Are those who work in professional translation and interpretation valued in their jobs around the world? And, if so, to what extent? Let’s look at the defining current insights for language service providers.
Professional Translation and Interpretation in the International Arena
There are approximately 640,000 professional translators in the world. Part of their earning power is determined by the languages they command. Consider the top ten best-paying languages:
Perhaps you didn’t expect to see German top the list. Especially since many of these languages have a far greater number of speakers worldwide.
Germany is the currently the economic center of Europe and an international business hub. And Europe holds the biggest share of the language services market, at 49%. The first market share runner-up is North America, with 39.41%
As an industry that is fragmented by instances like the freelance work modality, it may come as a surprise that the 2021 global language services market is valued at $56.18 billion USD. And that, only two years prior, that number was $49.6 billion. Which accounts for over $6 billion in growth over just two years.
Adding current developments to the mix, the language market for remote service has grown 40% during the covid-19 pandemic. 2020 saw a 49% increment in demand for language services in the healthcare sector.
In the corporate world, groups that invest in translation services have been shown to attain 1.5 times more revenue growth. Fortune 500 companies see increased profits twice as often and are 1.3 times more likely to generate earnings per share.
Crossing Borders with Professional Translation
Globalization creates an optimistic vision for the future of the language services industry, with a lot of demand and plenty of supply. Let’s focus on one single country in order to pinpoint changing factors: the United States, the world’s globalization linchpin.
Professional Translation and Interpretation in the United States
Growth in Numbers
In 2020, 81,400 language professionals were counted in the United States. By 2030, it will be 100,700. Between 2008 and 2015, that number nearly doubled and the amount of language services firms grew by 24%.
The 2021 median wage for translators and interpreters in the U.S. is $25.16 USD per hour, $52,330 USD annually. In 2019, the top 25% earners made at least $71,590 USD per year. The bottom 25% earners made no more than $37,740 USD.
Projected industry growth is classified as “much faster than average”. This classification is given to professions that are to see growth of 8% or higher between 2020 and 2030.
The 8% marker indicates the total average expected growth for all occupations in the U.S. combined. The language translation and interpretation profession, by itself, is expected to see three times as much growth, with a rate of 24%.
Additionally, the median salary has been on an uptrend every year since 2014, with an absolute increase of about $10,000 USD.
Instigators and Sectors
There are three main causes for this positive industry growth:
- > Broader use of video relay services in American Sign Language
- > International trade with huge emerging markets in Asia and Africa
- > Needs spread across U.S. military forces
These causes, in turn, can be divided by the highest-paying sector categories:
- 1. Professional, scientific, and technical services
- 2. Government
- 3. Hospitals (state, local, and private)
Professional Translation Allocation
In 2016, the category of “Professional, scientific, and technical services” represented 30% of jobs. The category of “Education: state, local, and private”, 23%, and “Self-employed”, 22%.
In 2017, the United States government spent $580 million USD on translation and interpretation services. The Department of Defense was the chief driver behind that figure, with an expenditure of at least $236.5 million.
Successful Language Partnerships
Organizations know the value of language translation, although many are still learning to entrench localization. On the other hand, diligent language professionals do fine work, but may not realize that becoming a member of a specialized association means being able to charge as much as 30% more.
Translation agencies are the bridge between the two. They are 2.5 times more likely to ask language professionals to lower their rates, as they are equipped with expertise, unique negotiating power, and connections.
About Language Connections:
Language Connections is one of the top language service companies in the US. Over the last 30 years, we’ve focused on providing the best business translation services, interpreting services, localization services, as well as interpreter training and customized language training programs. In addition to top-tier corporate language training, we offer certified corporate interpreters and professional business translation services in 200+ languages. Our network includes linguists with backgrounds in all major industries. They’re ready to meet your needs, whether they’re for technical translation services, legal translation, government translation services, international development translation services, education translation services, life sciences translation, or something else. Reach out to us today for a free quote on our cost-efficient and timely translation services, interpreters, or other linguistic services.
Language Connections Inc.
2001 Beacon Street, Suite 105,
Boston, MA 02135