This time last year, we were looking at prediction for how the language industry would be affected in 2021 by the changes happening across the country. Today, we are looking back to reflect on the actual effects of these changes. These findings are from the ATC Language Industry Report for 2021.
The ATC report is surprisingly positive considering the disruptions to both public and business life over the last year. Findings indicate that half of the Language Service Providers (LSPs) were concern about Brexit. They also expressed that COVID-19 had a noticeable impact on their financial standings. Despite this, half of the companies in the report had positive growth. Additionally, over 2021 the market for language services within the UK has continued to grow.
The Impact of Brexit
Unsurprisingly, Brexit has been on the minds of many LSPs in the report. This is primarily because the EU is the strongest revenue generator for language service companies in the UK. Since Brexit came into effect, LSPs have highlighted the main challenges as being the acquisition of new talent and clients moving away from the UK.
Closer looks at the data gathered by ATC indicate that the LSPs most concerned about the impact of Brexit were those with clients representing most of their revenue stream. Meanwhile, LSPs who do most of their business with clients within the UK or the US were less concerned about the effects of Brexit and suffered less of an impact altogether.
For more information on how Brexit has affected the language industry see our post Outlining Post-Brexit Development.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had more of a demonstrable effect on the language industry over the last year. 60% of respondents to the ATC report highlighted a decrease or loss of existing business. Moreover, 41.3% reported suspension or termination of work from clients or government contracts. It is worth noting that 100% of companies that reported cash flow issues were small companies with revenues of <£500,000.
Like other industries, a key response to the pandemic has been a shift to remote work. ATC’s report indicates that almost 80% of language service companies have a positive view of remote work. Similarly, 26% are considering offering remote work as a permanent option to their employees. However, the main caveat, identified by 10% of companies in the report, were security concerns moving forward.
Despite COVID’s chaos, 40% of companies report that their profitability in fact increased. A further 31% reported that their profitability stayed level. The increase of this profitability is being attributed to the decrease in expenses for travel, office maintenance and events. Could this herald a larger shift to remote work beyond COVID-19? It is too early to tell, but here at Translate UK we have maintained an incredibly reliable network of remote interpreters. By catering to remote as well as face-to-face appointments we can provide a flexible service suitable to any customer.
Language Industry Report 2021 – Final Thoughts
Perhaps the most surprising finding in the report the general stability in both translation and interpreting prices. Despite the impact of Brexit and COVID-19, prices have mostly remained stable. Though there have been some price hikes in interpreting services, this is dwarfed by the reports of price stability.
Some companies also reported reducing their prices over the latest financial period to keep up with the competition. As well as all the above, ATC’s report sheds light on various other facets of what has been an incredibly unique year for the language industry. Some topics include staff and hiring trends, advancements in technology and the ways in which salary has been evolving. Translate UK highly recommend giving it a read through.