SDL + TRADOS: The Executive Interview

Last week I interviewed Mark Lancaster, CEO of SDL, and Joe Campbell, CEO of TRADOS (now on the board of SDL), about the merger and their visions for the SDL and the industry.

The good news is that the little semaphore man used by TRADOS will survive the merger. Although he has taken on an SDL shade of green.
sdl semaphore

As for the TRADOS name, it looks like this too will be around for the near future, although I doubt it will be around long term.

I was also somewhat surprised to hear how well TRADOS was doing in enterprise software sales right up to the merger. This bodes very well for getting the merger off to a strong start.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

How does your vision for SDL differ from Lionbridge’s vision?
Mark: We’re trying to minimize the touching of paper as it goes through the cycle rather than deploying bodies in India or China to get the job done — if you use software, you don’t need lots of bodies. We’re an enterprise software vendor with an extensive enterprise services infrastructure. Other service companies are translation companies with a possible minimal investment in a portal. This can never add the value to customers that true tested enterprise software can.
Joe: The easiest distinction is SDL is a solutions company that provides software, knowledge transfer, and services. Lionbridge, on the other hand, is much more about localization services. The localization market has been crying out for leadership in the area of software-based solutions, as opposed to simply integrating service providers. SDL is the one company providing that leadership.

What do you say to translation agencies who are concerned about buying software from a competitor?
Mark: I say that we are selling software that helps LSPs be more productive and achieve higher profitability. There is a huge market for LSPs — where we are not necessarily always going to compete. In fact, I see the LSPs as allies.
Joe: We did not have any cancellations from LSPs since the merger was announced. We’re seeing a major shift with LSPs preferring software solutions as opposed to loose technology fits and continuing to throw bodies at the problem.

How will LSPs benefit from the deal?
Mark: LSPs should get more business out of this rather than less. Corporations are increasingly centralizing their translation processes, and if LSPs support the software tools, they will get more work.

How has TRADOS been doing over the past year in the enterprise market?
Joe: Our enterprise business has been growing exponentially. More than 50% of revenues are now coming out of the enterprise side. We currently have more than 100 enterprise deployments.

SDL has been a very effective marketer of Web globalization solutions. How do you see Web globalization evolving as part of your business?
Mark: The Web is the catalyst. Everything ends up either associated with it or appearing on it, whether its the Internet or intranet. If you’re a global business you’re going to have 90% of your content in a local language. CMS vendors are increasingly asked by their customers for GIM capabilities and are therefore coming to TRADOS and SDL for assistance. I believe the Web is a big driver, and we’re going to continue to focus on the Web.

The full interview is included in the July issue of Global By Design, due out later today.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.