The 2018 Language Industry Survey -- Expectations and Concerns of the European Language Industry was released by the European Language Industry Association (Elia), for which a total of 1,285 questionnaires were collected from a number of language service companies and individual interpreters in 55 countries. This report elaborates on the expectations and concerns of the European language service industry in terms of industry structure, technology, market, employment, investment, certification, operation and training in the form of statistics, which can help readers summarize on the development trend and direction of the language service sector in Europe to some extent.
The following is a brief summary and report based on the data collected in the survey:
Respondents: as the report includes the feedback from freelance translators, the number of feedback received is 48% bigger than that of 2017. In terms of industry structure, most translation service agencies are "small firms" with annual sales of less than 1 million Euros, and most of them hired no more than 10 in-house employees under their roofs.
The proportion of direct clients: whether it is a company or an individual interpreter, the greater the proportion of direct customers, generally speaking, the higher the annual income. In the vertical field, the most frequently used language service is law, then life science. In the case of individual translators, legal translation has the upper hand, probably because some European countries require certified individual translators to do the translation.
Market development: 63% of companies expect more competition in the industry in 2018, while 67% expect business growth this year and only 5% think business will shrink, indicating a generally positive outlook for the market.
Pricing: the actual price of translation service and the expected price of language service companies in 2016 are both 20% to 25% lower than before; By 2017, real and expected prices had risen, but were still on a downward trend; In 2018, language service companies expect prices to rise 3 percent from the previous year, indicating that prices for translation services are on a year-to-year upward trend.
Employment growth in language service industry: the employment growth is expected to increase significantly in 2015-2017, but the actual growth rate is relatively stable. Employment growth in 2018 remains at about 33 percent.
Quality certification requirements: the increased requirements for certification in 2017 have correspondingly increased expectations for higher requirements in 2018. Twenty-five percent expect certification requirements to be more stringent. No one thinks the demands will be lowered.
Investment: 54% of companies say they plan to invest, 40% want to do so in 2018, and only 7% plan to reduce their capital. Overall, sentiment in the European language services sector has been very positive, with most companies indicating plans to invest.
Operation process: 40% of the companies said they would increase the input of outsourcing, indicating that outsourcing is still the main operation mode of translation companies. In particular, 37 percent of companies said they would invest more in MTPE and 17 percent said they were experimenting with the new model. Regarding crowdsourcing and offshoring, although these two modes are controversial in the industry, there are still some companies that will increase their investment in or try to use the new mode. According to the data, the growth rate of MTPE model exceeds that of outsourcing, which has become a new model for translation companies to try.
Machine translation: see from the data, the translation of machine translation is still not the mainstream mode of production, only about 20% of the companies and individuals who use machine translation every day, but do not use machine translation decreasing the number of companies and individuals, which means that the industry is gradually accept the machine translation, more and more enterprises and individuals are willing to accept and try to machine translation.
CAT tool usage: most translation companies already use CAT tools, with SDL Trados being the most widely used, followed by Memoq, Memsource, Wordfast and Across. Among other translation technologies, optical character recognition (OCR) and subtitle technology are the most frequently used, followed by voice recognition, which is mostly used by individual translators.
Industry Training: popular training areas include translation technology, management, soft skills and subject specialization.
Challenges facing the language service industry: the biggest challenge is price pressure, followed by time pressure, too homogeneity of translation services and insufficient resources of translators. Among the many pressures language service companies are facing, the four pressures of insufficient resources, brand pressure, quality requirements and corporate strategy have become more severe after 2016.
Industry trends: most companies are optimistic about the need for translation, technology and machine translation, which indicates that the demand for translation will increase further and the application of technology and machine translation will also bring benefits to the industry. At the same time, price pressures, the challenge of machine translation and cheap, low-quality competition are also widespread concerns.
The 2018 survey of the European Language Industry published by the European Language Industry Association (Elia) builds on the positive outlook for 2017. With the development of machine translation, more and more companies are willing to try new technologies, bringing new possibilities to the industry. The report argues that 2018 is the year of machine translation. In addition, data on the use of CAT tools, school-enterprise cooperation and internship system, growth factors and pressures in the industry also give us a clearer view of the whole language service industry.
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