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Amplexor joins Acolad Group

Mergers and Acquisitions

Acolad, a language service provider based in the Ile-de-France just announced that they are “joining forces” with Amplexor, based in Bertrange in Luxembourg. The acquisition will make Acolad Group the biggest LSP headquartered in mainland Europe, and the seventh-biggest LSP globally.

“Joining forces with Amplexor will reinforce our technological excellence and global footprint,” Acolad stated with the announcement.

This consolidation is contingent upon necessary antitrust approvals, and will be completed by the end of the 2020 fourth quarter. “We are really happy about this agreement and confident the EU will validate the deal soon,” said Victoria Weidemann, CMO of the Acolad Group. When the deal is confirmed, the Acolad Group will employ over 2,000 individuals. Their combined turnover from last year would total over 270 million euros. However, Acolad will not acquire all of Amplexor — the deal excludes some business segments of Amplexor.

“Amplexor is a major player on the market. When we started learning more about the group, we identified so many complementarities that this deal quickly became a no-brainer for us. I am particularly proud that we will team up to confirm our leadership in life sciences and the public sector as well as on the US market, where Acolad has been seeing increased traction,” said Benjamin du Fraysseix, president of the Acolad Group.

“Together, Amplexor and Acolad have the industry knowledge, strategy, and leadership to solidify and expand their position as a major force in the content and language services industry worldwide. I’ve been admiring Acolad’s stronghold in Benelux, Southern and Northern Europe,” said Amplexor CEO Mark Evenepoel.

Amplexor and Acolad will combine their client and solution portfolios in industries such as life sciences, manufacturing, IT, finance, consumer goods and the public sector, with Amplexor remaining a major vendor to EU institutions. Amplexor will also bring a portfolio of digital solutions to the Acolad Group, including content management, global compliance, and digital experience.

The merger is the second this month that reorganizes the top ten biggest LSPs in the world. The deal follows only weeks after RWS announced it was going to acquire SDL in a billion-dollar deal. Asked about his thoughts on RWS-SDL, du Fraysseix said, “It makes sense, for the same reasons — we feel our deal is quite similar to this deal, even though smaller in size.”

CSA Research released a graphic tracing the changes to the top ten since 2005, newly updated this morning to reflect the Acolad/Amplexor acquistion. The Nimdzi top LSPs breakdown from earlier this year had Amplexor already listed as the tenth-biggest provider.

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BIG Acquires ISI Language Solutions

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions, Translation

ISI Language Solutions will offer BIG specialization in healthcare and insurance translation and localization solutions.

In an already-busy season for acquisitions, Atlanta-based BIG Language Solutions (BIG) has announced the acquisition of healthcare and insurance specialist ISI Language Solutions, a provider of industry specific language access and localization solutions, for an undisclosed sum. ISI Language Solutions provides services like translation and localization, onsite interpreting, over-the-phone interpreting, video remote interpreting, alternative formats (large print, Braille, audio), multimedia localization, and linguistic quality assurance technologies.

Advised by Nimdzi in the acquisition, ISI had been listed on the Nimdzi Top 100 largest language service providers in the world several years in a row. Nimdzi Insights M&A advisor Jonathan Otis said, “Nimdzi has enjoyed working with ISI on many projects over the years, culminating with this successful transaction. We think ISI fits well with BIG and will thrive with the additional resources now available.”

BIG was founded by CEO Jeff Brink in partnership with MSouth Equity Partners, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, in order to assemble a portfolio of high-performing and complementary language service providers, of which ProTranslating was the first. Brink heard about ISI via boutique advisory firm JSquare Conseil, which advised on Acolad’s Telelingua and HL Trad deals.

The acquisition fits well with BIG’s regulated-industry growth strategy, which involves investing in technology and growth, according to Brink.

ISI was founded in 1982 by George Rimalower — the son of Holocaust survivors who fled Nazi Germany. ISI owners Emilie Villeneuve and Michael Bearden were long-term employees for ISI before purchasing it from Rimalower in 2012. Villeneuve, who began as an assistant, stepped into the role of CEO at the time, while Bearden, who started as a project manager, became president.

As part of BIG’s acquisition of ISI, around 70 ISI employees will join the BIG and ProTranslating organizations. In the COVID-19 environment, nearly all of the due diligence and advising were conducted remotely, via video conferencing and daily calls — and in the end, the remote work paid off.

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Disney Partners with Translation in New Ad Campaign

Business News

With the aim of capturing greater multicultural representation, Disney Advertising Sales has officially announced its partnership with Translation for its newest ad campaign.

Earlier this year, Disney Advertising Sales and Translation LLC began negotiations on a partnership to develop advertisements with greater, more organic multicultural reach. Due to the onset of the pandemic, however, delays had prevented the two from finalizing the collaboration until just last week.

Operating for over 15 years, Translation has made its mark on several industries, working with cultural stars like Jay-Z, Lebron James, James Dolan, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett-Smith to create ad campaigns for the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, State Farm, Nike, and UnitedMasters. Translation even recruited music artist Pusha T to compose the iconic McDonald’s “Ba da ba ba ba, I’m lovin’ it,” jingle.

“As an African-American leader of a mainstream agency for the last 15 years, this was a watershed moment for me, as I’ve been fighting the headwinds of trying to get a seat at the table, to make work for major companies and not be segmented to just the African American audience,” says Translation CEO Steve Stoute. “Now, they’re leaning in, understanding that ethnic insights are the insights of popular culture. Diversity is a way to connect to youth.”

Disney Advertising Sales brands include ESPN, ABC, FreeForm, FX, National Geographic Channel, Disney Channel and the owned-and-operated ABC local TV stations. Translation’s ongoing commitment to multicultural representation paired with a creative behemoth like Disney signals a momentous shift in the movement toward greater inclusivity in popular culture.

“Ultimately, we were in a place where we knew creative storytelling mattered, but we also wanted to be able to scale it across audiences, and scale the expertise with people who had experience with brands on how to make culturally relevant creative stand out in the media business,” says President of Disney Advertising Sales Rita Ferro. “Disney has scale and brands that matter. We wanted to take that as a foundational platform, and use the best brand partnerships—like we did with Steve and Translation on State Farm, and what we did with CreativeWorks with Ford—to create moments that stand out and drive brands’ business.”

One of the first collaborations between Disney and Translation actually came earlier this year during the well-renowned Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance. Airing on Disney-owned ESPN, the State Farm deep fake ad doctors a news anchor’s 1998 report on the Bulls to include popular 2020 slang terms. Although the advertisement was a hit, it also opened a discussion about the ethics of AI, especially in regards to deep fake technology.

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RWS buys SDL to become new language services industry leader

Business News, Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions

When two giants merge, an even bigger one is born — and the language services industry is currently witnessing the birth of its biggest giant ever.

On August 27, 2020, the boards of RWS and SDL announced a deal that will see RWS buying SDL. In the UK’s largest tech deal of the year, RWS has agreed to pay GBP 809 million ($1.066 billion) to buy SDL. While there are still a few more regulatory steps that need to be taken, including official shareholder votes, the details of the deal have already been released.

As it stands, RWS shareholders will own about two-thirds of the combined business, while SDL shareholders will own the remaining third. Over time, the SDL brand is set to disappear and the whole company will be placed under the RWS brand.

What does this mean for the language services industry? MultiLingual spoke with industry experts at Nimdzi Insights to find out.

“The acquisition that RWS and SDL just announced first of all means a shift in leadership for the industry,” says Sarah Hickey, chief researcher at Nimdzi Insights. “While RWS and SDL already ranked among the top five companies by revenue in the language industry, until now nobody has posed a significant threat to the leading position of TransPerfect, who’ve held the number one spot on Nimdzi’s ranking of industry leaders for the past three years in a row.”

Hickey adds that, “If we look at their revenues as listed in the Nimdzi 100 ranking in March 2020, RWS and SDL now outperform TransPerfect by almost $170 million and we can expect them to break the USD one billion mark this year. Their combined annual revenue for FY2019 was $934.1 million.”

“The acquisition also means that for the first time in the history of the language services industry, a company from the United Kingdom will be leading the market. Until now, the top three spots in Nimdzi’s ranking were held by companies headquartered in the United States.” Especially given how soon this has come after Brexit and the fact that it’s happening during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hickey believes this could indicate that the UK market is still going strong.

According to Renato Beninatto, language industry veteran and CEO of Nimdzi Insights, “The merger will likely accelerate other deals in the industry. Companies to watch are Lionbridge, Welocalize, Semantix, LanguageWire, and Keywords. As with major mergers that have happened in the past, mergers at the top create new opportunities for players downstream.”

As if to prove his point, the latest acquisition announcement rolled in just a few hours later — coming once again from Europe. Dublin-headquartered game localization leader Keywords Studios (KWS.L) has just announced the acquisition of London-based creative marketing agency Maverick Media. The deal is worth up to GBP 3.6 million ($4.7 million) and is one of a number of acquisitions Keywords Studios has completed in recent months. 

“Keywords Studios is listed on the London stock exchange. Considering their recent M&A activity in combination with the latest RWS and SDL deal, it shows that there’s a lot happening on the UK market right now,” concludes Hickey.

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Gallaudet University Partners with Apple and AppTek

Business News, Technology

In a moment when universities need the latest technology more than ever, Gallaudet University has announced two important partnerships with Apple and AppTek, which aim to provide its deaf and hard-of-hearing students with tools necessary to succeed in an increasingly technological world.

As the fall term commences, Gallaudet University has announced a couple exciting pieces of news for its deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Gallaudet is a federally chartered private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing located in Washington, D.C. In a statement on Thursday morning, Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano announced that the university would begin a partnership with Apple to improve access and expand academic and career opportunities for Gallaudet students.

In her statement, the president said, “Beginning this fall, Gallaudet will provide all students and faculty with an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and SmartFolio for iPad Pro to support their learning and teaching. Students and teachers at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center will also participate in this new initiative.”

Providing students better access to the most up-to-date technology, the partnership will also establish an Apple scholarship program for students of color with disabilities. The scholarship will go to students pursuing studies in information technology, computer science, and other science, technology, and math related fields.

“Gallaudet has been at the forefront of advancing education and acceptance of Deaf culture in this country for more than 150 years,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “We are honored to work together with this incredible institution to create even more opportunities for Gallaudet students and for all underserved and underrepresented communities.”

Furthermore, through the Connected Gallaudet initiative, Gallaudet students will participate in research projects to design bilingual applications. One project in particular was also announced this week, which revealed a partnership between Gallaudet University and AppTek, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for automatic speech recognition (ASR) and machine translation (MT).

This application aims to provide video conference participants with live closed captions and deliver more control of the user interface (UI), allowing users to enhance the readability of real-time conversation transcripts and enjoy a more meaningful flow of spoken content.

“While much of the world is relying heavily on videoconferencing applications to communicate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, commonly used applications unfortunately do not provide reliable, real-time capabilities that allow deaf and hard of hearing participants to engage fully,” said Mike Veronis, AppTek Chief Revenue Officer and Program Manager for the 21st Century Closed Captioning project. “We are passionate about and humbled at the opportunity to collaborate with Gallaudet on bridging that gap by developing new tools to give the deaf community greater freedom, control, and access to virtual communication.”

Integrating AppTek’s ASR platform, the application will incorporate the latest AI and ML technologies to enable this assistive service, which will be available to users on demand. Over time, Gallaudet also intends to incorporate multilingual capabilities using AppTek’s Multilingual Automatic Speech Recognition and Neural Machine Translation technologies.

Along with new technology and the application development project, Gallaudet University will also grant some students the opportunity to take part in the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (AWDC) through the partnership with Apple. The annual event brings together over 5,000 developers, innovators, and entrepreneurs for engineering sessions, forums, laboratories, and keynote presentations about the latest app and software innovation.

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Journalist at MultiLingual Magazine | + posts

Jonathan Pyner is a poet, freelance writer, and translator. He has worked as an educator for nearly a decade in the US and Taiwan, and he recently completed a master’s of fine arts in creative writing.

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Moscow Translation Club Transforms to Russian Association of Translation Companies

Business News

The Moscow Translation Club has evolved into the Russian Association of Translation Companies — the localization industry’s newest association.

The Russian Association of Translation Companies (RATC) was officially registered with the Russian Federation government in July, and is on track to join the European Union of Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC).

Active member and co-founder of the Moscow Translation Club (MTC) Janus Worldwide announced the official registration of the RATC, an association that complies with Russian law and begins with 12 companies from across the Russian Federation. MTC members will become primary members of the association, and will be presented in the first RATC board. Margarita Yegorova of MegaText — a translation agency and board member of MTC — will serve as president, supervise activity, and represent the RATC in an official capacity.

Moreover, the three vice presidents — Serge Gladkoff of Logrus Global, Konstantin Josseliani of Janus Worldwide, and Alexey Shesterikov of Awatera — will take over the responsibilities of setting up international operations. Chair of the board Nikolay Kulikov of AKM Translations will manage the board and the association, and coordinate its governing bodies.

Founded in 2014 by leading Russian translation companies, the MTC arranges events to discuss issues in the translation and localization industry. Members of the MTC came up with the idea to obtain legal status for the RATC to protect the interests of the industry and promote its development with legal standing.

As founder of the MTC and president of the largest translation company in Russia, Josseliani hopes to apply his experience to the RATC to benefit the translation industry as a whole. He will manage cooperation with Russian legal entities and social organizations, procedural work, and any other responsibilities deemed necessary by RATC members.

Now that the registration has taken place, the association is slated to join the EUATC, which will enable exchange in and representation of the Russian translation industry. “We have been working with leading members of the Moscow Translation Club since last year providing them with our guidance on how to go about forming an association,” said Geoffrey Bowden, secretary of EUATC. “While there are some formalities to go through, we anticipate that the Russian Association will be admitted into membership of the EUATC at its next virtual General Meeting on September 18.”

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Friday Roundup | Aug 14, 2020

Business News, Friday Roundup

An end-of-the-week recap of localization industry news you may have missed

Eurotranslate moves offices

Eurotranslate has moved to a new office space. The new address is still in Zemun, Belgrade, at Glavna 26.

Squadle adds Spanish translation to its digital food safety applications

Digital food safety company Squadle creates apps that enable multi-unit operators, convenience stores, and retailers to streamline food safety in the United States. It just added Spanish translation as part of a series of upgrade to its systems. Along with upgrades to dashboards, manager reporting software, a ZeroTouch food monitor, and a COVID-19 safety procedure checklist, the addition of Spanish-English translation should help restaurants deliver a safer dining experience.

AI translation market report gets global treatment

A report on the global AI translation market has been released by BisReports. Information on the report just came out in French, but the report is offered in English. The report analyzes big players such as SoundAI, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Alibaba, NetEase, Souhu, Tencent, and ByteDance.

InterpretCloud launches

InterpretCloud is a remote simultaneous interpreting solution that can connect with any meeting platform to support multilingual events, meetings and conferences anywhere — any size and in any language.

SDL launches SDL Trados Studio 2021 and SDL Trados Live

SDL (LSE: SDL) announced the launch of SDL Trados Studio 2021, a hybrid translation solution offering flexibility for busy translators and project managers. SDL Trados Studio 2021 comes with new features and functionality, including:

SDL Trados Live. Powered by SDL Language Cloud, this new translation productivity cloud works with SDL Trados Studio to bring users an online translation editor, coupled with a web-based project management and revision experience.

SDL Trados Live Mobile App. Available to download for free from the Google Play and the Apple App Store, the SDL Trados Live app gives users the added flexibility of being able to manage translation projects from anywhere.

Subscription-based licensing. Following in the footsteps of many other software packages, from Microsoft Office to Adobe, SDL is offering an annual subscription to SDL Trados Studio 2021 for both the Professional and Freelance editions.

Improved productivity. For users with a focus on desktop, the SDL Trados Studio 2021 desktop app includes a number of productivity-enhancing features. The translation memory (TM) engine has been enhanced to deliver better results, and quality assurance (QA) checks are also improved due to new intelligent TM technology.

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An Interview With Christoffer Nilsson

Business News, Localization Technology, Multimedia Translation

By the looks of his LinkedIn profile, Christoffer Nilsson is nothing short of a true startup success story. Christoffer NilssonEven before graduating from Lund University, Sweden, he had co-founded Atod AB and Keyfactor AB, both game-related companies. Chris went on to become CEO of Warthog Sweden, managing director of Eidos Studios, and has managed the development of 20+ commercial video game projects. Since 2009, he has been managing director of LocalizeDirect, currently developing localization tools for the games industry.

We reached out to hear more about Gridly, a new CMS for digital games that is now running in beta and recently drew a $1.1 million investment from IKEA Family Foundation and other venture capitalists.

Gridly aims to become a competitive CMS for multilingual game projects. How do you foresee distinguishing Gridly from other systems?
The main differentiator is that we built a headless CMS tailor-made for the games industry. There are great tools to help developers with version control of simple files, like for your 3D meshes and textures. Gridly manages structured data, say an in-app purchase object that requires a combination of data types such as a name, a price, an image showing the item, and a description that needs translation into multiple languages. Gridly can then give business analysts access to change the price, and have translators and proofreaders edit the target languages, as well as keep track if any translation needs to be updated due to changes in the source string.

What is behind Gridly’s focus on game localization?
We chose to build localization into Gridly at the core, as localization is such a key element in the update cycle of games. It is also very hard to manage with a conventional file-based version control system. Gridly actually version controls every single string separately, making it easy to roll back to an earlier version. For more than ten years, we’ve been offering a localization management system to game developers called LocDirect. Many of the best game developers in the world are using LocDirect. So with Gridly, we took all the learnings and best practices from LocDirect and built into Gridly.

Besides the games industry specialty, are you trying to focus on a specific geographic area with this new CMS?
No, we have clients in more than 60 countries, so it is a global product.

Will Gridly offer anything innovative with regards to workflow?
Yes, we’re making it very easy for developers to customize Gridly and set up their workflows. We also offer strong support for multi-step localization, where you may start translating from Chinese to English, and then from English, go global. We also have support for managing audio in the localization flow.

How was the connection made with Entreprenörinvest? What is their interest in the language or gaming industry?
We went out to look for a partner who could provide “smart money” and be part of our journey onward. About 12 months ago, we started discussions with Jan Andersson, who is on the board of directors of both Entreprenörinvest and Innovum Invest. Jan had previously founded and exited a large software company in our region, so he had been on our radar for quite a while. They liked the combination of being part of the growing game sector with a de-risked entity. One could say that we’re selling the shovels to the game gold-diggers.

 

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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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