INDUSTRY REPORT: Translation and Interpretation Services

This is part of a series reviewing industries that have experienced greater than 40% employment growth since 2007. Click here to see the summary. Data and analysis comes from Analyst and EMSI’s latest data release (2011.4). Contact Rob Sentz (rob@economicmodeling.com) with questions. You can also follow EMSI @DesktopEcon.

Since 2007, a time when most of the economy was taking a severe beating, translation and interpretation services have grown by about 50%. According to NAICS, this industry (541930) “comprises establishments primarily engaged in translating written material and interpreting speech from one language to another and establishments primarily engaged in providing sign language services.”

Here is an overview:

In the U.S. there are currently 3,000 establishments, or places of work, that provide translation services. From 2007 to 2011, the industry created over 7,000 new jobs and now has nearly 22,000 estimated jobs. Over 60% of the people employed in this sector are female and more than 50% are younger workers — between the ages of 25 and 44.

Below is a closer look at some of the top occupations in the translation industry.

  • One in five in the the workforce (over 4,000) are employed as interviewers.
  • Survey and market researchers make up another 12% of the industry.
  • Interpreters and translators compose over 5% of the industry.
  • Customer service also plays an important role in this industry. It is increasingly common to see customer service reps as key parts of industry staffing patterns.

Now, here is a look at where translation services are concentrated.

State Name 2007 Jobs 2011 Jobs % Change 2011 Avg. Annual Wage 2007 National Location Quotient
Total 14606 21742 0.49 55170
California 2,849 4,330 52% $62,342 1.69
New York 1,434 1,778 24% $59,306 1.57
Texas 1,177 1,776 51% $50,536 1.07
Virginia 538 1,312 144% $104,008 1.32
Florida 621 1,084 75% $43,778 0.73
Colorado 426 710 67% $41,023 1.71
North Carolina 384 707 84% $74,344 0.86
Maryland 656 676 3% $57,521 2.36
Oregon 409 634 55% $42,882 2.21
Ohio 337 628 86% $49,014 0.59
Illinois 342 611 79% $45,647 0.54
Arizona 310 598 93% $40,559 1.09
Georgia 375 586 56% $53,515 0.84
Washington 453 559 23% $37,706 1.42
Massachusetts 490 542 11% $74,783 1.42
Pennsylvania 343 517 51% $45,395 0.56
Minnesota 352 489 39% $38,746 1.21
Wisconsin 542 477 (12%) $25,271 1.80
Utah 132 422 220% $39,631 1.00
Michigan 327 359 10% $48,349 0.73
New Jersey 183 290 58% $50,820 0.43
Missouri 231 254 10% $37,444 0.78
Tennessee 152 244 61% $40,591 0.52
Louisiana 145 233 61% $82,543 0.71
New Mexico 228 230 1% $23,484 2.54
Indiana 144 222 54% $36,088 0.46
Kansas 101 200 98% $41,497 0.67
Connecticut 126 160 27% $57,890 0.70
Nevada 55 132 140% $70,876 0.40
District of Columbia 148 109 (26%) $63,462 2.00
Nebraska 54 108 100% $53,164 0.54
Kentucky 99 101 2% $31,614 0.50
South Carolina 48 97 102% $40,176 0.23
Maine 56 94 68% $38,592 0.86
Idaho 42 86 105% $61,974 0.58
Iowa 59 59 0% $35,941 0.37
Arkansas 50 55 10% $33,422 0.39
Hawaii 34 49 44% $57,888 0.47
Alabama 28 48 71% $44,808 0.13
New Hampshire 27 45 67% $33,780 0.40
South Dakota 18 35 94% $36,822 0.43
Rhode Island 25 33 32% $39,396 0.48
Oklahoma 27 22 (19%) $41,177 0.16
West Virginia 17 20 18% $38,993 0.22
Mississippi 11 19 73% $51,039 0.09
  •  When it comes to translation services, California is the clear leader. There are currently 4,330 employed, and 1,500 jobs have been created since 2007, which amounts to 52% growth. In addition, California has a higher per capita concentration (1.69 LQ) of translation services as compared to the average state (1.00 LQ).
  •  If we consider pure employment, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Florida are the next states on the list. Translation services employ over 1,000 in each state. Virginia grew by 144% since 2007 and has a very high industry earning figure (over $100,000 per year). This is likely related to its proximity to the nation’s capital.
  • With location quotients above 2.0, Maryland and Oregon have the highest concentration in translation services.
  • Utah has had the fastest percent growth (220% since 2007.

Conclusion

It is always refreshing to see an industry that is thriving, especially during hard times. For more on why this industry is growing, check out this 2009 article from Inc. Magazine.

Welcome to the world of translation services and localization — a multibillion-dollar global market, where companies help bridge the communication gap between clients, businesses and individuals. Many of the high-growth companies on our Inc. 500|5000 list have thrived in this niche area that offers a suite of services from document translation to website localization to multilingual court reporting to oral interpretation.

These companies help bridge the communication gap between clients and businesses worldwide. They understood early on that in a global economy, clear, concise, communication is everything.

Contact us if you have any questions or comments.

2 Responses to “INDUSTRY REPORT: Translation and Interpretation Services”

  1. Cassy

    Translation industry is surely a growing and rich industry. Your post is very informative. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hernán Reitze

    I am the founder and owner of CORPORATE TRANSLATION SERVICES, a translation company based in Chile in 1987.
    We specialize in the translation of English>Spanish and Spanish>English documents of all kinds to national and international corporate clients. We are particularly experienced in legal, business and economic/finance topics.
    Our clients include public and private sector companies and entities, such as BHP Billiton (Minera Escondida), Codelco, Fluor Daniels, Faber Castell, BASF, Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce, the Secretariat of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Trade Commission (Paris), and the International Airline Transportation Association (IATA).
    I would look forward to collaborate with you in your translation projects, as well as to explore the feasibility of joint business ventures in Chile and Latin & Central America.