The language service and technology industry is estimated to be worth a whopping USD 64.7 billion. And due to the growing content economy, this market is set to steadily rise. The need for global connectivity means that LSPs will remain in high demand, and the top translation companies will continually strive to secure the largest slice of the pie.
The research from Nimdzi breaks down the biggest players in the field, providing a list of the world’s largest translation companies in 2022 with the goal to provide “invaluable industry data about service distributions, technology adoption patterns and industry trends.”
The study assesses the impact of outsourced language services and technology. Let’s dig deeper into the top 10 translation companies and pinpoint exactly what it is that makes them stand out in a fiercely competitive industry.
Top 100 translation companies
While it lost its champion’s belt in 2020, it won it back in 2021. And for the first time, the language industry now has a billion-dollar company. Long-time industry leader TransPerfect reached USD 1.1 billion in revenue in 2021. This is up from USD 852.4 million in 2020 and represents an increase of more than 30% year-over-year. Especially for a company of this size and during times that saw the world economy suffer, this is an impressive level of growth. With 200+ offices worldwide and 26 years in the localization industry, TransPerfect’s rise to the top has not come overnight. They have honed their high-quality translation skills by completing over 300,000 language projects, and they claim to translate more than 7 million words a day.
2) RWS Holdings
Given the acquisition of former rival SDL, which propelled RWS to the top in 2020, the company was expected to reach the billion-dollar mark in 2021. However, the newly combined company only grew by a little less than two percent in 2021, reaching USD 955.3 million. A possible explanation could be a focus on aligning company efforts after the mega acquisition and a change in leadership — in June 2021, RWS announced the appointment of a new Group CEO, Ian El-Mokadem, who replaced Richard Thompson at the helm.
With over 20 years of experience in the language services industry, in terms of sheer size and scale, LanguageLine is the top dog of certified translation. Boasting nearly twice as many full-time employees as their next biggest rival, LanguageLine Solutions operate out of 364 offices neatly spread across the globe. They offer translation and interpretation services to healthcare institutions, government departments, and multinational businesses. With a strong focus on customer support and dedicated project managers, LanguageLine should hope to expand even further throughout all areas of the translation enterprise.
Up from the 7th spot in 2020, Keywords Studios place a strong emphasis on interaction, a vision that is evident from simply landing on the homepage of their website. Keywords Studios support game developers and publishers worldwide and have been around since the very earliest localized games. Leading with a creative specialism, their unique approach and market position makes them global pioneers in their field. High-quality localization is delivered by a team of native multilingual experts who focus on culturally sensitive and carefully considered content.
Lionbridge, another household name in the market, held the position as the second-largest language service provider for many years. In 2020, the company sold its AI division — Lionbridge AI — to TELUS International, a digital customer experience company from Canada. The deal went through for approximately USD 935 million (CAD 1.2 billion). Despite the sale, Lionbridge is not leaving this lucrative field altogether but will rather focus its AI efforts exclusively on language services, for instance in the form of neural machine translation (NMT) as well as using applied AI to tag, annotate and score content to drive automation and improve quality checks and cost estimates in the translation workflow. In this year’s ranking, Lionbridge made it to the 5th position, with USD 545.9 in revenue.
SDI Media held position number 10 in the 2021 ranking, with a confirmed revenue of USD 191 million. SDI Media was acquired by Iyuno Media Group in 2021, and Iyuno-SDI Group was formed.
Iyuno-SDI Group is a global entertainment technology and localization company serving the world's leading entertainment studios in dubbing, subtitling and media services with 67 offices across 34 countries.
Appen specializes in developing training data for various ML and AI applications, one of which is machine translation, ranging from product descriptions and user reviews to speech interfaces. Placing their belief in data as the key to achieving the most effective machine translation, Appen customizes engines to suit individual specifications and designs tailored databases to make the translation process more accurate and efficient.
A relative minnow compared to some of the much larger companies offering language services, translate plus has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years, placing it firmly in the Nimdzi global top 10. Working hard to provide the client with tailor-made translation packages, translate plus are an independent language service provider, which means they are not limited by the constraints of a specific technology and can choose the best fit for each project.
Up by a dozen positions since last year, Acolad places an emphasis on its multi-local approach. With over 25 years of experience in the language services industry, Acolad has a strong, dedicated customer service team and more than 2000 professional linguists working for them. Having started as a family business, it has expanded into a global leading language services provider while still keeping its famous local and regional culture and expertise.
As its name suggests, Welocalize offers multilingual solutions to allow international companies to communicate globally. Recognizing the impact that digital transformation is having on the industry as a whole, Welocalize attempts to drive enterprises towards managing multilingual content as a means of obtaining a competitive advantage.
That’s it! But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Explore the remaining 90 companies from Nimdzi’s study in the table below.
Top Translation Software
Apart from the leading translation agencies, you might be interested in the top CAT tools on the market. We reviewed a selection of both cloud-based and desktop solutions that come up top of SERPs and ranked them by the estimated number of unique visitors to their websites in the past six months using Semrush.
The traffic data will help you estimate the market share and user interest in each tool. Here’s what we got.
Top cloud-based translation software
Top desktop translation software
To learn more about Smartcat, Memsource, MemoQ, Trados, and their competitors, head over to our Top Translation Software Tools in 2022 — Some Even Free! article reviewing each tool.