Tag Archives: Common Sense Advisory

GALA 2011: Where Do Language Services Fit in the “Real Economy”?

29 Mar

The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) puts on its third annual conference in Lisbon on March 28-30, 2011.

Where Do Language Services Fit in the “Real Economy”?

Presented by Don DePalma of Common Sense Advisory (CSA). CSA has tracked industry confidence with quarterly surveys of buyers and suppliers of language services. This time, CSA conducted a year-to-year industry analysis, comparing the results of this study against general economic data.

According to Don, the language services market and the “real economy” are interdependent.

The language services market stats:

  • 25,000 LSPs worldwide
  • By 2015, the market will reach 38.15 billion USD
  • In 2010, the language services market grew at an annual rate of 13.15%
  • Translation accounted for 43.27% of the total language services market in 2010 (followed by on-site interpreting and software localization at 12.95% and 7.14% respectively)

Business Confidence Study:

  • Conducted on a quarterly basis since July 2004
  • Two separate surveys, one for buyers and one for suppliers
  • Buyers are lot more conservative than providers in the Global Business Confidence Index
  • Volume of demand estimated vs. actual: very close; reliable indicator of what will happen
  • Employment estimated vs. actual: off the mark; not a reliable indicator

Global Business Confidence Index (GBCI) vs. Economic Data:

  • Gross Domestic Product: tracks similarly
  • Unemployment Rates: divergence during the recession
  • Consumer Price Index: divergence during the recession (“black swan” scenario)
  • Consumer Confidence: convergence in 2009 and 2010


  • Providers need to rely more on the guidance of their buyers, who live and die by market trends
  • Everyone should factor into their planning process an array of macro-economic indicators
  • Buyers and suppliers should be responsive to the trends without radical whipsawing

CSA Surveys:


Systran and European Commission Revisited

24 Feb

A few weeks ago we posted a blog entry titled “European Commission Ditches Systran.” More news emerged in the last couple of days, one a press release from Systran and one a blog entry from Common Sense Advisory (CSA).

In the press release, Systran announced that “announced the availability of a prototype of its hybrid machine translation (MT) engines dedicated to the translation of European Union legal documents into 56 language pairs.” Read more…

Don DePalma of CSA comments on Systran’s introduction of machine translation for the European Commission Corpus: “What Systran has done with this release is demonstrate both its new engine’s ability to be tuned to specific domains and its SaaS credentials, although the first instance won’t get the usage that it might have seen prior to December 16th, 2010. In any case, this new Systran prototype shows that there is plenty of room for competition and innovation in the MT sector.” Read more…

Global Language Services Market Size

4 Jun

According to the May 2010 report of Common Sense Advisory (CSA), the global market for outsourced services and technology relating to the transfer of information from one language into another is more than US$26 billion – nearly double previous estimates. This includes written translation, software localization, website globalization, spoken language interpreting, voiceover work, dubbing, subtitling, and ancillary services such as desktop publishing and multilingual transcription. In the same report, CSA also published a list of the top 35 global language services providers. In addition to the usual suspects such as Lionbridge, Language Line, Transperfect, and SDL, the list also includes Hewlett-Packard’s Application and Content Globalization group, which comes in as number one on the list with reported revenues of US$457 million. That makes one wonder about similar groups within Microsoft, IBM, or Adobe, not to mention the US Government’s National Virtual Translation Center or the European Commission’s Directorate-General for translation services with 1,750 translators and 600 support staff and its counterpart for interpretation services with 500 staff interpreters and an army of freelancers. The size of the global market for language services is difficult to determine because most providers are privately owned and shy about disclosing their data, and because there is no general agreement on what services are included in this market. Any comments and observations are welcome!

By Jiri Stejskal
CETRA Language Solutions