GALA 2011: Where Do Language Services Fit in the “Real Economy”?

The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) puts on its third annual conference in Lisbon on March 28-30, 2011.

Where Do Language Services Fit in the “Real Economy”?

Presented by Don DePalma of Common Sense Advisory (CSA). CSA has tracked industry confidence with quarterly surveys of buyers and suppliers of language services. This time, CSA conducted a year-to-year industry analysis, comparing the results of this study against general economic data.

According to Don, the language services market and the “real economy” are interdependent.

The language services market stats:

  • 25,000 LSPs worldwide
  • By 2015, the market will reach 38.15 billion USD
  • In 2010, the language services market grew at an annual rate of 13.15%
  • Translation accounted for 43.27% of the total language services market in 2010 (followed by on-site interpreting and software localization at 12.95% and 7.14% respectively)

Business Confidence Study:

  • Conducted on a quarterly basis since July 2004
  • Two separate surveys, one for buyers and one for suppliers
  • Buyers are lot more conservative than providers in the Global Business Confidence Index
  • Volume of demand estimated vs. actual: very close; reliable indicator of what will happen
  • Employment estimated vs. actual: off the mark; not a reliable indicator

Global Business Confidence Index (GBCI) vs. Economic Data:

  • Gross Domestic Product: tracks similarly
  • Unemployment Rates: divergence during the recession
  • Consumer Price Index: divergence during the recession (“black swan” scenario)
  • Consumer Confidence: convergence in 2009 and 2010


  • Providers need to rely more on the guidance of their buyers, who live and die by market trends
  • Everyone should factor into their planning process an array of macro-economic indicators
  • Buyers and suppliers should be responsive to the trends without radical whipsawing

CSA Surveys: