Nimdzi, the localisation industry insights specialist, said, “The language services market is probably the biggest industry most people have never heard of. Yet, in many ways, it is a shadow industry that is driving the growth of all global brands.”
We couldn’t agree more.
And with a staggering projected annual growth rate of between 4.6% to 6.5% from 2024 to 2032, some experts expect the localisation market to reach a valuation of $108.9 billion by 2032.
We think that projection is solid, given the industry closed out 2023 at $72.1 bn, beating the previous forecast of $69.3 bn.
But what are the key trends that are going to drive this growth?
Let’s look at some tailwinds and see what they mean for providers and consumers of language services.
1. The rise and rise of automation
One trend is set to stay – the continuous and widespread adoption of automation for service providers and clients alike, in an ever-growing push towards saving money and time.
As one example, certain industry case studies have shown that AI-driven localisation tools have cut the time spent on post-editing by 50%.
So what can we expect to see this year?
We predict wider adoption of Generative AI, plus AI-powered real-time localisation such as remote interpreting services which have already seen a significant increase since the Covid pandemic.
And just this month, Samsung announced that the new wave of Galaxy phones will offer live translation over texts and phone calls.
Personalisation isn’t new, but with the rate of technological advances the world is experiencing these days, new technology is opening up endless new ways for brands to connect better with customers.
For example, a longer, more personalised shopping journey using AI to hyper-localise content on a web page based on your location, time of day, previous browsing history, past purchases etc.
Another example is augmented VR, where brands like L’Oreal let customers try before they buy on their phones.
What does this mean for localisation? Well, there will be more demand for super-native content across more channels. The web is largely still English-only, so there’s a lot of catching up to do.
And what’s driving the trend, apart from tech advances?
Well companies adopting hyper-personalisation witness, on average, a 19% increase in customer satisfaction and a 10-15% growth in revenue.
3. Focus on multilingual SEO
Amazingly, only about 5% of websites have multilingual versions. So there is a lot of content out there that’s still not relevant to much of its audience.
And for any growth marketer, strong SEO is crucial.
From boosting discoverability to conversion rates, right through to loyalty, localising your SEO program is a smart way to boost revenues and your brand’s local recognition.
It’s also a smart “hack” to make a brand look and feel more integrated with the local market since so much SEO is still done in English only.
4. Continuous Localisation in Agile Development
Localisation is increasingly becoming a strategic consideration rather than the final step to getting a product or service to market.
That’s why agile processes are beginning to bring localisation into the development stage, so products are built and released simultaneously in multiple languages.
For example, Microsoft includes localisation in every sprint so that new features are launched globally as standard. More SaaS companies can drastically reduce time to market by including localisation in their agile development cycle.
5. Audiovisual Localisation for Streaming Platforms
Streaming platforms continue to grow, with demand for local (or localised) video content showing no sign of slowing down. And with the help of AI, language barriers are going to become a thing of the past.
Live broadcasting in real-time, championed by the likes of YouTube and Twitch, is another service that’s going to be reaching more people than ever before, thanks to AI.
And multilingual streaming giant Netflix has made the decision to focus on local-for-local content, in a shift from their previous local-for-global strategy. Not satisfied with being the biggest streaming service in the world, they’re making a play for being the number one TV network in every country.
6. Multilingual customer support
Customers are loyal to brands that offer customer care in their language. In fact, 75% of customers in non-English speaking markets said they were more likely to purchase from a brand again if customer care was supplied in their own language (CSA study).
And, again, with the help of AI, offering chatbots, and AI agents, or automated call handling in more languages makes it easier to give customers the support they need in their language.
7. Increased cultural sensitivity
Similar to the trend for hyper-personalisation, getting hyper-local culturally is becoming increasingly popular.
This links to the wider trend towards focussing on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, but there are specific ways in which it affects localisation efforts.
From growing demand for more accent diversity on TV, to a resurgence in support for local dialects and minority languages, it will be more important than ever to understand your audience and be as culturally aware as possible.
8. High expectations of HR & Internal Comms
Since Covid, workplaces are more global than ever before. Over 40% of us either work from home all the time or have a hybrid working pattern.
Not being tied to a fixed physical office poses two challenges for People teams.
Firstly, less reliance on geography means more global hiring, so it’s becoming more likely your colleagues will be from different cultures (and perhaps speaking different languages).
And secondly, how to build and maintain a sense of team and shared brand culture when you might only see your peers once a week, if at all.
HR & Internal Comms are picking up a lot of the burden here, and getting your company communications to be as relevant and engaging as possible is a key way to boost productivity and, ultimately, profitability. Get translating and localising!
9. The eLearning boom
We know that learning in your mother tongue boosts outcomes by 30%.
So, no crystal ball is needed here – demand for localised eLearning content, from video to text and everything in between, will continue to grow exponentially this year. Some analysts have said the eLearning industry will be worth a whopping $1 trillion by 2032.
10. More focus on ROI
As more brands go global and investment in localisation continues to grow, it’s only natural that we can expect more rigorous scrutiny on spend and return this year.
The trick will be to agree on KPIs and success allocation to localisation efforts. We wrote a blog on just this a few weeks ago.
11. Wildcard: Greater attention to the Hindi language
India is the 6th largest economy globally, and analysts say it will be the superstar of growth in the near term.
Only 12% of the population speak English natively, and of the many people who speak it as a second language, degrees of fluency vary widely.
Hindi is also a “low resource” language, meaning the quality of content generated by current LLM engines is relatively low, simply because the models have less access to high quality or the volumes of data in this language.
With demand on the rise for native Hindi products, services, and experiences, we’re predicting a surge in demand for localisation into Hindi and perhaps some ChatGPT-type engines specifically targeting Indian users.
How can Comtec help?
Our success lies in our clients’ success, and whatever challenge you’re facing, we can help.
We like to think of ourselves as an extension of our clients’ teams, as we’re as invested in the outcome as you are. Our reputation depends on exceeding our clients’ expectations.
From marketing to eLearning, HR and Internal Comms, to the F&B industry, we know our stuff. We’ve been in business for over 40 years, and have built an incredible team of expert humans powered by the latest technology.
We offer a complete range of localisation services from pure copywriting to AI-powered machine translation, cultural awareness training to subtitling and voiceover work. Whatever your need, we’ve got you covered.
Want a no-obligation, friendly chat about how we could help your brand reach new audiences?
Get in touch today and see how Comtec can help you take your business global.
*Disclaimer: The stats and facts quoted in this blog come from a variety of sources, and can vary from source to source.