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Demand for Translation Services is on the Rise, but Prices are on the Decline
(BOSTON, MA) – The global market for language services is growing at an annual rate of more than 12%. Although demand is up, the average per-word price for translation into and from the 30 most commonly used languages on the web has fallen over 30% since 2010 and over 40% since 2008.  However, the study also finds that some of the most popular individual language pairs, such as Spanish into English, have increased in price. These findings are a result of a comprehensive global survey of thousands of language service providers and freelance translators by independent market research firm Common Sense Advisory

“The broad decrease in pricing follows a pattern that we have observed throughout our previous two studies. In our 2010 study we observed that global supply, advances in technology, economic issues, and more aggressive buyers conspired to drive down the prices of most languages,” explained Donald A. DePalma, Common Sense Advisory’s Chief Strategy Officer and Founder. “Our analysis this year confirmed those trends. However, we found that less than half of the suppliers who responded to our survey include traditional translation services such as editing and proofreading in their rates, also affecting the price.” 

In its latest series of reports, the firm presents and analyzes the aggregated pricing data from a 2012 survey of more than 3,700 language services providers and freelancers. Based on the findings, it has released three new translation pricing reports: "Trends in Translation Pricing," "Translation Pricing by Language Pair," and "What Translation Suppliers Need to Know about Pricing."

Highlights of the reports include:
  • Aggregated pricing data from the firm’s 2012 survey. It presents the changes in rates since 2008 and 2010 for the top 30 online languages.
  • A deconstruction of translation rates into the component parts and exactly what goes into the price of translation and how what suppliers include in their rates have affected pricing.
  • Pricing data for various translation-related activities, such as review, desktop publishing and markup, and specialized content 
  • Details the rates for 222 language pairs with prices listed for freelancer, small language services provider (LSP), medium LSP, and large LSP, along with the average and the standard deviation.
  • Answers the questions related to pricing that LSPs and freelancers most frequently raise during the firm’s briefings, at conferences, and in surveys.
"While our research shows that demand for translation is on the rise, word rates have fallen," comments DePalma. "The report identifies economic forces such as professional purchasing and language sector issues such as the automation and the changing composition of translation as reasons for the decline." He notes that "Translation has outgrown its cottage industry roots and is playing in a much bigger global market, with increasingly complex demands from its consumers. As it evolves, the notion of 'price per-word' or 'per-page' rates is far too simplistic. This increasing sophistication will grow the size of the market and make the role of translators and the companies that employ them more essential."

For more information about the firm’s research services, visit www.commonsenseadvisory.com. 

About Common Sense Advisory
Common Sense Advisory is an independent market research company helping companies profitably grow their international businesses and gain access to new markets and new customers. Its focus is on assisting its clients to operationalize, benchmark, optimize, and innovate industry best practices in translation, localization, interpreting, globalization, and internationalization. For more information, visit: http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com or www.twitter.com/CSA_Research.

Media contact: Melissa C. Gillespie, Melissa@commonsenseadvisory.com, +1 760-522-4362
Submitted On: 11/6/2012

Common Sense Advisory research and analysts are frequently cited in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Fortune Magazine, Inc Magazine, and BusinessWeek.
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