And Then There Were 3

The translation industry used to have four vendors that towered over everyone else: Bowne Global Solutions, Berlitz GlobalNet, Lionbridge, and SDL International. In September, Bowne bought Berlitz, and then there were three.

Check out the article: Bowne translates strategy into growth

What I find interesting is what a tough time these big vendors are having making a profit. Everyone thought consolidation was the key to success, and Bowne went on a buying spree, as did Lionbridge and SDL. Now they have loans to pay and the revenues aren’t quite what they hoped. They bought market share and then the market shrunk. Temporarily, we hope.

I am fairly optimistic about the big 3. And in many ways the industry needs a big 3 — large firms that can pump serious money into serious advertising and PR, helping educate corporate America about the value of translation. (I can’t tell you how many execs I talk to who think computers are going to wipe out the entire industry in a year or two.)

But those advertising plans are going to be on hold for awhile, at least until the bills get paid down a bit and corporate America starts spending again.

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