global staffig

Language Services Industry Outlook

The “global language services industry was worth approximately 46.52 billion U.S. dollars in 2018” and is expected to reach USD 56 billion by 2021.1 As more and more businesses expand into new geographies, the need for language services will continue to grow – and global staffing solutions will continue to play an increasingly significant role, leveraging some of the world’s top talent.

Language services providers (LSPs) offer a plethora of specialized services. Ranging from localization experts and engineers, DTPers, and multimedia specialists, to project managers and coordinators, vendor managers, QA specialists and more, LSPs are regularly on the lookout for professional multilingual talent for their diverse staffing needs. 

No matter what corner of the globe, LSPs are tasked with finding, vetting, hiring, and retaining the highest caliber of language services professionals. But despite today’s highly digital world, it is still difficult for many LSPs to create successful multicultural connections beyond their own borders. 

Common Challenges For Hiring Managers

The below table highlights some of the most common pain points experienced by LSP hiring managers. 

Common LSP Staffing Pain Points
Too many hours and too many resources invested
Inability to find candidates with specialized skill sets
Stress over negotiating salaries
Everchanging labor laws, especially with contracted workers*
Limited pool of LSP professionals

*California’s new AB5, which went into effect in January, 2020, has caused a great stir within the US language services industry. According to the law, translators and interpreters must now be reclassified as “employees” yet LSPs cannot justify (nor can many afford) onboarding their independent contractors (ICs) into full-time – or even part-time – positions. As a result, LSPs might wish to consider hiring overseas LSP professionals.

Other common challenges include the high salary and benefit expectations of candidates and a lack of desire to work during unsocial hours (ex. the night shift or over the weekend). Complicating matters further, employers in the United States and in Europe experience a rather high employee turnover rate. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Americans will change jobs in a lifetime an average of 12 times.2 By comparison, “a UK worker will change employer[s] every five years on average.”3 How do hiring managers keep up with the continuous staffing demand in light of these challenges?

One viable alternative is to partner with a global staffing agency. Businesses small, medium, and large are outsourcing work and hiring overseas. Once you get by the legal red tape, hiring overseas allows you to find highly sought-after talent with unique skill sets – something very appealing to the language services industry. 

Staffing Solutions for LSPs – Filling in the Talent Gaps

Although there are several staffing agencies that claim to have the perfect solution to your recruitment needs, a number of factors should be considered before you sign on the dotted line. First, it is important that you identify your objectives. Are you interested in direct hires, temporary-to-hire candidates, seasonal workers, or independent contractors? Does the staffing agency have experience recruiting candidates for the language services industry? If so, what is their track record? Before signing any contracts, go ahead and interview the agency just as you would an employee to ensure they are the right fit for your organization. The following top four differentiators will help guide you in your search.


Some LSPs strictly need a liaison to help find successful candidates for direct hire. Others, however, require an agency to provide ongoing services, including IC contracts, office space, operational supervision, and salary and benefits management. Look for staffing agencies that are fully committed to your needs and are flexible enough to adapt their solutions just for you. And going the extra mile doesn’t hurt either – keep an eye out for agencies that are able to help you draft job descriptions and create the ideal candidate profile.

Training and Supervision 

Some LSPs do not have the time nor the resources to train new hires. If this is the case, look for agencies that not only find experienced candidates but train them for you as well. There are even agencies that are able to offer a workspace within their offices if you are uncomfortable with a work-from-home scenario yet require a remote location for your employee. These specialized agencies not only create an appropriate workspace for your new recruits but will also help with supervision. 


Partnering with a global recruitment agency that offers professional payroll services greatly reduces the in-house administrative burden, and for some LSPs, this is just what they’re looking for. Depending on the agency, some administrative services might also include payroll processing, payroll tax administration, invoicing, timekeeping, custom reporting, and more. Global payroll services save you money and help to minimize your liability and responsibility to comply with several regulations.* If you require a specialized workforce and are looking to expand your team abroad, partner with a global staffing agency that can help you manage your new hires. 

*”As a general rule, wages earned by nonresident aliens for services performed outside of the United States for any employer are foreign source income and therefore are not subject to reporting and withholding of U.S. federal income tax.4 However, it is important that the IC not be deemed an employee under the applicable US and foreign labor laws (ex. ideally, ICs should set their own wages and be free from the hiring company’s control in how they perform their work. Additionally, their duties should be “outside” the usual course of your business).

Screening and Testing

Some recruiters have their own human resources department and can carefully screen resumes, check references, interview candidates, confirm academic backgrounds, and evaluate their previous experience. Sometimes specific tests are also required, especially in the language services industry. Working with a recruitment agency that specializes in global staffing will ensure your candidates are not only language proficient but also possess the technical skills required for your LSP. 

Make Every Hire Count – Partner with a Global Staffing Agency

As companies continue to expand operations overseas, the language services industry will continue to be in high demand. For LSPs wishing to compete on the global stage, this means building and maintaining a linguistically and culturally diverse work environment. Global staffing agencies have an excellent command of the language services talent landscape. They listen attentively to their customers’ needs and then get to work, finding, vetting, and interviewing high-quality candidates in a timely fashion.

When it comes to hiring for your LSP, make every hire count by partnering with experienced global staffing specialists. 


1 Nace, Shaun. “Topic: Language Services Industry in the U.S.”,

2 “Number of Jobs, Labor Market Experience, and Earnings Growth: Results From a National Longitudinal Survey.” US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 22 Aug. 2019,

3 Hope, Katie. “How Long Should You Stay in One Job?” BBC News, BBC, 1 Feb. 2017,

4 “Persons Employed Abroad by a U.S. Person: Internal Revenue Service.” Persons Employed Abroad by a U.S. Person | Internal Revenue Service,

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