The international language services market

The share of the international language service market in 2016 by continent. Photo credit: lingoking GmbH


More than 6,500 languages are spoken around the world. The global translation industry currently turns over almost EUR 40 billion per year (as at 2015), more than half of which is within Europe.

The growth of the language services market is enormous: according to studies by the Common Sense Advisory  [1] (CSA), an independent consulting firm from Massachusetts specialising in language services, the global language service market had a value of USD 34.8 billion in 2013, almost 37.2 in 2014, and in 2015 it was USD 38.2 billion – resulting in an annual growth rate of 6.46%. In 2015, the revenue was distributed as follows: Europe 53.09%, North America 34.82% and Asia with 10.49%. [2]

An additional increase in turnover is expected in the coming years. The anticipated global turnover for language services already stands at USD 49.8 billion for the year 2019. [3]

According to the Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ), there are 41,000 interpreters and translators in Germany, of which 22,000 work in a freelance capacity. 28,000 of the interpreters and translators in Germany are women, while the remaining 13,000 are men). [4]  In a press release from 2012, the Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ) estimated the current market value in Germany at between 750 million and EUR 1 billion. In comparison: according to a study by the Directorate-General for Translation, the European Union contributed an additional EUR 631 million to the nationwide turnover for translation and interpreting services in 2006. Turnover for Europe came to EUR 8.4 billion in 2009. [5]

CSA published the top 100 leading providers of translation and interpreting services worldwide (Language Service Providers, LSPs) in its 2015 annual report. Lionbridge Technologies (US), TransPerfect (US) and HPP ACG (FR) ranked in the top three spots. [6]


You still want to learn more about the international language services market? Our infographic provides current facts and figures on the LSP market.
(coming soon)

[1] Website:

[2] According to CSA. See:  (Source no longer available)

[3] According to CSA. See: 

[4] as at 2013. See website for the BDÜ: 

[5] BDÜ publishing house: 

[6] According to CSA. See:  (Source no longer available)