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Common Sense Advisory Blogs
The Top 10 Languages That Reign Online
Posted by Stephen Henderson on March 18, 2016  in the following blogs: Market Data, Translation and Localization
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CSA Research conducted our annual study of the market for outsourced language services and technology for the 11th consecutive year. Participants listed their three fastest-growing language pairs, as well as the three that face the most price pressure.

Looking at the language pairs with a global perspective presents the overall trends within the industry. Rather than review the data for all the language pairs reported by our respondents, we focused on the top 10 most-used languages from our annual study of global websites. We found that:

  • Demand for the top 10 languages grew, Joined by Italian and Polish. We asked respondents to list the three language pairs for which demand is growing the fastest, irrespective of source and target. We compressed all regional language variants into one category each for Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, or Spanish because of inconsistencies in answer formats. The undifferentiated variants outscored regional forms in all cases except Portuguese for Brazil. The latter would have scored as the fifth most demanded language on its own.

  • The pairs in most demand correlate with the top 10 languages that reign online. Those are English, Chinese (Simplified), Spanish, German, Japanese, French, Arabic, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, and Korean. Italian (11th on CSA Research’s list of the top 100 languages) and Polish (17th) also appear among the top 10 pairs.

  • Increasing demand and price compression go hand-in-hand. Many of the language pairs that are growing the most are subject to the most price compression. This is not a contradictory phenomenon – prices can decrease while demand rises. Why? Translation is the most competitive of the various language services, with nearly 89% of respondents over the past three years of our survey offering that service. By comparison, about 42% provide on-site interpreting. Thus, some of these language pairs are highly provisioned and sold into very competitive markets. Many pairs came up as ties in the various groupings, further highlighting the competition in translation pricing.
What should you do with this data? It depends on your perspective as a buyer or supplier.

  • Buyers of translation services should verify that you’re not missing any popular languages that would allow you to appeal to a broader client base. Review your pricing history by language to ensure you are obtaining competitive rates for the services you purchase.

  • Language service providers should monitor the demand for languages to ramp up resources effectively. Compare languages with increasing price pressure to your own sensitive areas and prioritize languages that require more cost-effective resources accordingly.

Fastest-Growing Demand

Rank

Most Price Compression

English <> Spanish

1

English <> Spanish

English <> Chinese

2

English <> French

English <> French

3

English <> Chinese

English <> German

4

English <> German

English <> Russian

5

English <> Russian

English <> Portuguese

6

English <> Portuguese

English <> Japanese

7

English <> Japanese

English <> Arabic

8

English <> Italian

English <> Italian

9

English <> Arabic

Spanish <> Portuguese

10

French <> Spanish

Copyright (c) 2016 Common Sense Advisory, Inc.


Will the results be the same for 2016? We are interested in identifying these same trends with data collected in this year’s Global Market Survey. The 2016 survey is open. Take the time to complete this year’s survey and receive the regional findings from the upcoming 2016 report.

Do you have thoughts about price compression or language growth and are attending the GALA NY conference this week? Schedule a time to meet with a member of our team.



 

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Related Research
The Rise and Fall of the Top Online Languages
The Language Services Market: 2015
Growth and Compression in Translation Pricing
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