SlatorPod is the weekly language industry podcast where we discuss the most important news and trends in translation, localization, and language technology. Brought to you by Slator.com.
#118 Welocalize CEO Smith Yewell on Scaling a Language Industry Super Agency
Smith Yewell, Co-founder and CEO of Welocalize, joins SlatorPod to talk about how the team built the company from the first order, translating a single word 25 years ago, into what is now a global Super Agency.
Smith talks about co-founding Welocalize with wife Julia Yewell in 1997, and how they did not have a common language when they first met. He recalls how he navigated the many complex end-client industries and enterprise functions, especially with the maturation of technology.
The CEO shares the impact private equity investors have had on Welocalize and on the language industry — where roughly a third of the leading 100 LSPs are now PE-backed. He also reflects on the M&A space and shares the strategy behind expanding into digital marketing services as well as tech and patent translation.
Smith concludes with Welocalize’s plans for 2022: strengthening relationships and growth opportunities. He believes innovation around natural language processing (NLP) will change the way we communicate; from chatbots and digital assistance to automobiles and appliances.
First up, Florian and Anna discuss the language industry news of the week, with Google Translate adding 24 languages using zero-shot machine translation. At the Google I/O conference, the search giant also unveiled a smart-glasses prototype that can transcribe, translate, and display what the user is saying on the lenses in real time.
Having previously released a statement in April, saying it was in the “preliminary stages of considering a possible offer,” Baring confirmed they will not proceed with a takeover bid for RWS. Meanwhile, in Australia, the Supreme Court of Victoria has voided the sale of ezispeak to Technologie Fluenti, citing anti-phoenixing laws.
#117 Jeenie CEO Kirsten Brecht Baker on Raising a Series A for Healthcare Interpreting
In this week’s SlatorPod, we are joined by Kirsten Brecht Baker, Co-founder and CEO of Jeenie, an on-demand healthcare interpreting platform that recently raised USD 9.3m in Series A funding.
Kirsten begins with her journey as a daughter of linguists and how she transitioned from working in international education to co-founding Jeenie. She tells us about the pivot to servicing healthcare in the US and how they grew in one of the most competitive spaces in the industry.
The CEO shares her experience partnering with Transformation Capital, a growth equity fund focused on innovative healthcare IT and services companies, in order to scale through hiring and innovate through technology. She talks about the advantages of working remotely versus a hybrid model, such as direct connections from clients to interpreters in as little as 15 seconds.
The pod rounds off with Jeenie’s technology plans for the future with intentional partnerships and integrations with electronic medical records and electronic health records. Kirsten gives her outlook, where she sees a transition from OPI to VRI, and increased communication due to rising migrant trends around the world.
First up, Florian and Anna discuss the language industry news of the week, with two airports in Canada being ordered to pay CAD 20,000 to serial complainant Michel Thibodeau.
In M&A news, Toppan Digital Language, the LSP subsidiary of Singapore-based Toppan Leefung, expanded its London presence with the acquisition of TranslateMedia. Meanwhile, Down Under, the Australian Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity launched the second edition of its national standards for legal interpreting.
Florian talks about Amazon Transcribe’s no-code workflow, which enables video subtitle creation directly within the service.
#116 Leading the World’s Largest Interpreting Service With Genoveva Ruiz Calavera
In this week’s SlatorPod, we are joined by Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Head of the Directorate-General for Interpretation (SCIC) at the European Commission, the world’s largest employer of conference interpreters.
Genoveva reflects back on her 30-year journey working for the European Commission in an array of different roles; and what led her to switch to leading SCIC. She shares SCIC’s mission to provide high-quality conference interpretation to institutions and organize corporate conferences.
The Director-General relays the main challenges she overcame as she stepped into the role in the middle of the pandemic, with Covid disrupting in-person interpretation. Along with a dramatic drop in demand, SCIC had to adjust to a hybrid culture and develop new video-conferencing tools to provide interpreting services during the global crisis.
Genoveva also talks about working with the European Parliament and Court of Justice to pilot a new accreditation testing platform for freelance interpreters. She shines a light on the BeHeard Campaign, an initiative created by the European Parliament, to increase awareness about meeting etiquette when it comes to connecting online.
She touches on how SCIC partners with non-EU countries to share expertise in interpretation, ensuring the EU remains a global player in the world. The pod rounds off with SCIC’s support for Ukraine and how interpreters play an important role in facilitating the EU’s democratic decision-making process.
#115 Dispatch From GALA San Diego 2022
In this week’s episode, Slator’s very own Andrew Smart joins us from sunny San Diego for a report on what took place at GALA 2022 and to discuss the language industry news of the week.
Florian talks about how RWS’ shares jumped after Baring Private Equity Asia confirmed that it is in the “preliminary stages of considering a possible offer” to take over the Super Agency. This announcement comes a month after RWS unveiled its new strategy at the LSP’s Capital Markets Event.
Meanwhile, ZOO Digital beats its full-year guidance. The media localization provider now expects FY22 revenues to be at least USD 70m, up USD 5m from the previous estimate, and an increase of 78% compared to the prior year. This announcement comes as streaming providers compete with each other for subscriptions, launching in new territories around the world.
Andrew shares his impressions after he and Slator Staff Writer, Seyma Albarino, attended GALA 2022, one of the first, bigger, in-person language industry events this year. He highlights the tech-focused agenda, with a presentation from Interprefy on how lower price points can open up new markets for interpreting. Also in the lineup: remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI), integrating automation, and big data in machine translation.
#114 Amazon’s Professional Translators, Transifex, Seprotec, BIG
In this week’s episode, Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, with shares in Netflix taking a 35% dive after the streaming giant lost 200,000 subscribers. The company continues to push international content and is currently building capacity in gaming faster than when they entered film.
Amazon announces the release of 51 language datasets, which will help Alexa add more low-resource languages to their current 8 languages. They created this 100-million-utterances-per-language dataset by tasking professional translators with translating the English dataset into 50 typologically diverse languages.
On the M&A front, BIG has acquired Lawlinguists, a legal translation specialist founded by three attorneys and whose entire linguist network is made up of lawyers. This is BIG’s second acquisition in the regulated industry space in Europe after they acquired Dora Wirth Languages a year ago.
Meanwhile, SeproTec has bought Cologne-based LSP tsd as part of their expansion into the German-speaking DACH region. This is the first acquisition for tsd since private equity firm, Nazca Capital, acquired a majority stake in the company in 2021.
Over in California, software localization company, Transifex, announced its sale to PARC Partners, a search fund backed by investors. PARC’s managing partners, Chris Reese and Tony Pilnik, are going to take over the management of Transifex as CEO and President, respectively.
This is a special episode for Esther as it is her last time co-hosting before she goes on maternity leave. But don’t worry. SlatorPod will continue to broadcast with an exciting array of guests until Esther returns.
#113 Translation and Localization Industry Grows 11.8% in 2021 to USD 26.6bn
Slator’s very own Anna Wyndham joins the pod to share key insights from our flagship Slator 2022 Language Industry Market Report.
Totalling 100 pages, the report covers language industry growth, the LSP competitive landscape, core language industry technologies, and market outlook. Anna starts off by breaking down market size by vertical, geographic region, and buyer intention. She also touches on spotlight topics, such as remote interpreting, media localization, and expert-in-the-loop.
Anna reviews frontier language technologies, with speech-to-speech translation, synthetically dubbed media, and synthetically generated content marketing having the potential to disrupt and expand the market. Florian gives his outlook on the market and projected growth to 2026 based on conservative, base, and optimistic growth scenarios.
Next up, Florian and Esther discuss the language industry news of the week, which saw Lilt raise USD 55m in series C funding led by Four Rivers. Also in the US, on-demand healthcare interpreting platform, Jeenie, announced a USD 9.3m series A funding round led by Transformation Capital.
Great coverage about language industry innovation
Florian and Esther are excellent conversation partners and truly know their field. They are curious and engage their guests in a natural, fun and fact finding way.
Informational and Fun!
Florian and Esther do a great job of sharing and analyzing the latest localization industry news and interviewing a variety of loc industry leaders. Well done!