务行业的影响。虽然我们可能都厌倦了在这个阶段谈论它,大流行仍然在这里,它仍然在对市场产生影响。事实上,我们分析的几乎所有内容都受到了大流行病的影响。尽管如此,还是有一些值得强调的整体观点。 关于大流行病影响的一些统计数据 在今年的调查中,接近75%的受访者报告说,COVID-19大流行已经对他们的业务产生了影响。 如果要求具体说明,我们的数据显示转移到远程工作(76.5%)是大流行最常见的影响。其次是现有业务减少或损失(60.8%)和客户暂停或终止工作(33.3%)。至于较为积极的方面,受访者亦认为现有业务有所增加(28.4%),而开支则有所减少(27.5%)。当谈到因业务量减少而裁员(18.6%)与为处理业务量增加而新入职员工(16.7%)时,报告的数字仅略有差异。 流感大流行对语言产业的影响 对垂直和服务的影响 这一大流行正在以不同的方式影响着该行业的各个部分。例如,在医疗保健和生命科学领域,我们看到与COVID-19相关的任何项目都有大幅增长,但非必要项目(如择期手术,理疗和常规会诊)则显著下降。在法律部门,大多数情况下一切照旧,尽管各分部门受到不同方式的影响,例如法院关闭,律师事务所改用视频远距离口译。由于实行旅行禁令,移民实际上已经停止。在政府部门,需求下降了大约50%,因为政府只关注基本服务和与COVID-19相关的通信。 当然,现场口译受到重创,几乎完全消失也就不足为奇了。以现场口译为收入来源的LSP报告说,其业务大幅下降了约70%或更高,一家来自美国的中型供应商报告说,它不得不解雇40%的工作人员。(译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注:译注)。会议口译已被取消。反过来,我们也看到远程解决方案的增长,特别是远程同声传译(RSI),它现在的需求量很大。 Covid-19:大型加速器 在许多方面,COVID-19大流行起到了加速器的作用。它加剧了趋势,扩大了那些已经有远程解决方案和数字产品的国家与那些没有远程解决方案和数字产品的国家之间的差距。这在全球范围内都是如此,而不仅仅是在语文服务领域。如前所述,以美国电子商务市场为例,由于实体零售店因强制停业而关闭,仅在三个月内就实现了10年的增长。 在语言行业,那些已经有远程解决方案的公司蓬勃发展,而那些完全以现场为中心的运营公司则加速下滑。特别是对于后一组,但也是对于大多数受访玩家来说,大流行也成为了原本被放在次要位置的内部项目的催化剂。例如,许多LSP很长一段时间都计划改善其数字存在或向其客户和内部员工提供各种远程解决方案,但从未按这些计划采取行动。他们被认为是一个美好的拥有,而不是必要的东西。然而,一旦大流行来袭,这些项目突然需要优先排序,以便使企业继续运转。 技术是最大的差异化因素 一个突出的总趋势是,那些拥有正确技术的人赢得了这场竞赛。他们抢在了其他所有人的前面,并通过能够利用远程趋势(如远程医疗领域的远程口译或媒体本地化领域的远程配音)来促进他们的增长。那些没有正确设置的公司正在匆忙地追赶,例如通过发布新的RSI平台,最终增加他们的数字存在,或者增加自动化。 盈利能力提高 收入是虚荣,利润是理智。在我们的排名中,前100家LSP中有65%录得不同程度的增长,我们的数据显示行业整体也有增长。尽管如此,整个行业的增长已经放缓,对于一些LSP来说,收入也有所下降或持平。但这并不是看起来那么简单。虽然收入可能减少了,但盈利能力却提高了。45.5%的受访者报告称,他们的盈利能力在2020年有所提高,这也得到了尼姆兹100强的响应。35.6%的受访公司表示,它们的盈利能力与前一年持平,只有18.9%的公司表示盈利能力有所下降。 如果考虑到封锁的副作用,即没有旅行或很少旅行,减少对办公空间的需求,以及没有亲自活动,盈利能力的提高就不足为奇了。这一大流行病的所有这些副产品都转化为费用的减少,这反过来又增加了盈利能力。 在家工作将继续下去 虽然在2020年3月之前,语言行业已经实现了远程友好,但这次大流行将其推向了一个新的高度。或多或少在一夜之间(或者在周末),各种规模的玩家都不得不将他们的整个运营和工作人员搬到网上。绝大多数受访公司顺利完成了这一任务。 在家工作的新情况改变了我们的工作方式,我们可以期待它对这个行业产生持久的影响。大多数受访公司报告说,他们正在考虑以混合模式向员工提供在大流行之外的在家工作选择。 生存战略和增长机会 既然我们知道了企业是如何受到大流行的影响,现在是时候更仔细地研究一下LSP为应对这一新挑战所采用的策略了。 以客户为中心 在大流行的早期阶段,帮助客户将业务转移到网上成为各种规模公司的首要任务。任何尚未拥有数字存在的客户现在都需要一个--而且要快。在行业的翻译端,这导致了网站本地化的需求越来越大。在口译方面,公司企业和政府实体都在寻求远程口译解决方案。 在任何服务行业中,客户服务总是很重要的,尤其是在不确定,充满挑战的时代。LSP可以利用这种情况,通过提供额外强大的客户服务而脱颖而出。业界的许多LSP都意识到了这一点,并做出了响应,例如,提供了全天候的可用性,更快的周转时间,并投入额外的时间对客户进行远程解决方案的教育和培训。 随着客户行业适应了新的工作方式,语言行业也适应了新的工作方式。 市场营销投资 在2020年3月之后,LSP比以往任何时候都更大程度地提高了他们的销售额和(甚至更大程度地)他们的营销努力。如前所述,大流行改变了销售渠道的性质。由于封锁,旅行和会议的限制,传统的销售渠道如会议和面对面的会议无法使用。LSP必须提出新的想法,并投资于新的销售方法。许多公司都做了更多的广告,宣传活动和宣传活动。 为Nimdzi 100接受采访的一些公司报告说,它们扩大了销售团队,作为避免损失战略的一部分。同样,随着营销--尤其是数字营销--变得至关重要,许多公司在2020年3月后大幅扩充了营销团队。 洗牌再投资 这场大流行迫使许多人更仔细地观察它们的内部结构。对于接受Nimdzi 100指数采访的一些LSP来说,他们的主要目标是管理现金流,而另一些LSP则把重点放在技术投资和增加数字业务上。 如上文所强调的,这一大流行病以不同的方式影响到该行业的不同部门。许多地方一级支助机构通过调整内部资源来应对这一挑战。例如,将语言学家和项目经理从原来的旅游和接待部门重新分配到蓬勃发展的生命科学部门。此外,各公司正在评估其客户投资组合。一旦大流行袭来,很明显,拥有多样化客户群的LSP比那些从某一垂直领域的一两个大客户获得大部分收入的LSP表现要好得多。 就目前情况而言,到2021年3月,我们仍处于全球大流行之中,全球各国仍在继续采取不同程度的封锁措施。谁也说不准这种情况会持续多久。我们所知道的是,一旦限制被取消,我们可以期待内容的爆炸式增长。一旦媒体领域的生产能够恢复,市场将充斥着新的电影和电视节目,这将转化为媒体本地化的巨大增长。在大流行期间,旅游和酒店业一落千丈,但有理由认为,一旦人们再次获准旅行,这一行业领域将迎来巨大的增长。此外,一旦5G变得广泛实施,它将使内容以指数级的速度和规模获得。这意味着会有更多的内容被创造出来,进而在各个细分行业引发更多的本地化需求。 虽然并不是所有的流行趋势和解决办法都将保持不变,但我们可以预期一些趋势和创新将对该行业产生持久的影响。例如,远距离配音和远距离口译在去年经历了显著的增长,因为它们拯救了两个受到严重冲击的市场领域。 他们说永远不要浪费一个好的危机。我们的分析表明,语言行业肯定没有做过这样的事情。这就是为什么我们把我们的增长估计重新回到正轨,并预测到2025年该行业将达到736亿美元。