Skip links

European Language Industry: Current Landscape

We recently came across a very interesting survey of the European language industry that looks, among other things, at gender distribution, revenue, activities, technology, operational practices, etc. After attending a wonderful event in London where speakers presented on the current situation of the e-commerce industry worldwide, this language industry survey proved very interesting as a point of comparison.

The survey is called “EXPECTATIONS AND CONCERNS OF THE EUROPEAN LANGUAGE INDUSTRY” and includes 1404 responses from 55 countries. The aim of the survey was to test “the mood of the industry” rather than to gather exact quantitative data.

Gender Differences

The measurement of the gender gap in our industry was long overdue. The survey confirmed that women represent the majority in the European translation industry. In total, they accounted for 73 % of the total number of respondents. The survey differentiated between companies, individuals, training institutes, and translation departments.

While the reasons behind such an uneven distribution are still unclear, we do know some facts. For example, a similar gap is evident at the university and college levels for language-related courses in Europe. However, claims that male brains find language processing “harder” than female brains are still unfounded. For that reason, the underlying causes of the gender gap in the industry remain a mystery. Similarly, no studies have yet researched the gender gap in the different translation fields.



In comparison to previous years, revenue has increased throughout the European language industry. This seems to be in line with the findings of Common Sense Advisory: “The language services industry will continue to grow and that the market will increase to US$56.18 billion by 2021. (…) The demand for language services and supporting technologies continues and is growing at an annual rate of 7.99%, representing an increase over last year’s rate of 6.97%. Sixty-four per cent of surveyed language services providers (LSPs) said revenue was up over the previous year. Factors driving this demand include content digitization, personalized customer service, and business globalization.

To quote the European language industry survey:

Taking 250k € as a limit to distinguish start-up companies from the more established ones, we see a clear geographical bias towards Western Europe. While the <250k € segment is more than 30% string in most European regions, this section is very small in Western Europe (13%). Surprisingly, Northern Europe – traditionally considered a rich region – shows the highest percentage of small companies. Due to the small number of companies that responded from those regions, these results need to be considered with caution.

More Data About the European Language Industry

The rest of the survey analyses the percentage of direct customers, the services and activities offered, the main fields, clients’ expectations, operational practices, sales, marketing, among other factors. To see the whole survey, click here.

Leave a comment

two + 12 =