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Iyuno Media Group set to Aquire Rival SDI

Mergers and Acquisitions

In a major reconfiguring of the media localization landscape, UK-based media localization provider Iyuno Media Group announced today that it is acquiring its largest rival, SDI Media. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but Iyuno has entered into the agreement with Imagica Group Inc., the current owner of SDI, to acquire 100% of its former rival.

David Lee, executive chairman of Iyuno.

“With both companies’ presence across APAC, EMEA, and the Americas, we are very excited about the opportunity to become the best-in-class global localization services company. We believe the size, scale, technology, and global reach of the combined company will support the growth of our customers, the collective industry, and consumers around the world,” said Iyuno executive chairman David Lee. Lee noted that due to the regulatory review and approval process, the company cannot discuss specific future plans until after the acquisition.

Lee was, however, very optimistic. “Our objective for the future is to continue to deliver the quality and service reliability that customers of both companies have come to know — now on a larger and more expansive scale,” he said.

As the fifth localization M&A announced only this week, this is part of a continuing trend. The week’s earlier announcements involved Ad Astra, Across, Straker and Lingotek, and Memsource and Phrase. “Iyuno’s acquisition of SDI Media is big news for the industry, but not completely unexpected. Last year, we witnessed an increasing M&A trend in the media localization industry, with Iyuno acquiring BTI Studios, and Transperfect acquiring MoGi Group and Lylo,” said Belén Agulló García, lead media localization researcher at Nimdzi Insights.

Once the deal is complete — pending standard reviews — the acquisition will see Iyuno take over ownership of US-headquartered SDI Media, currently the world’s largest pure-play media localization provider by revenue. After the acquisition, Iyuno will the largest. Iyuno generated revenues of $185 million in 2019, while SDI Media brought in $215 million the same year.

García stated that the big players in the media industry — broadcasters, streaming platforms, and film distributors — are increasingly setting highly specialized technical requirements, and are looking for service providers that are able to meet as many of those requirements as possible. “The workflows are more complex than ever, and the time-to-market in this globalized world is just getting shorter and shorter. So content creators need to make their lives easy by choosing the correct vendors. That is why technology is more important than ever, especially amid the pandemic.”

The alliance between Iyuno and SDI Media is a reflection of the media industry’s current needs, said García. “While both companies are well-known for their technology, Iyuno’s technical infrastructure and end-to-end platform for the localization industry plus their latest remote recording developments will add to the vast expertise and network of dubbing studios of SDI Media. This combination will be very attractive to the big players looking for end-to-end, high-quality solutions.”

Just “as Keywords Studios became dominant in the gaming industry,” said García, “we can expect Iyuno to become the consolidator in the media space.” 

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Katie Botkin, Editor-in-Chief at MultiLingual, has a background in linguistics and journalism. She began publishing "multilingual" newsletters at the age of 15, and went on to invest her college and post-graduate career in language learning, teaching and writing. She has extensive experience with niche American microcultures across the political spectrum.

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Weekly Shorts | January 22, 2021

Business News, Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Technology, Terminology, Translation, Translation Technology, Uncategorized, Weekly Shorts

TransPerfect revenue up 11.5 percent

TransPerfect has announced a 2020 year-end revenue of 852 million USD. This is a roughly 11.5 percent increase over 2019’s revenue of 764 million USD.

Volaris buys Across

Canadian private equity firm Volaris Group has purchased Across, a Karlsbad, Germany-based translation management software provider. Deal value was not disclosed.

A Swedish hashtag?

Most language professionals on Twitter use #xl8 to find one another’s tweets, but translator Erik Hansson is pushing for a Swedish language version. The current #xl8 has English language origins, using “x” to represent the “trans” in “translate” and “l8” as a phonetic representation of the rest of the word. “I am not giving up hope,” Hansson tweeted Monday, “One day, more #Swedish #translators on Twitter will finally discover our own hashtag #ovst” — short for översättning, the Swedish word for translation.

American Literary Translators Association awards open

The American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) has officially opened its 2021 award applications. The National Translation Award is given to translated books for both poetry and prose, the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize goes to an English translation from one of any Asian languages, and the Italian Prose in Translation Award (IPTA) is awarded for Italian into English prose.

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Ad Astra Buys MontLingo

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Translation, Translation Technology, Uncategorized

Silver Springs, Maryland-based translation company Ad Astra has bought MontLingo, a language services provider (LSP) in Brossard, Quebec. MontLingo was founded by Bryan Montpetit. Montpetit is well known in the industry for prior sales roles held at various translation software companies as well as for his stent on the Association of Language Companies (ALC) board. Neither LSP responded to inquiries regarding deal value and other details by press time.

MontLingo will become Ad Astra’s first office in Canada, with Montpetit staying on as vice president of marketing.

This is the fourth language industry acquisition MultiLingual has learned about this week. On Monday, Memsource announced its purchase of fellow translation management software (TMS) provider Phrase — formerly known as PhraseApp. Canadian private equity firm Volaris Group also recently acquired Across, a Karlsbad, Germany-based TMS. And yesterday, MultiLingual was first in the localization industry to report on Straker Translation’s acquisition of TMS company Lingotek.

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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Breaking News: Straker Acquires Lingotek

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Technology, Translation Technology, Uncategorized

Australian language services provider Straker Translation has officially purchased American translation tool company Lingotek, according to mandatory public disclosure reporting in Financial Times. Straker Translation is traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Under Australian law, listed corporations must notify the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) when “the products of the merger parties are substitutes or are complementary to each other” — as translation management systems (TMS) and services are to one another. Financial Times  — an Australian business newspaper — shared the news in a running ticker tape of deals at 9:50 am Australian time, January 21 2021.

Grant Straker, Straker founder and chief executive, said the acquisition is key to Straker’s ongoing plans for expansion. The deal brings with it access to 20 enterprise customers and partners, including Oracle and Nike.

This is a roughly US $6.74 million deal, with Straker Translations paying out $5.27 million in cash, and Lingotek receiving the remaining $1.2 million in stock. In 2020, Lingotek’s revenue was $US 7.9 million. The disclosure predicts Straker Translations will therefore reach break-even on the buy during the company’s 2022 fiscal year.

Lingotek is a cloud-based translation services provider, offering translation management software and professional linguistic services for web content, software platforms, product documentation, and electronic documents. In 2006, Lingotek was the first US company to launch a fully online, web-based, computer-assisted translation (CAT) system and pioneered the integration of translation memories (TM) with a main-frame powered machine translation (MT). Since then, the company has been expanding and modifying the tech it offers companies.

In the last six months Straker has seen its share price increase by 50%, and this acquisition is likely to continue to increase Straker’s stock prices.

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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Memsource Buys Phrase

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Translation Technology, Uncategorized

Czech Republic-based translation management system (TMS) Memsource has acquired Phrase, a competing TMS headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. Memsource chief executive officer (CEO) David Čaněk would not disclose the value of the deal, but did indicate it was a predominately stock transaction: “The three founders of Phrase will become shareholders of the Memsource group.”

Phrase — formerly known as PhraseApp — will continue to operate its technology independently of Memsource with Čaněk serving as both business units’ CEO. Čaněk would not disclose Phrase’s annual revenue, but a Memsource news release references Lufthansa Systems and Pizza Hut Digital Ventures as two key Phrase clients. The acquisition was funded by The Carlyle Group — an American private equity corporation that became Memsource’s majority shareholder last July.

In a space that has recently become crowded with multiple small to medium size TMS, MultiLingual asked Čaněk why buy Phrase. “A few reasons,” he emailed, explaining Phrase was “a bootstrapped business — just like Memsource — with a similar culture and a very successful high-growth business complementary to Memsource in many ways,” both in terms of product and European regional focus.

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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Weekly Shorts | January 15, 2021

Business News, Geopolitics, Interpretation, Language in the News, Language Industry News and Events, Localization, Multimedia Translation, Personalization and Design, Technology, Terminology, Translation, Uncategorized, Weekly Shorts

Translation error says Spanish speakers don’t need vaccine

A localization error on the Virginia Department of Health’s website told Spanish speakers they don’t need coronavirus vaccines, according to Norfolk, Virginia newspaper The Virginian-Pilot. Medical students at George Mason University discovered the mistake, which may have stemmed from unclear source text: “Before the faulty translation, the English passage simply meant the vaccine wasn’t mandatory,” the paper reports.

TransPerfect opens Istanbul office

New York-based translation company TransPerfect has opened a new outpost in Istanbul, Turkey. N Can Okay will oversee the office, dealing primarily with talent recruitment, according to a company release.

Neural interpretation from TikTok?

ByteDance, the parent company of international social media platform TikTok, has gotten in the interpreting game, releasing an open source tool named NeurST: Neural Speech Translation Toolkit. Note this is a misnomer, as the tech does not translate written language — rather interprets verbal speech. Full code is available on collaboration portal GitHub.

Nieman Lab predicts non-English news

American journalism think tank The Nieman Lab anticipates the United States will see more non-English news content in 2021 as both translated and in-language reporting increase. “Additionally, we foresee more substantive and equitable partnerships developing between mainstream and ethnic media organizations,” write Stefanie Murray and Anthony Advincula.

ATA accepting conference proposals

The American Translators Association has issued its call for presentation proposals for the association’s October 27-30, 2021 conference. The event will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota with virtual attendance options. Proposals are accepted through March 1.

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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KUDO Marketplace: Democratizing Live Interpretation

Business News, Interpretation

In a conversation with Ewandro Magalhães, chief language officer at KUDO, we learned how the new KUDO Marketplace enables service users to build a stronger relationship with its live interpreters. “This is going to change the whole discussion about quality,” he said. “Because if you ask an interpreter what quality is, they will say it’s all about linguistic quality. If you ask a client, they will say it’s being on time and doing a good job. This means it’s going to democratize the process and the market is going to self-regulate.”

How it works
KUDO is a video collaboration platform with built-in language support offering remote simultaneous interpretation. KUDO Marketplace is the first of three steps to roll out a mutual review-based environment where users can customize their interpreter teams while interpreters have more influence on the work they choose. By using a button to book interpreters, the marketplace will staff any multilingual meeting from its roster of interpreters, based upon who is available, their expertise, and language pairs. This automates the process, bypassing emails, calls, and conversations. In milliseconds, interpreters are paired up with a client. Over time, clients will be able to select the interpreters they liked or who served them before, creating a closer collaboration that will inevitably result in greater confidence going into meetings.

How to customize your team of interpreters using KUDO Marketplace.

Rock star interpreters
When asked if interpreters could have any influence on their rating, for example by broadcasting the hardware they use, Magalhães said, “Eventually there will be a rating system — a star system based on series of assessments made by the clients. In the same way, the users are going to be rated by the interpreters as well. It’s a two-way street.”

How does the marketplace determine who gets access to that rock star interpreter? “If the demand is there there will be enough work for everyone,” said Magalhães. “The idea is to offer vetted interpreters you can rely on and empower interpreters around the world. You’ll get quality, no matter what. The same rates and same compensations are applied no matter the interpreter status or where they are based.” Currently, there are about 150 vetted KUDO Pro interpreters out of a network of 10,000, and the number is being expanded carefully.

Two-way client review.

The next steps are still in the developing phase, but the vision is clear: KUDO is creating an environment where clients and partners have access to a huge database of interpreters and may conduct searches themselves. They can decide to hire through KUDO Marketplace or hire separately.

The live demo this morning at 11:00 am EST was attended by more than 300 people. The Marketplace itself will be available to users on February 1, 2021.

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Marjolein realized early on that the Netherlands was too small for her. After traveling to 30+ countries over the span of 10 years she moved to the United States in 2014. She holds a degree in Communication from the University of Rotterdam and has long had an affinity for creative writing.

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InterpretAmerica Closes

Business News, Interpretation, Language Industry News and Events, Uncategorized

Today marks the last day of operations for InterpretAmerica. Founded in 2009 by Katharine Allen and Barry Slaughter Olsen, the organization served as an open forum to champion the profession of foreign language interpreting.  Over the past 12 years, it hosted multiple conferences of its own as well as partnered with the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) on its Think! series events. Allen and Slaughter Olsen marked the end of their tenure at 11 am Eastern with a memoriam of sorts — a 90 minute conference call celebrating the group’s advocacy efforts.

For those outside the language industry, InterpretAmerica’s best known work may be the video it produced for American business magazine Wired, showing how interpreters do their jobs. While the explainer focused primarily on interpreters working at the United Nations or in other political environments, it did review crucial differences between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting, as well as other basics of the profession.

When asked about their personal favorite projects, though, both Allen and Slaughter Olsen cite Lenguas, a Mexican conference series Slaughter Olsen says “recognize[d] interpreters in conflict zones and the inclusion of so many indigenous interpreters in our activities as peers and colleagues.”

“What really triggered this [closure] was a radical change in my career path,” Slaughter Olsen explains, “In May of 2020 I accepted a position as VP of Client Success at KUDO,” a multilingual web conferencing platform. Allen says she then took “time to decide whether to stay on with InterpretAmerica as a solo effort or maybe with a new partner,” opting to close in the end. Resources presently on the InterpretAmerica website and YouTube channel will remain online indefinitely.

Speakers at today event included interpreting industry leaders from GALA, Certified Languages International, Cross-Cultural Communications, the Coalition of Practicing Translators and Interpreters in California (CoPTIC)​, the American Translators Association (ATA), and others.

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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SBA Closes Comments on Controversial Proposal

Business News, Interpretation, Translation, Uncategorized

Comments are now closed on a controversial proposal from the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Rule SBA-2020-0055-0001 seeks to raise the amount language services companies (LSP’s) could bill a year and still be considered small businesses. Revenue classifications are used by the US government to determine whether enterprises are eligible for small business set-asides — a select number of government contracts awarded to companies that bill less than 8 million USD a year. If successful, the measure would raise this amount to 20 million USD — a threshold where Lindsey Cambardella, chief executive officer of Translation Station in Chamblee, Georgia, says truly “small” LSP’s would no longer be able to compete.

“Arguments may be made that businesses smaller than $8m may not be able to handle larger contracts, but as a company that falls into the $3m – $5m range, I can confirm that we are prepared to handle large projects,” Cambardella wrote on the SBA site, “I do not believe we would be as competitive if we were facing companies as large as $20m.”

Small business classification isn’t just important for companies looking to work with the US federal government. “It also matters for the large primes,” says Bill Rivers, lobbyist for the Association of Language Companies (ALC). Primes are major corporations that win larger government contracts, then outsource part of that work to small businesses. It’s not uncommon for the US federal government to award translation jobs to primes that don’t have any translation capabilities. As a result, this work sometimes trickles down to small business LSP’s.

Initially, ALC was in favor of the change, with Rivers noting in an October 8 blog that raising the amount was one of ALC’s top seven priorities. But as Cambardella and other members have spoken out against the plan, the association has changed its position. “ALC is taking a neutral position now. We had started out supporting this, but as you see, there are a lot of smaller companies that feel they wouldn’t benefit,” Rivers says.

In a December 22 email that went out to members, the ALC explained that “[t]he SBA must consider each and every comment.” Comments are also entered into the permanent record that accompanies any new regulation. “If the regulation is challenged in court, these comments will help guide the courts in their review,” according to ALC.

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Terena Bell is an independent journalist who writes for The Atlantic, Washington Post, Fast Company and others. She is former CEO of In Every Language.

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Beijing subway to standardize English translations

Business News, Language, Language in the News, Personalization and Design, Terminology, Translation, Travel and Culture, Uncategorized

If you’re heading to Beijing you may have to put up with conflicting subway station names — at least for a while. According to news site China Daily, the city has “adopted a new set of English translation methods for the capital’s rail transit stations.” Basically what this means is that the municipal transport commission authority is gradually changing the way stop names are localized into English — both on maps and signs. Trick is, the changes aren’t happening across all materials at once: “Different English translations for a same station may exist over a period of time as the replacement of the signs will be carried out gradually and orderly,” China Daily reports. Early maps with the new names are already available. Distribution began late last year. The signage translation work will start in 2021.

The city’s goal is to provide new stop names that not only reflect the geographic location of a place but its cultural implications — and in a way that enlightens foreign travelers. Subway stop names that previously used pinyin — an adaptation method that uses letters from the Roman alphabet to spell out Chinese words based on sound — will be changed to new names that use the Chinese phonetic alphabet. The first word of each stop name will also be capitalized now with all subsequent letters in lower case. Locations will also be marked by compass direction, using abbreviations like “(N)” for north or “(W)” for west. Well-known subway stops — such as those named after places of historic interest — will not change. For example, 颐和园 and 国家图书馆 will remain Summer Palace and National Library — their already globally-accepted English language translations.

In 2014, a revamp of Hong Kong’s subway translations resulted in The Wall Street Journal mocking Beijing’s by using Baidu’s free online translation portal to derive the paper’s own localization of stop names.

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