Translation Demand is Up, But Not Prices

Category: Technology, Translation Services

Last month Common Sense Advisory published a report with findings from a global survey of 651 language service providers (translation firms) and freelancers in 75 countries about their pricing structures, processes, and customer bases.

The report includes pricing data in average prices for 156 language pairs, as well as the major 10 languages with the greatest global economic impact (i.e., French, Spanish, Chinese).

Below are three key findings from the report:

Automation and technology integration is benefiting everyone. Translation vendors that effectively use technology to partially automate the translation process can offer substantial savings to businesses. Whether it’s using translation memory to process previously translated text or providing human post-editing services for machine-translated text, there is a high potential for cost efficiency.

Pricing by source content is standard. Most respondents (72.5%) said they base pricing on the source content they receive versus just 13% who charge by the words that they generate. Other factors contribute to pricing structure, such as the client and the complexity of the job. Extra-cost fees might include terminology research, project management, testing, quality control checks and preparation of final materials.

It’s a good time to localize. As more businesses look to foreign language markets as a source of growth, demand for translation and localization services has lifted 13%. However, that doesn’t mean that prices have gone up in kind. In fact, some language pairs have dropped. French and German translations remained relatively stable. And among the world’s top 10 languages, English into Russian showed the most price compression over that period.

Interested in “what’s next”? The CSA report also lists the 23 “next-wave languages” used in rapidly developing markets or in countries that are important to the global supply chain. Arabic and the languages of India, for instance, are high on the list.