How Many Professional Language Interpreters Are There Worldwide?

Article in partnership with Day Interpreting. Have you ever wondered how many professional language interpreters are working around the world? Is it just me? When I was choosing which University degree to do, I was torn between language interpreting and Political Science. Although languages were my first love, I actually failed the admission exam to join the course, so I ended up studying Political Science as my backup plan. The moral of the story is that I have so much admiration for professional language interpreters because their job is extremely tough on so many levels.

Throwing Some Stats Around

Let’s dig for some more data about the language industry around the world. It is worth noting that it is not straightforward to find complete and accurate data about translators and interpreters, particularly interpreters for some reason. There is information available about general trends in the language translation services industry but drilling down into more detailed analysis is not easy.

How Many Professional Language Interpreters Work in the USA?

According to the website Statista, which collated data between 2012 and 2022, there were more than 500,000 professional translators and interpreters in the US. The same website quoted that in 2022 it was estimated that the global language services industry was $60 billion, a jump from $52 billion estimated just two years earlier. The website Businesswire forecasts that the sector will grow to almost $77 billion in 2024.

How Many Language Interpreters Work Worldwide?

According to the website Redokum there are almost 650,000 translators worldwide. Figures for professional language interpreters are not easy to find.

How Many Language Interpreters Work in the EU?

European institutions such as the European Parliament and European Commission employ almost 1,000 people working with language translations including support staff, of whom about 650 are language translators.

How Many Language Interpreters Graduate Each Year?

If you ask this question in a search engine you are unlikely to find an answer. While this would be the perfect title for a blog post, it also raises the issue that there isn’t enough data available about language interpreters.

The most likely way to obtain information about how many graduates complete their language interpretation course each year is to look at individual universities offering interpreting degree courses and then see how many people graduate from these courses in any academic year.

For example, I live in Ireland and according to publicly available information, currently only the University of Galway has degree courses and Masters in conference interpreting (source: Translators Association in Ireland). Another Irish University, in Cork, for example offers translation studies courses.