We’re now two weeks into 2020: A date which not only represents a brand new year, but a new decade.

Entering into this new chapter is likely to fill many with a mixture of optimism and uncertainty. But here at Wolfestone, the spirit of the New Year has got us thinking: What are the next twelve months and beyond set to hold for the language services industry? What trends can we expect to emerge?

Over the last decade, we’ve already seen colossal growth in the industry. Indeed, over the last ten years, the language services market has doubled in size, reaching 46.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2019.

But, what can we expect from the next ten years? What will the future of the language services industry look like?

Allow us to break down what we consider to be the top 4 emerging trends in the industry.

a piece of code on a computer - the language services industry will utilise new technology in 2020.

1. Continued Industry Growth

The language services industry has seen an incredible boom in the last ten years, but it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Common Sense Advisory (CSA) predicts that the language services industry will continue to grow and that the market will increase to US$56.18 billion by 2021.

Interestingly, in the wake of major political uncertainty, with the UK finally set to leave the EU this year, the world seems more globalised now than ever.

Communicating internationally, whether it be in a foreign language or in other English-speaking regions, presents a multitude of challenges, not least navigating the nuances of a different culture and society. With businesses increasingly setting their sights on going global, the language services industry is sure to play a fundamental role in driving international success.

2. Emerging markets and emerging language combinations

The language services industry often holds a mirror to economic, political and social changes. Reflected in the industry is the needs and aspirations of emerging markets and economies across the world.

Indeed, according to the latest forecasts, today’s emerging economies (meaning those rapidly growing economies of developing nations) are likely to account for nearly 60% of world GDP by 2030 (a whopping US$15.5 trillion).

We have previously investigated how economic growth in Latin America spells huge opportunities. But with the dominance of Romance Languages in the region, such as Spanish and Portuguese, professional language services for these languages are widely accessible.

However, communication may prove far more of a challenge elsewhere. In emerging markets in Asia and Africa, multilingualism is the norm.

Take India as an example: In the past few years, it has fluctuated between being the world’s fastest and second-fastest growing economy. But, tapping into the Indian market is no easy feat. In India, more than 19,500 languages or dialects are spoken as mother tongues and there are 121 languages which are spoken by 10,000 or more people.

In the coming years, this is precisely where LSPs are expected to employ their expertise: In advising and guiding the communications of businesses aiming to enter emerging, multilingual markets.

A screenshot of someone searching on youtube. Video localisation will be one of the biggest trends in the language services industry in 2020.

3. Video localisation

Video is fast becoming one of the most indispensable digital tools in a marketer’s arsenal. Don’t believe us? Here are the stats to back it up:

  • 83% of marketers believe that video is growing in importance.
  • 40% of marketers now rank video content as number one for ROI, with a further 23% putting video in second place.
  • By 2021, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video.

But what does this mean for businesses who want to reach an international audience?

Video localisation presents the most cost-effective way to tailor your video content to your target market and target language without re-shooting your entire campaign or having to create original, localised content for each market.

Video translation, whether that be subtitle translation services or voice over, is a smart and effective way to ensure that your content goes global.

This means that LSPs will have to keep their finger on the pulse of the digitisation of marketing content. In the coming years, we can expect more and more LSPs to move away from traditional translation towards the video localisation boom if they are to stay relevant.

Lights say 'Data has a better idea' against an urban landscape. AI translation will continue to play a big role in the language services industry.

4. The rise of AI translation

What is AI translation?

Also sometimes referred to as machine translation (MT), AI translation is a sophisticated technology that is “a simple substitution of words from one language to another and it works on recognition of phrases and sentences to restructure according to the new language.”

An incredible time and cost-saving tool, the AI translation market has been estimated to exceed USD 1.5 billion by 2024. But we don’t predict Google Translate will be suddenly adopted by businesses across the world.

The rise of AI translation is set to be rooted instead in bespoke technology, specifically-tailored to the client’s needs. With AI able to do the bulk of a project, human translators will be able to focus on post-editing the content to guarantee accuracy and consistency.

What’s more, as a client’s AI translation bank builds, the turnaround becomes faster and cheaper each time, savings which are passed onto the client.

The language services industry is predicted to continue to foster this collaboration between AI and human expertise, which will guarantee growth in the sector for years to come.

Why Wolfestone?

Here at Wolfestone, we’re experts in providing high-quality translation services and we have a track record of helping our clients successfully go global.

Get in touch with our friendly team and find out how we can help you reach your goals.

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Article written by Sofia Lewis, Wolfestone contributor.

Sofia Lewis
by Sofia Ellen Lewis

Since graduating from University of Bristol in 2018 with a First in Italian and Spanish BA, Sofia has gone on to become a skilled translator, content writer and digital marketer. Sofia has a passion for storytelling and has also recently dipped her toe into journalism. A self-proclaimed language nerd, she is always looking for suggestions on which language to learn next.

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