10 April 2013

LT2013: Status and Potential of the European Language Technology Markets - Executive Summary

On 8 April, LT-Innovate released a landmark report which provides a comprehensive survey of the state of the Language Technology (LT) market in Europe today and projections for the next five years. It is divided into six parts, covering global trends in the ICT ecosystem, an analysis of specific trends in the LT industry, an exploration of innovation options for European LT companies, and a detailed account of the three strategic technology segments of speech interaction, multilingual communication and translation, and intelligent content that make up the LT market.

Mobile communications, cloud service models and social media are transforming the way citizens, companies and public administrations act in the digital world. This report identifies three deep trends driving nextgeneration ICT that will open up significant opportunities for LT:
  • Unified Communication: cross‐platform, multimodal and multilingual. Mobile connectivity and service unification across devices and platforms will offer business and consumer users seamless communications 
  • Unified Information Access: in any language and across languages. This will remove barriers to content and enable integrated messaging, conferencing, collaboration, content ‐ and data‐sharing based on intelligent content and applications, multilingual and interactive systems and technologies.
  • Unified User Experience, based on natural interaction with machines and processes, in any language.
This will remove barriers to the access, use and understanding of information from large volumes of unstructured, semi‐structured, and structured data. LT is the critical enabling technology for each of these fundamental trends and stands to benefit from the emerging interconnections between interaction (speech), information processing (intelligent content) and automatic translation in a multilingual connected digital space. It is therefore vital for the European LT industry to embrace and foster the opportunities the rapidly evolving ICT eco‐system offers and to pursue a dynamic innovation agenda ahead of its competitors globally.
LT‐Innovate has developed a market model to estimate the size of LT market in terms of sales and services.

The worldwide LT market is worth around €19.3B today and should grow to nearly €30B by 2015. The European speech technology market is growing by 9.7%; and should grow to €8.6B by 2015. The intelligent content market is set to grow to €6.2B. The translation technology market is worth some €8.6B and should grow to €14.9B. The growth rates in the “Rest of the World (ROW)” markets should be significantly higher than in Europe and the Americas as these emerging markets mature. The translation technology segment will continue to dominate the European LT market.

In terms of market participants, there are some 500 European companies actively developing or integrating LT, most of them still small companies and all too often, focus on niches in their national (language) markets. However, the European LT industry is gradually moving LT up the value chain into mainstream applications and markets. Furthermore, the gaps in language coverage for speech and content technology, and the potential to create a demand‐driven dynamic holds significant potential for growth of the LT industry across Europe.

To facilitate this strategic growth, it is suggested that the pace of development could be accelerated through collaborative innovation bringing together LT companies with their peers and other corporate actors and buyers across the ICT value chain. Various scenarios for this process are explored in the Report.The final three sections analyse in detail the history, companies and product/service offerings in the key LT segments of speech, translation and intelligent content technology, providing a guide to key players and their role for the three different application areas.

Download the full report here.

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